Social Studies

Philosophy

The goal of the St. Mary's social studies department is to develop students' historical thinking skills through analysis, contextualization, interpretation, synthesis, argumentation, and causation. This will be achieved through the study of culture, tradition, events, and people throughout the world.

Highlights

Coming soon...

Course Offerings

Below are the detailed descriptions of the Social Studies courses being offered for the 2022-2023. Refer to the course offerings page for an overview of which courses are available for each grade level.

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, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
Prerequisite:  Maintained a B or Higher  in Middle School Social Studies Classes and/or on Recommendation from the Middle School Social Studies Teacher
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:  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
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
Grade Level:  Junior, 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
Grade Level:  Sophomore
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. 

Honors American Government
Grade Level: Sophomore
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.

Russian Culture
Grade: Junior, Senior
Prerequisite: None
Length: Semester
Credit: 0.5

This course for beginners introduces Russian language through speaking and listening. The course enhances knowledge of the the living language, and rich culture. Students will learn more about Russian etiquette, gesture, music, art, etc. This course is a stand alone elective and cannot serve as a substitute for the required year(s) of language.

Faculty

ghent

Mrs. Katie Ghent

Department Chair kghent@smhscs.org

2022 will be my 15th year of teaching.  I grew up in Michigan and studied English and history at Western Michigan University. I spent my first nine years in education in Virginia, teaching 10-12 grade English. My family moved to Colorado in 2017, and I have taught in D20 for the last five years. I love running and hiking with my 2 and 4 year old sons! 

2022-2023 courses: English IV, AP Literature & Composition, American History, AP U.S. History

Ms. Elizabeth Montano

emontano@smhscs.org

Elizabeth Montaño was born and raised in a small town in New Mexico and moved to Colorado Springs shortly after high school. She attended Colorado College and graduated with honors in 2015 with a bachelor of arts in political science and minors in music and economics. Since college, Elizabeth has worked in the field of education as a college academic advisor, online English as a Second Language Instructor to students in China, and History Instructor in Denver. In her free time, Elizabeth likes to read, travel, and walk in Red Rocks Canyon Open Space. 

At St. Mary's High School, Elizabeth has taught AP Human Geography, Psychology II, and World History and Geography. In the 2022-2023 academic year, Elizabeth will teach all levels of American Government, co-direct Campus Ministry with Father Joe Dygert, and serve as a dean of the House System. 

2022-2023 courses: Government, Honors Government, Campus Ministry

Ms. Ramon Falt

rfalt@smhscs.org

Ramon has a bachelor of arts in general studies from Louisiana State University and an elementary education degree from UCCS. Before coming to SMHS, Ramon taught in Catholic education for seven years both at Corpus Christi Catholic School and St. Paul Catholic School in Colorado Springs. Prior to that, she was a graphic designer at Liberty Media Group/Starz Entertainment. Born and raised in Louisiana, Ramon loves cooking and eating Cajun food and traveling to see family. She is also the SMHS director of events.  When not busy planning events for St. Mary's, she enjoys painting, decorating, gardening, spending time with her daughters and friends, hiking, teaching those around her, and playing board games.

2022-2023 courses: World History/Geography, Psychology