Social Studies

High School

The Social Studies Department challenges students to develop the knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary for the growth of an informed, caring, and active member of the world community (course descriptions follow). The Social Studies Department objectives are:

  • To provide the historical foundation essential for an understanding of the political, social, cultural, economic, and geographical forces shaping modern society;
  • To develop all of the following skills: study methods, critical thinking, oral and written communication, and research methodology;
  • To promote an appreciation of the diversity and dignity of all individuals and to encourage an active concern for their welfare;
  • To prepare students to act rationally and responsibly as citizens in a democratic society.

Social studies in the High School helps students understand their individual responsibilities on a personal, local, national and global level. Through critical analysis, students will come to pose and address many of the questions that have challenged society in the past and continue to cause conflict today. Our goal is to empower students with the confidence, skills, and understanding that will allow them to make a tangible, authentic difference in the world around them.

Global Studies - College Prep

Global Studies - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course surveys the geography, history, and culture of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and helps prepare students for global citizenship. The course focuses on the introduction and development of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Through projects involving the intensive use of technology, students will learn to effectively search both databases and the web, evaluate
web-based sources , create  presentations using  programs such as PowerPoint, and use other technology likely to be of use to them in their high school and college studies.

Global Studies - Accelerated

Global Studies - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

While not as rigorous as the honors course, this course surveys the geography, history, and culture of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and helps prepare students for global citizenship. The course focuses on the development of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Through projects involving the intensive use of technology, students will learn to effectively search both databases and the web, evaluate web-based sources , create presentations using programs such as PowerPoint, and use other technology likely to be of use to them in their high school and college studies.

Global Studies - Honors

Global Studies - Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Placement exam and/or departmental approval

This course surveys the geography, history, and culture of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and helps prepare students for global citizenship. The course focuses on refining students’ reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Through projects involving the intensive use of technology, students will learn to effectively search both databases and the web, evaluate web-based sources, create  presentations using  programs such as PowerPoint,
and use other technology likely to be of use to them in their high school and college studies.

Modern World History College Prep (Formerly known as World History 2 - College Prep)

Modern World History College Prep (Formerly known as World History 2 - College Prep) [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Global Studies College Prep and/or departmental approval

This course covers the social, political and economic development of modern Europe, Asia and Africa. This survey course will emphasize the development of critical thinking and study skills as it examines such topics as the French Revolution, Imperialism and the World Wars. Students will be expected to stay informed of current events.

 

Modern World History Accelerated (Formerly known as World History 2 - Accelerated)

Modern World History Accelerated (Formerly known as World History 2 - Accelerated) [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Global Studies Accelerated and/or departmental approval

This course covers the social, political and economic development of modern Europe, Asia and Africa. It will concentrate on such topics as the French Revolution, the Age of Imperialism, the Industrial Revolution, World Wars I and II. Students will be required to keep well informed of current issues.

 

Modern World History - Honors (Formerly known as World History 2 - Honors)

Modern World History - Honors (Formerly known as World History 2 - Honors) [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Global Studies Honors and/or departmental approval

This advanced course concentrates on the social, political and economic development of modern Europe and its impact on other world cultures. Students will explore a variety of historical interpretations through the use of primary and secondary resources. Students will be involved in the discussion of relevant current events throughout the course.

 

U.S. History - College Prep

U.S. History - College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: World History 2 College Prep and/or departmental approval

This course will cover the key political, social, economic and military events from the Colonial Era to the present. Students will be graded on tests, quizzes, homework, oral presentations, class participation and research papers. Additional readings will also be required.

U.S. History - Accelerated

U.S. History - Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: World History 2 Accelerated and/or departmental approval

This course will survey the key political, social, economic and military events from the Colonial Era to the present. Tests will evaluate factual as well as conceptual knowledge, and quizzes will be given between major tests. Students will be assigned a research paper and other reports each quarter, as well as additional readings.

U.S. History - Honors

U.S. History Honors [1 credit]

Prerequisites: World History 2 Honors and/or departmental approval

Americafrom the Colonial Era to the present is examined in this course. Students will learn to interpret and generalize historical data. In addition to the text, students will be required to read additional paperback selections. There will be a number of primary and secondary source reading assignments, and a research paper is required.

Pre-AP U.S. History

Pre-AP U.S. History [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Modern World History Honors and/or departmental approval

This U.S. History course begins with the pre-Columbian populating of North America and concludes through the American Civil War. Students will be required to read outside paperbacks, extensive primary and secondary sources.  Several research projects using primary sources will be assigned. Throughout the year, students will focus on learning how to think historically and review the Advanced Placement testing format, developing the techniques and skills necessary for achievement on the AP exam. The AP course is a 2-year commitment. Juniors who select the AP level will take a full year of U. S. History in the senior year.

AP U.S. History

AP U.S. History [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Pre-AP U. S. History and/or departmental approval

This yearlong AP course will examine the key political, social and economic events of the twentieth century. The course will include key events such as the Depression, New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam and Watergate as well as contemporary issues. Students will be assigned additional paperback assignments and a variety of outside readings. Students will prepare for the Advanced Placement Exam during the year.

AP Economics

AP Economics [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval

Students will study the principles of both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics throughout the course of the year in preparation for the Advanced Placement Exam. During the first semester, students will gain an understanding of principles that apply to individual consumers and firms within the larger economic system. The primary emphasis of study will be on product markets, factor markets, and the government's role in promoting greater competition, efficiency and equity in the economy. The second portion of the course will deal with the principles of Macroeconomics. Students will learn how a nation's economic performance is measured. Primary emphasis will be in the areas of national income, employment and overall price determination. Issues of international trade and future economic growth will also be studied.

