Through the social studies course offerings, students are led to an appreciation of the interaction and relative importance of geography, human relationships, and other factors in the development of human society. The examination of the physical environment is essential to developing an understanding of cultural and social characteristics. Students examine the relationships of culture and individuals in the building of nations and the relationships of nations and cultures in the building of the world.
In freshman year, students approach a variety of cultures to gain an appreciation and understanding of global diversity and similarity. Sophomore students apply this new sensitivity to the examination of our complex, diverse society and nation.
Rooted in these core areas, upper class students may pursue further aspects of the creation of the modern world through electives in American government and history, and international relations.
The social studies program seeks to cultivate critical thinking and expression through the development of reading, writing, and study skills. At each level of study, the social studies department provides appropriate expectations, instruction, and resources.
In freshman year, World Cultures strives to focus the student’s first year of historical studies through reading development, essay writing, and special projects which draw upon the skills of the individual student. Throughout the year, vocabulary development, note taking skills, and essay writing are honed. Current events are tied thematically through the year to historical events. The goal, finally, is to build critical and creative skills that can be used in the later studies of American Cultures and other department offerings.
The American Cultures course provides sophomores with a survey of the history and cultural development of the United States using a multi-cultural approach. With an emphasis on the major events which helped shape our nation, this course attempts to engender in the students an understanding and appreciation of America and all its people. In the process, students learn and use a variety of techniques meant to enhance the critical thinking skills necessary for understanding and participating in our pluralistic society.
American Government & Economic Systems
American Government and Economic Systems (A.G.E.S.) is an elective course offered to juniors and seniors. It is divided into two parts. In the first semester, American Government, the focus will be on identifying the origins and purposes of government, law, and politics in the United States. It will discuss the purposes and provisions of the U.S. Constitution and the amendments. It will examine citizenship, civil rights, voting rights, political parties, and the effect media has on public policies and political agendas. This part of the course will study the United States’ federalist system of government. It will detail the structures and functions of the federal and state legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and will examine independent federal agencies, constitutional powers, and national affairs. In the second semester, American Economic Systems, the emphasis will be on economic policies. It will discuss the fundamentals of a market economy including economic systems, production possibilities curve, supply, demand, and price, business organizations, market structures, and the role of money. It will also address the national economy including economic goals, and fiscal and monetary policy. Attention will be placed on the Federal Reserve System, taxation, budgeting, deficit and debt. Areas of personal finance will also be discussed.
The intent of the International Affairs course is to give the student an understanding of the inter-relationship of nations on the regional and global level. There is a three-level program of concepts and terminology, historical highlights, and current developments. Through this program, students will develop critical thinking and expression along with advanced reading and writing skills.
Advanced American History
Advanced American History seeks to provide the student with a college-level survey course of the development of the American nation from the founding of Jamestown to its present position of world influence. Throughout the course, pedagogically speaking, the student is trained in the inquiry approach to analyze, synthesize and interpret historical data in a creative and critical methodology. At the end of the program, seniors should be able to make informed judgments based on rational and intuitive deductive processes. To that end, emphasis is placed on those historical events and trends that seem most important for understanding our own time. The student should appreciate democratic America’s humanitarian role as but one cultural heritage among the many of the planet.
A.P. Human Geography
A.P. Human Geography is an elective course open to juniors and seniors. Following the College Board A.P. Syllabus, A.P. Human Geography introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice. All Students will take the A.P. exam in May.
A.P. European History
A.P. European History is an elective course for juniors and seniors. Following the College Board A.P. syllabus, A.P. European History provides students with an academic experience equivalent to an introductory college survey of Western Civilizations. The course is specifically designed to provide students with an in-depth study of European history from the 15th century through the modern day. As students study course content, A.P. European History is specifically designed to enhance their analytical skills through critical thinking, document analysis, interpretive reading, information organization and synthesis, participation in a seminar format class discussion, and research and essay writing.. Students successfully mastering this course material may earn college credit by passing the annually administered AP European history exam. All students will take the A.P. exam in May.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings. Psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology are considered. Students also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. The aim is to provide a learning experience equivalent to that obtained in most college introductory psychology courses. All students will take the A.P. exam in May.
A.P. U.S. History
A.P. U.S. History is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university U.S. history course. In A.P. U.S. History, students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in nine historical periods from approximately 1491 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; making historical comparisons; utilizing reasoning about contextualization, causation, and continuity and change over time; and developing historical arguments. The course also provides seven themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places. Students successfully mastering this course material may earn college credit by passing the annually administered A.P. US History exam; the individual college or university determines how many, or if, any credits will be granted for the A.P. exam score. In accordance with school policy, the A.P. exam is mandatory for all students