• History and Social Sciences

    The History and Social Science Department prepares students for intelligent participation in a free and open society. History and social science courses draw upon such disciplines as civics and government, economics, geography, history, psychology, and sociology, as well as the related disciplines of the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences.  





    This is an accelerated course designed for the highly motivated, academically qualified college-bound student. Using a survey approach to American history, the course develops chronological perspective, thematic interpretation, domestic and foreign policy assessment of American history. Students are expected to carry a college-level workload. All students are required to take the AP exam at the end of AP US II. Students are required to complete the AP summer assignment in order to participate in the AP course in the fall. AP US I students receive honors credit, but their grades are calculated as AP for the purposes of GPA calculation. This course sequence is open to students who have received the recommendation of their current History and Social Science teacher. All selections into AP United States History courses are provisional based upon successful completion of the fourth quarter, final exam (if taken) and final grade. 

    Full year course: 4 credits



    Building on their understanding of world geography and civilizations from middle school, students study world history from approximately 500 CE to the present. They study these topics by researching and exploring guiding questions such as, “How do ideas migrate across cultures?”, “What brings about change in societies?”, and “What does it mean to be modern?” The course focuses on inquiry and source analysis to give students the skills needed to become modern world citizens. Lastly, students will learn to contextualize and corroborate historical sources so that they can be analyzed through the lens of an historian. This course is open to students in 9th grade.

    Full year course: 4 credits



    Students examine the historical and intellectual origins of the United States. They learn about the important political and economic factors that contributed to the outbreak of the American Revolution as well as the consequences of the Revolution, including the writing and key ideas of the U.S. Constitution.  Students study the establishment of political, economic & social reforms, and Westward Expansion. Students will also learn about the growth of sectional conflict, how sectional conflict led to the Civil War, consequences of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the growth of big business. Students will examine the United States through the Progressive era and World War I. In addition, students will examine specific events, both current and historical, through primary and secondary sources. This course is open to 10th grade students who have completed World History. 

    Full year course: 4 credits




    Students will analyze the causes and consequences of America’s growing role in world affairs in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will evaluate the impact of the boom and bust cycle on the US economy.  They will also examine the various influences of political leadership on the needs of citizens. Finally, students will investigate the struggles for civil rights and the resulting social changes on American society. Students will connect these themes to recent events and trends that have shaped modern-day America.  This course is open to 11th grade students.  

    Full year course: 4 credits




    Students in this one-semester course will explore the history of the Latin American region.  Topics and themes will include revolutions and independence movements, the formation of democratic and authoritarian governments, cultural and economic developments, and key historical figures who have shaped the region.  Students will also examine perceptions and portrayals of the region and the impact of the policies of the United States and Europe upon Latin America. Class activities will include discussions, analysis of primary sources, written arguments, and evaluation of media coverage of the region.

    Semester course: 2 credits


    The goal of American Legal Issues is to help students develop a respect for and knowledge of the American legal system. Through the application of in-class activities focused on constitutional law, students learn the answers to problems faced by citizens every day in criminal and civil legal situations. The curriculum includes vocabulary building, case studies, small group exercises, and visual analysis activities. Students also analyze authentic and hypothetical cases and learn the use of legal forms common to police work, civil law and criminal court proceedings. This course is especially valuable to students pursuing a career in criminal justice. 

    Semester course: 2 credits




    Students will examine social facts, which are observable, measurable conditions in people's lives, to learn about social behavior, social differences, and processes of socialization. Topics covered will include human development from birth to adulthood, the effect of social environment on the individual, and the relationship between the group and the individual. Contemporary social problems, such as minorities and discrimination, poverty, crime, and social disorganization will also be discussed. Students will test and evaluate their study of social theory. Class activities will include selected readings, construction of survey questionnaires, and research projects. 

    Semester course: 2 credits



    AP Economics is intended to prepare students for both the Macroeconomics and Microeconomics AP Examinations. Students will study microeconomics during the first semester: basic concepts, supply and demand, market structures and market failure. During the second semester, students will study macroeconomics: national income accounts, aggregate supply and demand, fiscal and monetary policy and international economics. Students should be prepared for extensive independent readings, problem solving and graphing, as well as participation in economic simulations. A strong background in algebra is recommended. 

    Full year course: 4 credits



    This course prepares students for college-level courses in economics and business administration. First semester teaches thinking with an economic point of view, the mechanics of supply and demand, and macroeconomic topics. Second semester focuses on microeconomic topics such as market structures, labor markets, and market failure. Students will utilize graphs, data tables, and models to solve economic problems. Readings from a college textbook, outside readings of current event articles, simulations, and short papers are components of this course. Since this course includes calculations using various formulae, a strong background in algebra is essential. 

    Full year course: 4 credits



    AP Psychology is equivalent to a one-semester college course. It covers in detail the methods and approaches used in psychological studies, the major schools of psychology, the biological basis of behavior, cognitive processes, human personality, social psychology, abnormal psychology and learning and behavior analysis. Interactive learning activities are utilized as well as other innovative instructional methods. Students will be involved in data gathering, writing and research activities. All students are required to take the AP exam at the end of the course. All students are required to complete the AP summer assignment in order to participate in the AP course in the fall. 

    Full year course: 4 credits




    This course will involve the student in the scientific study of behaviors and mental processes of individuals within the sociocultural context; in the acquisition of study skills and in the understanding of and preparations for the variety of roles played by individuals. This course will include topics such as the methodology of psychological study, growth and development, neuroscience, sensation and emotion, personality, abnormal psychology, psychological disorders, and social psychology. Learning activities include films, lectures, demonstrations, research projects, discussions, and role playing. 

    Semester course: 2 credits



    AP American Government and Politics is equal to a one-semester college course. Students will analyze and examine our basic governmental institutions and processes. The United States Constitution will be studied in detail as well as the Federalist Papers. There will be an underlying current events component and a major section incorporating political activism in local, state and national politics. Supreme Court cases in Civil Liberties and Civil Rights will also be examined. This course has a writing and research program and requires a research based project. Students will take the AP Government exam in the spring. 

    Full year course: 4 credits



    This course for juniors and seniors is oriented towards financial literacy in today’s economy. Students will become familiarized with the fundamental concepts of personal finance topics such as developing a financial plan, saving and investing, credit cards, loans, and retirement planning. Students will also explore economic concepts that include supply & demand, inflation, unemployment, gross domestic product, and market structures.

    Semester course: 2 credits