Social Studies

The Social Studies department encourages students to become responsible, participating members of our society and to develop in our students a continuing interest in current, domestic and world affairs. We also aim to enable students to understand the news and analyze it in a critical manner, sifting truth from propaganda. Another objective is to inspire the students to understand and to coexist peacefully with different ideologies and cultures. Finally, we attempt to cultivate the need for tolerance, to appreciate the struggle for human rights, and to provide the student with academic skills and training in the use of resources and sufficient content.

Course Descriptions

World History (required freshman year)

This is an in-depth course spanning from the foundations of civilizations to our present day. The first semester covers the Ancient Middle East and Egypt, India, China, Greece, Rome, and the rise of Christianity. Other points of interest include the Middle Ages, Muslim Civilizations, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment and the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the growth of western democracies. Emphasis is placed on cause and effect of historical data as well as a comparative analysis between the various periods of history. Students are also required to present both written and oral reports. Students will also focus on current events today and their relationships to events of the past. Geography and map skills are also an important part of the curriculum.

United States History (advanced placement)

AP US History is a challenging course that is meant to be the equivalent of a freshman college course and can earn students college credit. It is a full year survey of American history from American Independence to the 21st Century. Solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study are necessary to succeed. Emphasis is placed on critical and evaluative thinking skills, essay writing, and interpretation of primary and secondary source documents. Students will also be required to develop arguments for class debates and other class activities. A Research paper linking American literature and history is required.

United States History (required course, junior year)

This is a chronological survey and analysis of United States history from the Age of Discoveries to Twentieth Century issues. Emphasis is placed on the major periods in United States history: American Colonization, the Revolution, the Constitution, Westward migration, the Civil War, the Age of Industrialization, Imperialism and emergence as a world power, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. Through a rational analysis, not just memorization of facts, students will become more educated about how America has developed over time and become better at critically evaluating information. Students will be expected to develop ideas which give meaning and relevance to the material of America’s recorded past. Further enhancement in specialized areas comes through a mandatory research paper which will be developed in English III. Communication skills both written and oral, as well as interpersonal skills through group collaboration, will be developed. Geography and map skills are also an integral part of this course.

American Government (advanced placement)

This survey course provides a coherent portrait of how the American political system works. The emphasis will be placed not only on federal government but also on state and local government. The course will also address the important goal of why American politics and policies take their particular shape. Students will also be exposed to effective citizen participation in the political process and motivated toward positive citizenship. Students will be required to complete two major projects.


American Government (required senior year)

The American Government course is designed to investigate, analyze, and evaluate the American political system. The three branches of government; legislative, executive, and judicial, are examined thoroughly. Specifically, students will be taught the role and powers of each, as well as the relationships between the three. They will also be exposed to important relationships between the various levels of government; federal, state and local. The main thrust of the course is to teach critical thinking skills in the context of American government. Such skills as asking questions, analyzing fact from opinion, evaluating the strength of arguments, use of evidence, and evaluation of sources are all taught. As a result, the students will be exposed to a variety of opinions and sources. They will be required to express their ideas often. Besides use of the textbook and a multitude of outside sources, the students will be engaged in several simulations, such as; creating a class Constitution, writing bills, Mock Congress, Executive Decisions, and formal debates. The overall goals of this course include helping students become more active, self-directed, and self-motivated learners.

ELECTIVES


Modern America I (1938-1968)

This course will examine the events of the middle part of the twentieth century that have helped shape America. Emphasis will be placed upon how political, economic and social developments have shaped the conditions, attitudes, and values of present-day America. This course will allow for focus to be placed upon major events such as: the origins of the Cold War, the Korean Conflict, the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, the Civil Rights Movement, and the origins of the Vietnam Conflict. One day of class per week will be dedicated to a current event discussion.

Modern America II (1968-2000)

This course will examine the events of the second half of the twentieth century which have helped shape America. Emphasis will be placed upon how political, economic and social developments have shaped the conditions, attitudes, and values of present-day America. Vietnam, the Counter-culture Movement, Watergate and the events of 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s will be discussed. In addition to studying these events, students will gain an understanding of and discuss how these events impact the nation today. One day of class per week will also be dedicated to a discussion of current events to understand the nation and its role in the world community in the present time.

The Vietnam War in History, Literature and Film

The Vietnam War is one of the most studied, documented, and argued about wars in American history. The war has taken the form of historical inquires, novels, film, music and other arts. The war shaped the experiences of a generation and continues to affect American life.

