Social Studies Department

Course Offerings

GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Semester
This course explores themes in contemporary global affairs. For each theme, students will be exposed to, and participate in researching, various case studies. The course will give students the opportunity to conduct their own research and make presentations, partake in debates, and contribute their thoughts in discussions. It will also ask students to be decision-makers on tough global affairs; not only will they learn what has happened, or what is happening, but they will also be asked to answer questions such as "What would you do in this situaiton?" or "As an American, what is your responsibility in responding to this issue?" This course aims to contribute to the development of responsibile American and global citizens, who recognize that it is their responsibility to pay attention to world affairs and make educated decisions.

WORLD HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY Full Year
This course examines major turning points in the shaping of the modern world, from the late 18th Century to the present. Close attention is paid to the source of the ideas by which we judge ourselves as a political system and a society. Students will analyze history in terms of issues that have engaged Western society continuously. Through this study, students will develop a respect for the human dignity of all people and understanding of different cultures and ways of life. Students will be exposed to differing perspectives on issues and events in order to develop the critical thinking skills needed to be an informed citizen in the contemporary world. In addition, a major component of the course is physical and place-name geography, so that students can develop a sense of where major physical features of the earth are located and how those features impact the development of civilizations.

WORLD HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY HONORS Full Year
Utilizing a regional approach to studying the world, this course examines the geography, history and culture of each of the major areas of the world in turn. After an introductory unit on geography and the world today, we will examine the following regions: Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. The purpose of this approach is to allow the student to develop a deeper, lasting knowledge of the geography, history and culture of each region such that they will also be better able to understand the events going on in these areas today.

UNITED STATES HISTORY: COLONIAL AMERICA TO CIVIL WAR Semester
This is a survey course, examining the social, geographical, political and economical development of early American history from the discovery of the Americas through the conclusion of the Civil War. Student will comprehend concepts dealing with exploration, colonialism, revolution, constitutionalism, nationalism, expansion and sectionalism. In addition, the student will examine how these concepts shaped the development of modern America. Writing, map-interpretation, reading, critical thinking and primary source analysis will be emphasized.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT EUROPEAN HISTORY Full Year
AP European History focuses on the chronological study of European history from approximately 1450 (the High Renaissance) to the present. 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, AP European History aims to develop an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European history, an ability to analyze historical evidence and historical interpretations and an ability to express historical understanding in writing.

UNITED STATES HISTORY Full Year
Course Content: This course examines major turning points in American history in the 20th Century as they reflect continuity and change from the nation's beginnings. Special attention is given to the framing of the Constitution as background for understanding the contemporary constitutional issues raised throughout this course. Students will conduct research of both primary and secondary sources in order to write a paper on social problems that have occurred during the 20th Century. Students will develop skills in comprehending, analyzing and evaluating main ideas, as well as making historical interpretations and perceiving historical relationships.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT UNITED STATES HISTORY Full Year
Course Content: This challenging course is a chronological survey of American history, with emphasis placed upon developing analytical skills and historical research. Students are introduced to the skills of recognizing historical themes and interpretation. Writing and reading comprehension skills, as well as oral class participation are stressed to a greater extent than in other US History courses. Special emphasis is placed on interpreting original source material. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Examination in May.

AMERICAN GOVERNMENT Semester
This course is an integrated treatment of national, state and local government. The fundamental principles and basic functions of government in a democratic society are studied. Subject matter covered includes study of political beliefs and behavior, institutions and policy-making and the Constitutional basis of the American government. Special attention is paid to the development of the principles of the Constitution and application of these principles to American life.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT AMERICAN GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Semester
The Advanced Placement Program is intended for qualified students who wish to complete studies in secondary school equivalent to a one semester college introductory course in American Government & Politics. This course is designed to give students a critical perspective on politics and government in the United States. The class involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret American politics and the analysis of specific case studies. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that make up the American political reality. The major topics of study are: 1) constitutional underpinnings of American government; 2) political beliefs and behaviors; 3) political parties and interest groups; 4) institutions and policy processes of national government; 5) civil rights and civil liberties.