AP European History

AP European History [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Global Studies Honors and/or departmental approval

This course will examine European History from the Renaissance to the breakup of the Soviet Union. In addition to political trends, emphasis will be placed on the economic and cultural factors as well. Students will be exposed to the main currents of western intellectual thought, both political and philosophical. Students will be prepared to take the AP examination in Modern European History. This course is available to sophomores, juniors and seniors with departmental approval.

AP Human Geography

AP Human Geography [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval

AP Human Geography is a project-based course aimed at increasing geographical literacy.  Students use models to examine, recognize, and interpret patterns both in the way that place influences people (i.e. living near the sea supports trade) and people influence place (i.e. Bostonians built up the Back Bay).  Based on the National Geography Standards, APHuman Geography develops college level skills in using maps and spatial data to analyze the connections between places based on cultural, economic, and political factors.  Students explore a wide range of topics - population, urbanization, culture, the economy, immigration, public health, and environmental issues from a geographical perspective.  A significant outcome of the course is students' awareness of the way in which geography shapes the contemporary world and the ability to both pose and solve problems from this perspective.  AP Human Geography supports the Prep mission to help students understand forces that shape global trends.

AP Psychology

AP Psychology [1 credit]

Prerequisities: Departmental approval
The purpose of the AP course in Psychology is to introduce the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Included is a consideration of the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. Students also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.

AP United States Government & Politics

AP United States Government & Politics [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Departmental approval

The American political system will be examined in detail and students will be prepared to take the AP Government examination. Presidential powers, Congressional decision making and the vote of the Supreme Court will be studied. Additional topics include elections, the role of the media in the political process, and the federal bureaucracy. This course is available to Juniors with departmental and Administrative approval.

Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law - Honors, Accelerated or College Prep [1/2 credit]

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors

This course will feature an examination of law and our legal system. Emphasis will be placed on criminal justice, the Bill of Rights, and recent Supreme Court decisions dealing with topics such as student locker searches, censorship, and drug testing. The course will also feature a series of guest lecturers to include judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, criminologists, and members of the F.B.I.

Current Issues of Race and Gender

Current Issues of Race and Gender - Honors, Accelerated, College Prep [1/2 credit]

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors

This course will examine current topics in race, gender, and social justice in the context of the United States. Guest speakers and films supplement class discussion. Students have the opportunity to choose topics covered in class and projects are tailored to the strengths of individual students. There will be no tests in this course. The grade will be determined by projects done each quarter, class participation, journal entries and current event assignments appropriate to the level elected.

Economics

Economics Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors

In this year long course, the student will gain an understanding of basic economic principles of both micro and macro economics. Emphasis is placed on important social issues and real world problems of our time, along with a demonstration of how simple economic tools can be used to analyze them. A representative, but not all inclusive, sample of concepts and topics covered includes: supply and demand, government policies, taxation, different types of product markets, labor markets, inflation, unemployment, the banking system, monetary and fiscal policy.

The Holocaust

The Holocaust - Honors, Accelerated, College Prep [1/2 credit]

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors

The study of the holocaust uses a wide spectrum of historical and contemporary sources to examine where the holocaust came from and how such tragedies can be avoided by future generations. Many sources from the nationally recognized "Facing History and Ourselves" curriculum will be used. This course will focus on the universal causes of prejudice, anti- Semitism, and genocide. A study of Adolf Hitler and the inner workings of his terrible Nazi regime will also be examined. Simulations, documentaries, and feature films will be used to assist the student in understanding these important topics.

United States Government & Politics

United States Government: Local, State and National Issues - Accelerated, College Prep [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors

Students will study the major institutions of American government and the American political system. Significant time will be spent on current issues that pertain to local, state and national government. Participation in discussion will be expected. The basic features of state government here in Massachusetts will also be covered. We will use an American government text as well as reprints of articles, contemporary news and news magazines as the basis of this course.

War and Peace in a Dangerous World

War and Peace in a Dangerous World - Honors, Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Open to seniors

This full year elective is designed to facilitate an understanding of modern, industrialized warfare. The phenomenon of war itself is examined primarily from the standpoint of warriors who fight on both sides of conflict, families and friends who suffer loss of loved ones, non-combatant victims caught in the crossfire, and the political and military leaders responsible for decision making relative to war and peace. A multi-media approach is utilized as students will examine literary works of fiction and non-fiction, war related poetry, documentary films and relevant contemporary movies such as Born on the Fourth of July and Platoon. The historical context for this study is American foreign policy in the immediate post-World War II period, the Cold War, including a careful examination of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the post-Cold War period including a comprehensive overview of the War on Terror and other contemporary military engagements.

African American Studies

African American Studies - Honors, Accelerated [1 credit]

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors

This year long seminar course offers an overview of 20th century African American history and arts by examining the challenges faced by memorable leaders, intellectuals, and organizations in history and through the lens of characters in works of literature.  In the first semester, topics of study include, but are not limited to the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, The Black Power Movement, sports, and the OJ Simpson Trial.  The second semester will allow the student to focus on the arts through the works of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker; Jazz and blues music, the Harlem Renaissance, Hip Hop, and the music of Tupac Shakur. Guest lecturers, movies, field trips, art projects, and jazz or blues club performances enhance the students’ appreciation of cultural contexts.


 

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