Contemporary World Politics and Current Politics

On a country-by-country basis, compare the political institutions (constitutions, executives, legislatures, political parties, etc.) of the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, India, China, Nigeria & Russia with a focus on how they are interconnected. The course allows students to see how all the “pieces” fit together in various countries.

AP Economics - Macro and Micro


Economics is a social science which addresses how society allocates(distributes) limited resources (e.g. - goods and services). It is a “science”because it is governed by quantifiable laws designed to predict likely outcomes. It is a “social” science, as opposed to a natural science, because its laws are based upon social, as opposed to natural occurrences. This course will prepare the student for both the AP Micro and Macroeconomics exams. Each exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions and three free-response essay questions. Students taking this AP course are required to the AP exam in May. This is a full year, on-line course.

AP European History


AP European History is a rigorous academic course that furnishes a basic narrative of events and movements in European History from 1450 to the present. It prepares students for the demands of a college education by providing experience in college level reading, writing and responsibility for learning.AP European History is challenging and stimulating, yet requires much more time than other high school courses. Solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study, are necessary to succeed. This course promotes just the type of effective time management skills and organization that are necessary for success in higher education. Students will investigate the broad themes of intellectual, cultural and political history and will appreciate how those ideas are reflected in trends of philosophy, popular literature and the arts. As events in history can only be understood in terms of their social context, this course will examine demographics and the influences of social classes and gender roles on history. The course will also focus on economic history and the role of industrialization by reviewing the development of commercial practices and changing economic structures to recognize Europe's influence on the world. Students are required to take the AP exam in May.

Throughout the course, students can expect to: watch or listen to traditional history lectures produced by the teacher or offered by colleges and universities online; participate in class discussions of primary documents and events in threaded discussions; debate key issues or role-play historic figures through student audio recordings; exercise essay writing skills designed to meet the requirements outlined by the College Board for Advanced Placement exams; collaborate with other students in research groups using Web 2.0 information tools; supplement traditional textbook reading with historical journals and primary documents. This is a full year, on-line course.

Business and Personal Law

For this course, students should have the ability to participate in discussions regarding the law in a mature manner.Students should have an interest in legal issues and a desire to learn about legal concepts that will impact their lives on a personal level and within the business community. Case studies and debates will be part of this course. Students will need to defend their position and ideas. Self-evaluation will be stressed within the course. Business/Personal Law is designed for students who have a desire to learn more about legal issues that will affect them in the present and in the future. It will acquaint students with basic legal principles common to business and personal issues. Ethics, the origin of law, our court system structure, contracting, buying and selling, employment, organizing a business, real estate, wills, trusts, and marriage and divorce will be explored. Students will leave the course with an understanding of legal issues impacting their lives in today's world. They will leave the course with an understanding and preparedness to face future legal issues. This is a half year, on-line course.


Constitutional Law

This Honors Level class explores the history and development of the UnitedStates Constitutional legal system. The primary focus will be on the basic principles of law, the judicial system and judicial/political behavior in U.S.history. Central themes of the course focus on the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of law, power, and legal precedent. Students will read and listen to condensed versions of selected Supreme Court cases. Contemporary legal issues, including immigration law, and intellectual property law are also examined. You do not need to be a lawyer to understand this class; you just need an interest in legal systems. This class promises to be enjoyable, with individual as well as group projects exploring the U.S. Constitution. This is a half year, on-line course.

Contemporary Issues in American Law and Justice

This course is a 21st Century focus on three major areas of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, courts and corrections.During the course and within these areas we will study current issues relating to crime/justice, punishment and victimization. Issues to discuss include the causes of crime and how we should and do deal with crime are addressed throughout the class. As well, students will participate in a state of the art online mock trial! Furthermore, course participants will study crime in their city/state/national region and become better acquainted with how their local community deals with crime. For students interested in law and justice-related fields this is a must. This course will serve as an introduction to terms and issues and the many facets of the American legal system. This is a half year, on-line course.


Sociology


Sociology students examine the influence of society, the groups we belong to,and institutions like government, family, education, religion, media, etc. on human behavior. We use popular movies and contemporary events, plus research,as the foundations for class discussions of issues such as crime and who defines criminal behavior and the legal response to it; gender inequality in the workplace; and the impact of media on violence and sexual behavior. Poverty and minority groups are discussed with a focus on how being a person of color shapes one's opportunities and life chances. Learners are exposed to the possibility of community-wide responses to social problems, instead of the"fix the individual" approach. Learners will also experience the scientific method of studying society, through design and execution of a survey and interpretation of results. This is a half year, on-line course.

