At GALS, students and teachers learn together, move together, and laugh together.
The GALS Academic Philosophy focuses on a rigorous classroom experience for all students using evidence-based and standards-aligned curricula. In our classrooms, students do the majority of the reading, writing, speaking, and thinking to build their collaborative and academic skills. Teachers use explicit instruction and gradual release to teach students new skills and then monitor their growth to provide personalized support. Teachers intentionally work with students so that they are comfortable to be themselves, ask questions, and take academic risks. Our classrooms are student-centered and equity-based, creating spaces where all students can have access to their academics.
And, of course, our students move! Whether it’s purposefully infused into the lesson to help with memory, or a short brain boost, movement is used to keep students engaged in their learning. Movement is offered in service of learning and to stimulate engagement and intellectual capacity. We create spaces that are active rather than sedentary and encourage students to build awareness for their own needs – if a student feels sleepy in class, getting water and changing positions (standing rather than sitting) can refresh a student’s ability to learn.
In addition to our Core Academic Courses and School Model Courses below, GALS Denver offers Middle School students Interventions and Accelerators in order to address the just right needs of each student, and High School electives, to allow students to explore their interests and deepen their understanding and skills in areas of need.
Core and Elective Courses
All Core Classes are vertically aligned using Common Core Standards. Teachers identify common core standards for each quarter, and these drive instruction and assessment of student learning. (Elective courses may vary per semester)
Middle School Courses
High School Courses
English Language Arts (ELA)
6th grade ELA
7th grade ELA
8th grade ELA
English Language Development (for Multi-Language Learners)
GT/HGT ELA Exploratory
AP Language and Composition
AP Literature and Composition
6th grade Math
7th grade Math
7th grade Honors Math
8th grade Math
8th grade Honors Math
AP Calculus (dual enrollment with CCD)
6th grade Science
7th grade Science
8th grade Science
Survival & Sustainability
6th grade Social Studies
7th grade Social Studies
8th grade Social Studies
GT/HGT Social Exploratory
Power & Privilege
Elements & Principles of Studio Arts
Intro to Music Studies*
Advanced Studio Arts
Improvisational Theatre: Long Form
Improvisational Theatre: Short Form
Acting: Competitive Performance
Musical Theatre Production
Intro to Spanish Language
AP Spanish Language and Culture
GALS School Model Core Courses
Students and staff engage four days a week in a morning movement offering, in order to jumpstart the brain by jumpstarting the body! Movement is organized into modules, which are designed to help students understand how they respond to different types of physical activity. Over the course of year, students engage in running, yoga, dance, circuit training, and team sports, with opportunities for both differentiated choice and unity as a student body.. We also connect with outside sources to provide exposure to cycling, climbing and more.
Through Movement class, students begin to understand what they need to feel energized, healthy, focused, and challenged. We provide opportunities for students to see growth over time, and expand their understanding of their own capabilities.
Read more about the research and rationale for movement in our schools!
GALS Series & GALS Action
GALS Series (MS) and GALS Action (HS) are key components of the GALS School Model, and consist of deep and research based courses in social, emotional, and relational learning that parallel the adolescent development of students.
The GALS Series/Action has proven to be a key factor to improving our students’ interactions with one another; maintaining a culture of kindness, support and respect; and providing students with coping skills and opportunities to form healthy relationships which will help lead them on a path to a healthy decision making.
The GALS Series/Action curriculum provides GALS students with the tools needed to become more aware of their individual and community identity, the skills to navigate through challenges and decisions successfully, and empowerment to drive them.
The GALS Series curriculum at GALS Middle School encompasses 6 units: Mindfulness, Wellness, Voice, Relationships, Goals/Intentions and Identity, and classes focus on the continued development of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills utilizing grade level, Common Core standards. In these units, outcomes are grade level normed and build on previous learning.
- In Mindfulness, students explore: Asking for Help, Motivation and Intention, Emotional Literacy, and Emotional Expression.
- In Wellness, students explore: Mind-Body Connection, Healthy Choices, Neuroscience, and Health Sexuality.
- In Goals/Intentions, students explore: Learning Styles, Habits, Executive Functioning, SMART Goals, and Future Self.
- In Relationships, students explore: Centrality of Relationships, Discernment, Boundaries and Consent, Conflict in Relationships, Feedback.
- In Voice, students explore: Personal Expression, Fluency, Verbal skills, Listening.
- In Identity, students explore: Position and Privilege, Media and Social Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion, and Core Values.
The GALS Series course uses a series of practices to build these skills together. These include circle protocols, journal writing, meditation and mindfulness practices, and role plays.
GALS continues to explore the success of GALS Series through our partnership with CU Denver’s Evaluation Center, where we annually administer an efficacy survey where our middle school students tell us:
- 96% of our students believe they will graduate from high school,
- 92% believe they will go to college,
- 92% of students say they work hard in school
- 88% say they are a good science student,
- 82% say they are a good math student,
- 86% say they are a good reading student,
- 85% believe they are smart
- 83% say movement in the classroom improves their ability to focus and learn
- 73% say morning movement helps them feel physically healthy
GALS Action for GALS High School partnered with Re/Scripted, a feminist consulting firm, to flesh out elements of the high school curriculum. The High School GALS Action courses allow students to grow from their understanding of self and recognize how they can impact change in the world.
Throughout their high school experience, students build self-confidence through the lens of agency and self-efficacy. We work with students to develop a sense that they have the skills and permission to change the world – through advocating for their passions, their values, and their basic needs in a relationship. At the GALS high school, students explore how they construct, use their voice, shape their futures, and create equitable change in the world.
In addition, our Senior Seminar and Capstone Project, required of all students, empowers students to explore their personal interests and passions and align this to potential career and post-secondary educational options. GALS Action courses develop skills that students can practice in all aspects of their lives.
Our high schoolers tell us:
- 98% of our students believe they will graduate from high school
- 88% believe they will go to college
- 92% of students say they work hard in school
- 98% of students believe their teachers think they are smart
- 83% say they are a good science student
- 82% say they are a good math student
- 82% say they are a good reading student
- 92% believe they are smart
- 81% say morning movement helps them feel physically healthy