Social Studies

Chairperson: Ms. Jessica Shoja


World History traces the history of man from prehistoric to modern times.  The course examines the cultures of the world not only through history but also through the areas of anthropology, literature, economics, political science, theology, archaeology, sociology, and art.  Both eastern and western civilizations are examined in an attempt to better understand our world of the present through an examination of the world of the past.  This is the required grade 9 course.


The United States History course is designed to present a survey of the political, social, cultural, economic, and religious events that have affected the development of the nation.  Concerted effort is made throughout the course to present factual material with clarity while emphasizing the basic need to understand causative factors behind the events studied, as well as the interconnections between events.  The study of history is presented as an attempt to determine the truth with awareness that, in some cases, legitimate disagreement exists.  Students are consistently reminded of the changing nature of historical information.  Juniors are required to take US History.


The advanced placement program in United States History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States history.  Students should learn to assess historical materials – their  reliability and their importance – and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship.  An advanced placement United States History course develops skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present ideas clearly and persuasively.  As much as possible, the AP course is taught by college format, emphasizing lectures and essay examinations.  Students are required to take the AP test in May.  Highly qualified juniors and sophomores may elect this course.

AP US Government and Politics

This course is an elective course which introduces students to general political science concepts. Students will be required to analyze specific case studies. They will develop a critical understanding of the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U. S. government and politics. Topics will include: constitutional basis of the US government, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, special interest groups and mass media, Congress, the Presidency, federal courts, public policy, civil rights and civil liberties. Students will complete the required AP exam at the end of the course.  Prerequisite:  recommended AP US History or grade of 90 or above in US History and department recommendation.


This junior/senior elective course presents an overall picture of the science of human and animal behavior and includes seven units or topical areas, starting with developmental and physiological psychology, where psychology overlaps most with biology.  It then moves toward the most complex social psychological behaviors, where psychologists’ interests overlap with those of sociologists.  Students study sensation, perception, memory, language, learning, motivation, emotion, testing, personality, mental disorders, and therapies.  The course concludes with a view of the future of psychology and how psychology can be of service now and in the years to come.


AP Psychology is a course 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 psychologic facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields of study within the overall psychological field.  Some of these subfields include the biological bases of behavior; sensation and perception; consciousness; physical, cognitive, and social development; learning, memory, intelligence; motivation and emotion; and personality and psychological disorders and therapy.  Students will also learn bout ethics and methods psychologists use in their scientific research as well as their practices.  The course will be taught using the approved AP College Board syllabus, emphasizing lecture, supplemental reading, lab work, and research writing skills.  The course will encourage students to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum that will develop higher-level critical thinking skills.  Prerequisite:  department approval with a high grade in earlier social studies courses.


This elective course will focus on a variety of world regions, their physical features, politicalsystems, religious beliefs, and cultural heritages. There will be an emphasis on the U.S. federalgovernment system in relationship to both domestic and foreign affairs and the impact thatall governments have on the lives of their citizens. With a focus on current events, this coursewill encourage students to explore geopolitical issues that affect the lives of people around theworld. Students will analyze an array on internet sites, news articles, primary documents, and video clips and incorporate technology (SmartBoard, PowerPoint, iPads) in their research andpresentations. They will develop their critical thinking skills as they make connections abouthow past events have led to global life in the 21st century.  Open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors.


Economics is the study of money and the market economy.  Economics is divded into three basic parts: making economic decisions, raising funds in a capitalist economy, and managing supply and demand.  Throughout the course students will understand how economics allows them to allocate their personal resources and make informed decisions.  Students will learn about capitalism by examing and classifying business organizations.  They will also become familiar with goal setting, budgeting, credit, insurance, and savings so they will become aware of the effective use of all financial resources.  Students will evaluate buying decisions and determine how supply and demand affect change.  Open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors.