The Social Studies Department provides students with the self-understanding and social understanding that will enhance their willingness to participate responsibly and effectively in the local, national, and global communities. Department offerings emphasize the study of both world and United States history and geography. History passes on important cultural knowledge and traces the development of ideas and institutions. The study of history shows that our lives, our communities, and our culture are time-bound and yet, through time, are linked to the people of the past and the future. We all share in the story of mankind, and our humanity is the God-given constant that underlies religious, national, ethnic, and individual differences that frequently divide us. Geography is studied to understand that location, place, movement of peoples, and coping with the environment and region are powerful forces that help to determine cultural differences between human groups.
The Social Studies Department strives to attain the following objectives:
- Our students will learn an integrated knowledge of human beings in society, particularly in political, economic, and social aspects. This learning will include the ability to detail changes in human society through time (history) and place (geography) and to describe and account for variations in human culture.
- The students will know and understand the role of the significant people, ideas, and events that have shaped United States culture and other cultures in our world.
- The student will draw analogies, comparisons, and contrasts between current events in his local, national, and global community and events in the political, economic, and social history he learns.
- Students will identify, explain, and dispel misconceptions and stereotypes found in our culture's public discourse on history and contemporary affairs.
- The student will differentiate between fact and opinion and will support statements of personal opinion with statements of fact. Additionally, the student will admit the possibility that the same set of facts could lead to different opinions. The student will then demonstrate his understanding by articulating and defending points of view different from his own.
- The student will demonstrate the ability to listen to, understand, and note in outline form details and concepts communicated in class lectures, class discussions, and readings.
- The student will search for knowledge beyond the classroom materials and demonstrate better knowledge of and proficiency in the use of library resources (books, magazines, scholarly periodicals, periodical indices, the Internet, and CD-ROMs). The student will also learn to read and analyze primary historical sources. Area resources (museums, programs, workshops, and activities related to social studies) will also be used to supplement and enrich the classroom learning of the student.
- The student will communicate his knowledge and understanding effectively in writing and in speech.
- Students will have opportunities to take elective courses in the following areas: psychology, political science, economics, introduction to business, the Sixties, United States government, modern China, fine arts, music, and studio art.
- Students will learn "civic efficacy," which is defined as a readiness and willingness to be a responsible citizen. In social studies courses students will acquire the knowledge, skills, values, and self-confidence to be informed, constructive, and effective in their local, national, and even global communities.
In planning the social studies program, we have a vision of the future needs of our college-bound students, who will need to be skilled in research and in written and oral expression, as well as in critical thinking. Our teaching methodologies are geared to provide the students with structure, motivation, engagement, and guidance as they learn knowledge and skills.
Freshmen study Global Studies, a cultural geography course organized by region. Most sophomores study World History, a survey that spans the history of human civilization organized by region, while selected sophomores take Advanced Placement European History. All Juniors study United States History, offered to some at the Advanced Placement level. Seniors who took United States History at the Accelerated Level (Grade 11) study Twentieth Century History, a semester course that concludes the United States history survey from 1932 to the present. In addition, the following electives are offered: Introduction to Business, Career Development, Economics, Government, The Sixties, Psychology, Advanced Placement Economics, Advanced Placement Government.