History and Social Sciences

The study of history and social science serves to prepare students to be thoughtful, active participants in our democracy. The curriculum provides a framework for students to understand present-day cultural, economic, political, and social conditions by teaching them the essential interrelatedness of the individual to society, of our country to other nations and cultures, and of the past to the present. Throughout the curriculum, studying complex historical and social issues helps students refine their knowledge of human nature; studying the past and present also helps them become informed citizens of the future in an increasingly global society. Students’ exploration of the United States and its diverse heritage develops their understanding of themselves as members of American society. Students’ exploration of world cultures teaches them the value of cross-cultural inquiry both as an end in itself and as a means of gaining a deeper perspective on their own society.

Students at all levels are encouraged to develop and sharpen their powers of reasoning. They are asked to examine both primary and secondary source materials and to analyze and interpret historical situations. They become skilled in weighing arguments from every segment of the community, examining opinions, evaluating options, and judging outcomes. They gain a fundamental knowledge of geography and a vital understanding of economic systems. Literature, music, and art are often integral to their cultural investigations.

To encourage disciplined thinking, students learn how to organize their thoughts and perceptions in clear, logical prose in a variety of writing forms: short essays, briefs, scripts, editorials, research papers, and occasional field work.

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Grade 9 students enroll in Global History I: The Individual in Society. Grade 10 students enroll in Global History II: Making an Interconnected World or American and Global History: Case Studies I. All Grade 11 students are required to take a full-year U.S. History course (Students who take American and Global History: Case Studies I in Grade 10 take American and Global History: Case Studies II in Grade 11). Grade 11 students may take a second History and Social Sciences course with permission of the Department Head. In Grade 12, students may choose from a variety of History and Social Sciences electives. Variations to the above sequence require approval of the History and Social Sciences Department.