Sports & Society

This course will focus on the evolving role of sports in American Society. Students will examine the history of sports and its relationship with race, gender, economics& politics in the United States. Additional topics will include: pressures of sports from adolescence through college, supplement & drug abuse,violence in sports, and exploring sport-related careers. Students will also develop skills in historical research, analysis, and interpretation. Students will be expected to participate in a variety of activities including: weekly discussions about required reading and current events, online field trips,research projects, and group activities. This is a half year, on-line course. Please note, this course is not approved the NCAA Clearinghouse.

America at War


This course will examineModern Warfare, focusing on American wars and military conflicts from 1960 to the present. Topics include Vietnam War, Panama, Persian Gulf War, Bosnia,Afghanistan, the current war in Iraq, terrorism and prospects of future wars/conflicts.

History of the Holocaust

This course will examine the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party and the evolution of their policies towards the Jews. The course will look at the perpetrators, victims, bystanders and resistors of the Holocaust through historical texts, literary works(diaries, poems, etc.) and films.

Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater


World War II was the greatest war in history. Never before has the cause of liberty and the principles of democracy been tested to such an extent. Tom Brokaw, in his book, describes the men that fought in this war and the women that supported them as "the greatest generation." History perhaps has never seen two such contrasting sides and ideologies in such a massive conflict- truly a world war. For the United States, this war involved a massive effort on two fronts with the defeat of Germany and Italy getting priority in both men and material. Yet the Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen in the Pacific made do with what they had and fought across incredible distances and hostile terrain to defeat the Japanese in their own "back yard." This war has shaped so much of our world today; that it is truly necessary to understand what happened almost 60 years ago to understand the present. This class will examine the war in the Pacific Theater, examining the attack on Pearl Harbor and the lessons we can learn from it, the desperate struggles of the Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal during the opening months of the war and then follow Nimitz and MacArthur as they island hop across the Pacific to Iwo Jima, Okinawa and to the very doorstep of Japan itself. We will conclude with a study of the decision to drop the atomic bomb and how that has shaped our world today. This is a half year, on-line course.

American Popular Music

Are you an avid music fan, enthralled by the songs and interested in the stories behind them? Do you believe that art reflects life or do you think it's the other way around? Well, American Popular Music is where you can find the answer. In this course students will look at the evolution of pop music from early American folk music through the Rock-n -roll of the 1960's, in an effort to understand the unique relationship between music and society. Of course this class won't be able to cover all of the music in between, but students will look at representative periods and artists along the way, as well as how the business of music works, taking into consideration the recording industry, radio, and performing. Course work will include listening to and analyzing music, researching various topics, discussing opinions and working with others to simulate different music industry scenarios. This is a half year, on-line course.

Personal Finance

What would you do with one million dollars? Spend it? Save it? Buy a Porsche, travel, shop till you drop, give to charity? You will earn over a million dollars in your lifetime and you can choose to do whatever you want with it. Where will it go? In this course, student will learn how to make a budget, the value of one cent, how to purchase an automobile and insurance (auto, home, medical), and how to set short, medium, and long term financial goals. Students will also cover how to pay yourself first, how to shop for a financial institution and the basics of investing. Start now using your allowance or your part-time job and prepare for the future. Learn how to have all the money you need today and tomorrow. This is a half year, on-line course.

Contemporary World Politics

On a country-by-country basis, compare the political institutions (constitutions, executives, legislatures, political parties, etc.) of the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Mexico, India, China, the Middle East and Latin America, with a focus on how they are interconnected. This course is designed to give the student a general introduction to the concepts and problems involved in America’s relationship with governments around the world. Its purpose is to provide an understanding of the basic concepts, ideas, and institutions of politics. Students will understand and apply core concepts, recognizing the diversity of political motivations and the interests of others.

Introduction to Law

This course deals with the application of fundamental legal principals to typical business and consumer situations, illustrated by cases. The nature and source of law, crimes, torts, the courts, contract, real estate, insurance, forensic science and consumer protection law are studied in detail. It is designed to provide you with an understanding of your legal rights and responsibilities, a knowledge of everyday legal problems, and the ability to analyze, evaluate, and, resolve legal disputes.