Social Studies

The Social Studies Department offers a curriculum that challenges students to make informed, reasoned, and value-based decisions. Pupils are encouraged to become responsible citizens of our culturally diverse, democratic society and knowledgeable participants in an interdependent world. Learning experiences are active, requiring students to create, role-play, simulate, debate, and present multimedia research projects. The Social Studies curriculum requires students to study United States history, world history, and to select from AP offerings or from a variety of electives in their senior year.

United States History

Grade 10 - Yearlong course

This course is a survey of U.S. history emphasizing the major social, political, economic, intellectual, and international developments from Reconstruction to the present. Drawing on a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, classroom activities include lecture, discussion, cooperative groupwork, games, simulations, debates, and individual research projects.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

AP United States History - Grade 10 - Yearlong course

This course is designed to study a range of topics and issues in the political, economic, social, and cultural history of the United States from the Colonial Era to the early 21st Century. The primary goal of the course is to prepare students to earn college credit in United States History by passing the Advanced Placement exam in May. Throughout the course, students will engage in a wide range of rigorous activities and assignments including lectures, readings, analysis of primary source materials, debates, simulations, and the writing of well-focused essays.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP examination in May. There is a College Board fee assessed for this examination that will be added to the students' tuition. No final exam is administered in this course in the spring semester.

Prerequisite: English I grade of B+ both semesters or English I Acc grade of B both semesters; academic cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Placement: Students who meet all prerequisites and wish to take this course must complete the AP US History Placement Request Form by a date to be announced (typically in late February). The form is distributed through current English teachers.

World History - Grade 11 - Yearlong course

The course is a survey of world history designed to introduce students to the major global developments and issues that have shaped our past and present. While the focus is on the modern period, students begin with an introduction to ancient history and the foundations of Western civilization. A critical component of the course is a look at the growing interdependence of people and cultures throughout the world by studying African, Latin American, South and East Asian, and Middle Eastern civilizations. This course will challenge students to work to their full capacities, to develop critical thinking skills, and to assume a global responsibility.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Prerequisite: US History or AP US History

AP World History - Grade 11 - Yearlong course

AP World History emphasizes the development of thinking skills used by historians to analyze the major issues in world history. The course is designed to encourage students to become apprentice historians who are able to use historical facts and evidence to help create deeper conceptual understandings of critical developments in world history. The course is structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in six different chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E. to the present. Particular focus will be given to connecting historical developments to current events. AP World History is designed to be the equivalent of a full-year introductory university course in world history.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP examination in May. There is a College Board fee assessed for this examination that will be added to the students' tuition. No final exam is administered in this course in the spring semester.

Prerequisite: US History grade of A- both semesters or AP US History grade of B both semesters; academic cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Placement: Students currently enrolled in AP US History will automatically matriculate into AP World History if they meet all prerequisites. Students who are currently enrolled in US History must complete the AP World History Placement Request Form by a date to be announced (typically in late February). The form is distributed through current US History teachers.

Senior Courses

Seniors are required to take a yearlong AP course or two semesters of Social Studies electives. 

AP Psychology - Grade 12 - Yearlong course

AP Psychology is a yearlong course that will introduce students to the systematic, scientific study of mental processes as well as the behavior of humans and animals. Students will be exposed to the science of psychology, as well as the role of the brain and nervous system in regards to the emotions, cognitions and behavior of an organism. In addition, the course will include the study of sleep, learning, memory, intelligence, motivation and emotion. Students will also study developmental psychology, personality theories, anxiety and mood disorders and their treatment. The course will also include the study of ethics and methods psychologists utilize within their science and practice.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP examination in May. There is a College Board fee assessed for this examination that will be added to the students' tuition. No final exam is administered in this course in the spring semester.

Prerequisite: World History grade of A- both semesters or AP World History grade of B both semesters; academic cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Placement: Students currently enrolled in AP World History will automatically matriculate into an AP Senior Elective in Social Studies if they meet all prerequisites. They will each select the specific AP course with their counselor in March.  Students currently enrolled in World History must complete the AP Senior Elective Placement Request Form by a date to be announced (typically in late February).  The form is distributed by current World HIstory teachers. 

AP Government and Politics: United States - Grade 12 -Yearlong course

This year-long program is composed of two one-semester courses. Students take American Government Honors in the fall semester and AP United States Government and Politics in the spring. 

American Government Honors is an accelerated course that gives students a strong foundation in government and politics in the US. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and projects, students analyze fundamental issues such as the theoretical and historical foundations of government in the United States; the interworking of the three branches of government; party politics; interest groups; the media; and campaigning and elections.

AP United States Government and Politics is a rigorous, college-level course that provides students the opportunity to see how individuals and their ideas can shape the world in which they live; it invites them to explore central questions of liberty and justice in practice. Participants consider how theory, debate, and compromise influence the US constitutional system; how the branches of the national government compete and cooperate in order to govern; how US Supreme Court rulings defined civil liberties and civil rights; and how core values influence government policymaking.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Students enrolled in this course are required to take the AP examination in May. There is a College Board fee assessed for this examination that will be added to the student's tuition. No final exam is administered in this course in the spring semester.