ECONOMICS Semester
This is a survey course, which will present an introductory overview of both macroeconomic and microeconomic principles. This course is divided primarily into four components: (1) the philosophical grounding of the discipline via the works of Smith and Marx, (2) an introduction to basic macroeconomic concepts, (3) an introduction to basic microeconomic concepts and (4) a glimpse at the international economy. Investigations will include the principles of free market thought, key economists and their respective contributions to the discipline, personal economic decisions, public sector decisions, the laws of supply and demand, market equilibrium, the various business models, different types of market set-ups, general economic trends (the “big three” of inflation, unemployment and GDP) and an examination of the structure and function of the Federal Reserve System. Additionally, barring enough time, the conclusion of the course will entail a brief overview of special topics in economics including the economics of crime, the economics of religion, the economics of gender, the politics of economics, globalization and the rich/poor divide.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT MACROECONOMICS Semester
This Macroeconomics course covers the “aggregates” of the economy; its purpose is to analyze the “big picture” of the economy as a whole. Particular areas of emphasis include basic economic concepts, measurement of economic performance, short run and long run aggregate supply and demand, the examination of national income and price-level determination and the ability of students to recognize and evaluate economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth and international economics.

ELECTIVES

BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY Semester
This course is a survey in psychology with an emphasis on developing an understanding of hte historical, clinical and developmental processes in this social science. Students will conduct experiments and complete surveys to enhance their ability to solve problems in a social context.

PSYCHOLOGY 2 Semester
This course provides students with the opportunity to investigate current issues in psychology. Areas of study will include personality, stress, mental illness and the effects of social influences on behavior. Research projects as well as group investigations will be incorporated into the course work. Students will have the opportunity to analyze contemporary events from the perspective of social psychology.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT PSYCHOLOGY Semester
The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.

FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES Semester
This one semester course focuses on the social dynamics of stereotyping and discrimination, using two case studies as the basis for student exploration. Through the study of the Eugenics Movement and the rise of race science in America and the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany’s Weimar Republic and the Holocaust, students will learn about the frailty of democracy to better understand their roles and responsibilities as citizens. By studying the choices that individuals made in history, students will understand that this history was not inevitable and that individuals always have choices to either strengthen democracy or undermine it.

CASE STUDIES IN HUMAN RIGHTS Semester
This one semester social studies elective open to both juniors and seniors will examine genocide and other acts of collective violence in the 20th and 21st centuries. The case studies will include the Armenian genocide during WWI, the killing fields of Cambodia, Apartheid in South Africa, religious conflict in Northern Ireland, genocide in Rwanda and the continuing genocide in the Darfur region in Sudan. Although the history of each conflict will be taught, the emphasis of this course will focus on two essential questions: What obligations does the world community and particularly the United States, have in aiding and intervening in acts of collective violence and genocide and How do societies begin to repair and reconcile after acts of collective violence and/or genocide? The class will also contain a detailed analysis of the response of the United States to each individual case study.

HISTORY AND POLITICS OF THE OLYMPICS Semester
This course will examine the politics that have affected significant Olympic Games throughout history. Starting with the Ancient Olympics and the foundations established there, the students will explore the invention of the modern Olympics in 1896, Berlin 1932, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, the boycotts in 1980 and 1984 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Students will analyze the importance of international politics and how the Olympics have worked to bring nations together, while also being directly impacted by strife between specific nations.

CONTEMPORARY WORLD PROBLEMS Semester
This course focuses on the development of Third World countries - mainly the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America - and their relationship with the United States. There is also some time spent on the development and change in the Third World over the past fifty years.

COLONIZATION AND DECOLONIZATION:CASE STUDIES IN AFRICA & ASIA Semester
This course explores the concepts of colonization and decolonization, with a specific focus on their application to African and Asian history since approximately 1800. This course begins with an overview of these themes – defining the terms, discussing motives for colonization and factors leading to decolonization and identifying the regions of the world that have been involved on either side of this history. After developing the course concepts, students will focus on the history of colonization and decolonization in Africa and Asia. The timeline of the course will extend also to modern day, as students examine the legacy of decolonization and the current state of affairs in Africa and Asia. In addition to teaching historical concepts and providing a narrative of events, this course aims to develop the ability to analyze historical evidence, debate controversial topics in history and express historical understanding in writing.

LEADERSHIP Semester *
This course presents basic leadership education to students who are interested in developing their skills in this area. Class topics include goal setting, self-esteem, leadership theories, effective communication skills, meeting and organizational skills, time management, decision-making, current social issues and models and problem solving. Students will have the opportunity to become involved in events and activities where they can apply the skills they are learning.
* This class will meet during zero-period (7:00 A.M.) two mornings a week during the semester.