Two years of history are required for graduation.
Grade 5 - Ancient World
This course involves the study of Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and ancient Rome. Through their continued study of the ancient world, students come to appreciate the special significance of geographic places in the development of the human story. Additionally, students acquire a sense of the everyday life of the ancient people (i.e. government and religion), the tools and technology they developed, and the art and architecture they created. With this knowledge, students are able to develop an understanding of the contributions ancient civilizations have made towards current civilizations, leading towards a stronger awareness of our multicultural world. Throughout the course of the year, students learn and develop critical thinking, map and timeline skills, nonfiction reading and writing skills, how to collaborate with their peers and express their creativity. Additionally, students are assigned a variety of hands-on and technology based projects throughout the school year. Our textbook is History Alive! The Ancient World.
Grade 6 - Medieval World and Beyond
This course will introduce students to the history of the European Middle Ages through The Reformation (400 C.E.-1648 C.E.) Students will study the political, economic, social, and cultural development of the three successor civilizations of classical Greece and Rome--Western Christendom, Islam, and Byzantium, with particular emphasis on the former. The year will end with a study of the Renaissance and Reformation periods. By the end of the course, students will understand how Europe transformed from a collection of barbarian kingdoms into a sophisticated continent. Throughout the course, students will continue to develop their critical thinking, map and timeline skills, read a variety of nonfiction sources, practice their writing/oral presentation skills, and collaborate with their peers and express their creativity. Additionally, students will research/present a specific topic relevant to the Middle Ages. Students will be assigned a variety of hands-on and technology based projects throughout the school year. Our textbook is History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond.
Grade 7 and Grade 8 - Citizenship- A Right And A Responsibility
This two year course serves as an introduction to American government and our political process, while offering opportunities to broaden the lens and understand our role as a global citizen in the wide world around us. Students will study the roots of the American political system and the modern application of traditional ideas such as civil rights, voting, civil dialogue, and community activism. We examine the three branches of government and how they check and balance one another. The course will involve significant research, writing, debate, public speaking, and civic involvement to make both our local communities and the world a better place.
Three years of history are required for graduation.
The goal of the History Department is to help students gain the perspective through which to view their own experience and the experiences of people of other times and cultures. A broadened perspective enables students to become knowledgeable, responsible citizens of their own communities and of the world.
In their freshmen year, students take a Global and Ethnic Studies course. Returning and new tenth grade students take World Cultures. In their Junior year, students can take either Modern United States History or Advanced Placement United States History. Following their ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade years, students have a variety of electives from which they may choose.
GLOBAL AND ETHNIC STUDIES
Open to grades 9. No prerequisites.
This course highlights the diversity of our local, national, and global communities, paying particular attention to voices and perspectives that have been traditionally underrepresented, while seeking to affirm the myriad experiences of members of our Upper School community and create a sense of belonging. To frame this study, students will consider identity–both their own identities and how they view others. Through this lens, students will examine the history of race, ethnicity, and gender in America, laying the foundation for United States history in the Junior year. Students will then expand and connect these stories to examples of similar events in the modern global context. The course will, moreover, highlight representation in the arts and media, as students examine the important contributions of a diverse array of artists and producers of culture. All the while, students will practice writing, public discourse, source analysis, research, presentation, and critical thinking, among other skills. Finally, this course will serve as both a history class and an introduction to several social science disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and economics.
Open to grade 10. No Prerequisites.
Students in World Cultures examine the human journey, an exploration that spans continents and millenia! As we study history from the beginnings of civilizations through the beginning of modernity, we will discuss myriad ways that humans have expressed themselves through various cultural products, social systems, and political institutions. In particular, this course will emphasize the role of women in cultural production–both as subjects and as producers. In exploring a variety of sources within their historical contexts and learning more about the human story, students will come to view history both as meaningful in itself and important for what it teaches us about ourselves. Throughout the course, students will continue to hone a number of skills, especially critical reading, research, writing, primary source analysis, and presentation skills.
MODERN UNITED STATES HISTORY
Open to grade 11. No prerequisites.
Beginning with the aftermath of the Civil War, this course inspires students to explore America’s transformation since the Reconstruction era. Students critically examine topics such as immigration; modernization; struggles for race, class, gender, and sexual equality; the United States in the world; and social, economic, and cultural change. The basic tenets of historical thinking (change, causality, context, complexity, and contingency) along with crucial skills of the discipline (sourcing inference, argumentation, quotation) are emphasized in class discussions, informal writing, and frequent in-class writing exercises. Students learn to devise a thesis, support arguments with appropriate evidence, and interpret historical sources. The goal is to develop historically and culturally literate students with a sophisticated sense of American social and political history.
AP UNITED STATES HISTORY
Open to grades 11 and 12. Prerequisites: a grade of A or higher in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies), OR an A- in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies) with the signature of the current teacher. Additionally, students are required in the spring of their sophomore year to write a document based essay which is intended to assess the strength of their analytical writing skills.
This course examines the history of the United States from the colonial era through the Reagan Presidency, with a particular focus on the expansion and contraction of liberty throughout American history. The AP curriculum relies heavily on primary source materials, encouraging students to explore the nation’s history through the voices of its diverse people – the leaders and the ordinary men and women who shaped the past. The course emphasizes critical analysis, interpretative thinking, and inclusive class discussion. AP US History is a writing-intensive course in which students strengthen their skills through a variety of assignments including quizzes, tests, in-class essays, document based analyses, and research projects. Students participate in oral presentations and group projects. Juniors and seniors enrolled in this course are required to take the AP US History exam offered in the spring.
AP UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Open to grades 11 and 12. Prerequisites: a grade of A or higher in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies), OR an A- in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies) with the signature of the current teacher OR an enrollment in AP United States History or AP Art History and the signature of the current teacher.
This course examines the design and practice of American government and politics. Students will 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. This is a college-level course that requires extensive reading, writing, quizzes, tests, and presentations. Students will also participate in a civic engagement project. Coursework will reinforce and strengthen skills such as independent research, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis. Students taking this course are required to take the AP United States Government and Politics exam offered in the spring.
AP ART HISTORY
Open to grades 11 and 12. Prerequisites: a grade of A or higher in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies), OR an A- in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies) with the signature of the current teacher OR an enrollment in AP United States History and/or AP United States Government and the signature of the current teacher.
Among the most beautiful forms that humans have used to express their cultures and themselves is through the visual arts. AP Art History explores the aesthetic production of many cultures around the world and across millenia. From the cave paintings of 30,000 years ago to the graffiti of Banksy, art tells a story, reflects cultural values, and documents and responds to society and politics. Students will learn how to interpret and analyze these stories and to connect them to their historical contexts, all while learning to appreciate the great variety and beauty of the art of humankind. Writing and analysis are heavily emphasized in this course. Students taking this course are required to take the AP Art History exam offered in the spring.
Open to grades 11 and 12. Prerequisites: a grade of A or higher in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies), OR an A- in World Cultures (2023 only: or Ethnic Studies) with the signature of the current teacher OR an enrollment in AP United States History, AP United States Government, or AP Art History and the signature of the current teacher.
AP Psychology examines a wide variety of topics in the field of psychology including: the history of and approaches to psychology, biological bases of behavior, social, emotional and cognitive development, motivation and emotion, social psychology, and abnormal psychology. This is a college-level course that requires extensive reading, research, writing, quizzes, tests, and presentations. Course work will reinforce and strengthen skills such as critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis. Students taking this course are required to take the AP Psychology exam offered in the spring.