Prerequisites: For American Government Honors: World History grade of A- or higher both semesters, or AP World History grade of B or higher both semesters; academic cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. For continuing enrollment into AP United States Government and Politics: American Government Honors grade of B; academic cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Placement: Students currently enrolled in AP World History will automatically matriculate into an AP Senior Elective in Social Studiesif they meet all prerequisites. They will each select the specific AP course with their counselor in March.  Students currently enrolled in World History must complete the AP Senior Elective Placement Request Form by a date to be announced (typically in late February).  The form is distributed by current World HIstory teachers. 

AP Economics A/B (Micro and Macro) - Grade 12 - Yearlong Course

Advanced Placement Economics is a college-level introduction to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Students develop a sophisticated understanding of individual economic decision makers; the operation of markets; economic performance measures; international economics; and the role of government in promoting great efficiency and equity. The course focuses on the use of graphs, charts, and data to analyze economic concepts. The instructor uses a wide variety of current events and debates to enrich the curriculum.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Students enrolled in this course are required to take two AP examinations in May: Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. There are College Board fees assessed for these examinations that will be added to the students' tuition. No final exam is administered in this course in the spring semester.

Prerequisite: World History grade of A- both semesters or AP World History grade of "B" both semesters; academic cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Placement: Students currently enrolled in AP World History will automatically matriculate into an AP Senior Elective in Social Studiesif they meet all prerequisites. They will each select the specific AP course with their counselor in March.  Students currently enrolled in World History must complete the AP Senior Elective Placement Request Form by a date to be announced (typically in late February).  The form is distributed by current World HIstory teachers. 

American Government & Politics - Grade 12 - Semester course

Students will analyze government and politics in the United States. Students consider the fundamental principles and nature of power in a constitutional republic. They develop a deep understanding of the branches of government, key Supreme Court cases, political parties, interest groups, and the importance of federal, state, and local elections. Furthermore, students take and defend positions on fundamental American political controversies. Through lectures, discussions, group projects, simulations, and a research paper, students develop the essential skills needed to positively impact politics and seek social justice on the federal, state, and local levels.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Economics - Grade 12 - Semester course

Economics educates to a strong foundation in economic reasoning and financial literacy. It covers both microeconomic and macroeconomic principles. This class is rich with interactive simulations as economics is best understood and appreciated through experiential learning. Students will be introduced to concepts such as economic decision-making; business organizations and entrepreneurship; the price system and laws of supply, demand, equilibrium and price elasticity. Students will also learn about macroeconomic concepts such as GDP, the business cycle, price indexes, global trade and central banks. Class assignments will include participation in market simulations, the creation of a business plan, a stock market research and investment game, and other written assignments and presentations that will connect students with their domestic and global economy. Upon completing the course, students will have a strong foundation in economic understanding that will prepare them for college economics courses.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Ethnic Studies - Grade 12 - Semester course

Ethnic Studies examines the impact of race in America in various areas (music, the economy, government, mass media), while also examining some of the root causes of these contemporary concerns through a historical lens. During the course of this semester class, the students will examine the historical struggles and triumphs of ethnic groups in America, from the early 19th century to contemporary times. The groups of focus will be the Irish, Chinese, Mexicans, and Africans, although other ethnic groups will also be incorporated into the course curriculum. By examining the history of each of these groups, within the American social, political and educational fabric, a stronger understanding of why some groups have been able to elevate themselves into the mainstream of America while others continue to exist on the margins of society will be established. In doing so, the goal is for students to work for a more just and equitable society for all ethnic groups.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

Modern American History - Grade 12 - Semester Course

Modern American History is a one-semester course that examines the United States from 1950 to the present. In units organized around decades, students will analyze the presidents, policies, social movements, media, pop culture, conflicts and important people who have shaped the United States.  Students will also do a research assignment in which they choose a decade for an in-depth analysis of a cultural issue such as music, television, or famous figures. Students will explain how their topic reflects the major trends of a particular decade.

UC/CSU approved course
NCAA Core Course

World in Crisis - Grade 12 – Semester Course

In this one-semester course, students examine wars, revolutions, uprisings, and simmering hostilities that afflict regions across the globe. By analyzing the roots of conflict through historical and cultural lenses, and by viewing the relations of those involved from economic and political perspectives, students explore the factors that cause and perpetuate violence. Students initially develop a conceptual understanding of conflict and crisis. Then, the focus shifts to crises in three distinct regions: East Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Students analyze responses from relief organizations and governmental entities, including the UN, the US, and NGOs. The course culminates with a large, independent research project where students select a current issue in Europe, Asia, the Americas, or Africa and propose positive, effective action to improve the crisis.

UC/CSU approved course
Pre-Requisites US History- Required