Social Studies Department
Department Chair: Mrs. Chani Rotenberg
Social Studies incorporates a broad range of disciplines, including history, geography, economics and Government, in an attempt to help students understand and appreciate the world in which they live. The subject matter of courses offered encompasses the growth of civilization, the development of democracy, European history, and United States history and government. Advanced Placement courses and a variety of electives are also offered.
The goals of the Social Studies program are to:
- encourage students to recognize and understand the historical patterns and concepts that have shaped the world
- assist students in placing events in an historical context
- help students understand how the history of the Jewish people intersects with the history of the world
- encourage students to be aware of events that are happening around them through the use of newspapers, electronic media and the internet
- train students to read and think critically to interpret historical events
- train students to support their ideas and interpretations with historical data
- develop students' ability to do research and communicate ideas and information clearly and effectively
COURSE OF STUDY
9th Grade: Global History
10th Grade: World History
11th Grade: US History or AP US History
12th Grade: US Government or AP Government
- Big Ideas (interdisciplinary seminar)
- Current Events & Global Issues
- Criminal Law
- American Jewish History
- Real-World Finance
- AP Psychology
- Topics in Psychology
- Law through Film
Students are required to take four years of Social Studies. During the first two years, students study the growth of civilization from the rise of the great ancient civilizations through an exploration of European history and its effects on the world today. Each year begins with a study of geography and how that discipline affects the cultural, economic and political character of our civilization.
All social studies courses interact with other disciplines to provide a well-integrated course of study. This interdisciplinary approach to learning promotes a better understanding of the social and cultural aspects of our civilization. It helps develop reading, writing, thinking, communication and research skills referencing both traditional printed, audio-visual and technological library resources.
Tracking: Social Studies classes are tracked in 10th through 12th grades, but all students can choose to take AP Government in the senior year. Social Studies classes are tracked independently of other disciplines.
In ninth grade, the history curriculum focuses on the ancient civilizations of the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin; the Greek and Roman civilizations; the Middle Ages as a prelude to the modern world; the ideas of the Renaissance; the Age of Discovery and the growth of democracy.
The study of world history in the tenth grade takes the student on a trip from the democratic revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries to the events of the modern world. The students explore such topics as nationalism, war, democracy, and the triumph of man over his oppressors and his environment. The course stresses current events by comparing the major occurrences of yesterday with the events of today. The Internet is used as an addition to the textbook, enabling the students to explore history in both greater breadth and depth. Students come away from this course with a greater appreciation for the contributions individuals have made to world progress.
In the eleventh grade, students cover the history of the United States and its place within international affairs. American history is approached from political, social and economic perspectives. Students are encouraged to see the reconstruction of the past as an unfinished project that is open to revision, and are taught to critically employ primary documents in this effort. The goal is to make history come alive so that students come to their own understanding of how American values and American traditions condition their nation and their own lives.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT US HISTORY
This college-level course employs a text that is frequently used by universities in their introductory-level U.S. history courses, in order to expose students to those methodologies and controversies that shape the best work done in this field at the present time.
In the senior year students are exposed to an intensive overview of U.S. Government. The constitutional foundations of our system and the contemporary operation of that system in real-world politics are studied. The course develops citizen engagement of political issues and a sophisticated awareness of the social profile of our country.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT US GOVERNMENT
The Advanced Placement United States Government course is a college-level introduction to the foundations and operations of the United States government.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT PSYCHOLOGY
Advanced Placement Psychology introduces students to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. The course surveys the major subfields of psychology, and considers the theoretical and empirical orientations that have shaped the discipline. Topics studied include neuroscience, genetics, and behavior. The bio-psycho-social perspective is used to study psychological disorders and therapy. Areas in cognition such as perception, learning, memory, language and thinking, and intelligence are covered. Study of the individual focuses on child development, personality, and emotion. Critical thinking and statistical reasoning are important elements of the curriculum.
TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGY
This course is a 12th grade elective, in which students are introduced to the field of psychology through an overview of multiple psychological themes, including developmental psychology, abnormal psychology and treatment, memory, and states of consciousness. These themes are explored through various media, including video presentations, role-playing, and group projects.