Social Studies

Below are the detailed descriptions of the Social Studies courses being offered for the 2021-2022. Refer to the curriculum map see which courses are available for each class (freshmen, sophomore, juniors, seniors).

Course Offerings

World History and Geography
Grade Level:  Freshman
Prerequisite:  None
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0 

World History examines the histories and cultural achievements of peoples from ancient times to the 19th century.  Freshman students are introduced to the political, social, economic, philosophical, religious, artistic, and scientific developments that highlight both western and non-western civilization.  World History builds a foundation by exposing students to the information they will use in other social studies courses.  Historical reading, primary source reading, map reading, understanding cause-effect relationships, and library research are among the activities incorporated into the course. Additionally, this course seeks to absorb the fundamental elements of the Geography course, as previously offered to freshmen, and introduces and reinforces the concepts of location, place, and human/environmental interaction along with the vocabulary of the discipline through a regional approach. Students investigate the interaction between natural/physical phenomena and human activity, the distribution of economic development, and the uniqueness of the world's regions in terms of both the human and the natural elements. 

AP Human Geography
Grade Level:  Freshman
Prerequisite:  Maintained a B or Higher  in Middle School Social Studies classes
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0 

AP Human Geography is an introductory college-level human geography course. Students cultivate their understanding of human geography through data and geographic analyses as they explore topics like patterns and spatial organization, human impacts and interactions with their environment, and spatial processes and societal changes.

AP European History 
Grade Level:  Junior, Senior
Prerequisites: Seniors must have an overall average of 90% or better in their Social Studies courses to enroll. 
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0 

The Advanced Placement European History course focuses on the major events, individuals, and themes in Modern European History spanning the period for the High Renaissance of the 15th Century to the turbulent times of the 20th Century.  Special emphasis is given to the Intellectual, Political, Diplomatic, Social, and Economic history of the period.  An advanced level textbook, the A-P curriculum, as well as supplemental primary and secondary source materials will be integrated into the course.  The course attempts to develop the related skills of reading, research, writing, and critical thinking as it prepares the students for the Advanced Placement exam in European History given in May. 

United States History (*a level of U.S. History is required)
Grade Level:  Junior
Prerequisite:  None
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0 

The American History course is both a chronological as well as a thematic examination of the history of the United States from the Colonial period to the outbreak of World War II. This course is a required course for our juniors and concentrates on the major events, individuals, and themes in U.S. History.  In addition, a unit on the U.S. Constitution is presented in order to assist our students in becoming better and more informed citizens prepared to more intelligently participate in the political process.  Finally, the American History course reinforces the view that the study of our nation's past is a necessary foundation for understanding the American present. 

AP United States History (*a level of U.S. History is required)
Grade Level:  Junior or Senior
Prerequisite:  Students must have a minimum cumulative average of 90% for the previous three semesters of Social Studies work
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0 

The Advanced Placement course is both a chronological and topical examination of American History from the pre-Colonial period to the end of the Twentieth Century.  The course focuses on the major events, individuals, and themes in United States history.  An advanced-level textbook, the AP curriculum, as well as supplemental primary sources, and outside reading and writing are utilized in the teaching of this course.  The Advanced Placement American History course attempts to develop the related skills of reading, writing, discussing, and critical thinking.  Students are expected to keep up with an independent reading, writing, and researching schedule.  This course is designed to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Exam in American History given in May of their junior year. 

American Government (* a level of American Government is required)
Grade Level:  Sophomore, Juniors
Prerequisite:  none
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0

This course will provide students with a comprehensive study of the origins and nature of the American political system, political institutions, and current political activities and trends.  The students will develop analytic perspectives for interpreting, understanding, and explaining political events in this country. 

American Government Honors (* a level of American Government is required)
Grade Level:  Sophomore, Juniors
Prerequisite:  Students must have a minimum cumulative average of 90% for the previous semesters of Social Studies work
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0

The American Government Honors course builds on the skills and knowledge of the American Government class. Students cultivate their understanding of U.S. government and politics through analysis of data and text- based sources as they explore topics like constitutionalism, liberty and order, civic participation in a representative democracy, competing policy-making interests, and methods of political analysis.

World Cultures and Religions *required
Grade Level: Senior
Prerequisite:  None
Length:  Full Year
Credit:  1.0 

World Cultures and Religions surveys our world’s major religions in their historical and cultural development.  The class begins by exploring what all religions have in common. Our beginning offers us an anthropological foundation to understand ‘why religions matters.’  We’ll explore the importance of ‘mythology as religious truth,’ the tension of scientific/religious world views and how religion impacts and shapes both the personal search for truth and the social structures that shape, and often govern, life in our world. Special attention is given to how Huston Smith’s Three Eras of History, traditional, modern and post-modern,  from his book, “Why Religion Matters” help explain the historical evolution of all major religions, but more, reveal how those religions continue to shape and influence our world today.

This journey begins with a discussion about Spirituality & Religion in our day, followed by that overview of commons elements all religions Traditions tend to share.  Next, we move to a review of Indigenous Native religions, with a special focus on our own Native American Spirituality. Then we explore the Eastern/Asian traditions, beginning with Hinduism, followed by Buddhism, Confucianism & Taoism, wrapping up this section with a discussion of Zen and a special focus on how Zen might blend w/ our own Catholic sensibility.

We begin our second semester with the development of Monotheism.   We’ll review Judaism as the ‘founding monotheistic ideal’ but will also look at Zoroastrianism and its influence upon the three Western monotheistic ideals.  We will review the historical development of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with a keen eye to how they struggle to coexist in contemporary times.  Throughout our discussion, but most especially as we conclude our study, we’ll examine the tensions both within and between religious Traditions that emerge from our understanding of the Traditional, Modern and Post-modern worldviews.  We will embrace the challenge to find the better parts within those three views that might allow a greater understanding of how to enhance our continuing human—and perhaps even our Catholic—evolution. (World Religions may not be substituted for sophomore, junior, or senior religion.)