Social Studies and History

Grade 9

History I (600-1830)

History I begins a three-year curriculum that examines the world culture based on sequential units that move through time while developing students’ critical thinking and analysis. Students will incorporate critical reading, writing, and speaking as they experience progressive units that examine world cultures and the United States—its cultural origins, its development and place among other nations and cultures worldwide. The first year examines major events in World and U.S. history from 600 to 1830. Among topics covered are the Islamic Empire, Feudalism, pre-Columbian American Civilizations, the European Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, the American and French Revolutions, the U.S. Constitution, the Early Republic, and Jacksonian Democracy. Students will practice critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources, reading primary source documents, evaluating cause and effect, research methods, and decision-making.

Grade 10

History II (1830-1940)

History II builds on the content and practice learned in History I and examines major events in world and U.S. history from 1830 to 1940. Topics include Manifest Destiny, sectionalism, the U.S. Civil War, industrialization in Europe and the U.S., European and U.S. Imperialism, World War I, the Great Depression and the New Deal. Critical reading and analysis skills develop more fully using a variety of content to hone proficiency in source evaluation, reading primary source documents, evaluating cause and effect, employing research methods for developing and proving theses with evidence, and decision-making. Making inferences from critically evaluating content and writing supported arguments are expanded through regular practice. Students will begin publishing formal research papers with cited sources. Independent reading is a component of History II.

Grade 11

History III (1900-present)

History III examines major events in World history and U.S. history in the world context from 1930 to the present time. Among topics studied are Rise of Dictators, World War II, the Cold War, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, Social Changes in the 1960s, Conservatism in the 1980s, and Contemporary history since 1900. As in previous years, critical reading and analytical writing, source evaluation, using primary source documents, analyzing cause and effect, employing research methods, and decision-making are skills employed in the study of history.
Honors students will pursue an accelerated program adding document analysis, debate, and rigorous practice writing supported essays based on synthesizing multiple sources. The Honors program is a pre-Advanced Placement curriculum that will require regular and significant preparation by reading and writing outside of class.


Foundations of Psychology (Grades 11 or 12)

Foundations of Psychology is designed to give students an introduction to the principles of Psychology that will be covered in more depth in an introductory college course. Students will use various open-source materials and conduct experiments to explore the core principles of human psychology:

  • The History of Psychology as a Science
  • Biological Psychology (The Brain and Nervous System)
  • Human Development
  • Consciousness
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Learning, Memory and Intelligence
  • Psychological Disorders and Treatments

Applications of Psychology (Grade 11 or 12)

Applications of Psychology surveys the many ways psychology is used in today’s world. This course will identify key principle psychological theories and use them to learn and interpret how psychology and behavior are related and how psychology is applied to current issues in modern society. Topics will include:

  • Applied Psychology Overview
  • Gender Issues in Culture and Society
  • Stress and Health Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Workplace/Industrial Psychology
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Psychology in the Media / Pop Culture

Street Law (Grade 11 or 12)

Street Law educates students about law, democracy, and human rights worldwide. Among the topics covered are history of law, constitutional law, criminal law, and civil law. The class’ approach is to learn law in a practical, relevant, and experiential way. The class blends legal content with hands-on learning that allows for students to read critically, to discuss interpretations of law or areas where laws are not applicable to current circumstances, to debate with the goal of engaging with the law as future informed citizens.

Contemporary Issues in Politics and Government

The focus of this course will be on American government, an introduction to international relations and contemporary issues. Students will be encouraged to read primary and secondary source materials critically to form opinions and propose solutions to problems that face our society.

Students will study the origins, development, structure and functions of the United States government. Topics include the constitutional framework, federalism, the three branches of government, civil rights and liberties, and political participation, as well as documents such as the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Basic concepts of state and local government and their relationships with the federal government will be explored within economical, historical, political, social, and contemporary contexts.

AP European History Grade 12

The AP course and exam in European History are intended for qualified students who wish to complete classes in secondary school equivalent to college introductory courses in European history. European history is increasingly seen in a broad perspective, with teaching methods reflecting an awareness of other disciplines and diverse techniques of presentation, including visual and statistical materials. The study of European history since 1450 introduces students to cultural, economic, political, and social developments that played a fundamental role in shaping the world in which they live. In addition to providing a basic narrative of events and movements, the goals of AP European History are to develop (a) an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European history, (b) an ability to analyze historical evidence and historical interpretation, and (c) an ability to express historical understanding in writing.