The Social Studies Department

The Social Studies department offers courses in Modern World History, Advanced Placement World History, United States History, Advanced Placement United States History, Economics, American Democracy, Advanced Placement American Democracy and Psychology.

Department Head: Valerie Ziegler (21C)

Department Office is located in: room 222

Social Studies AP Summer Assignments

For the AP World History assignment please see Mr. Hutchison’s Page

For the AP US Politics assignment please see Ms. Ziegler’s Page

Social Studies Department Course Offerings

Modern World History 1 and 2

The course begins by linking the past history to the modern world. The course encompasses events from 1789 to the present. Topics include the roots and rise of Democracy, Revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, Imperialism, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and Area Studies. Besides focusing on significant historical events, it also addresses itself to area studies in which specific nations from different continents are examined as case studies illustrating nationalism in the contemporary world. Students will explore content through primary source analysis, geographic study, research, and historical essay writing.

AP World History

AP Modern World is a college level introductory course to world history. We will be examining the major political, environmental, cultural, economic and social developments that took place in Africa, the Americas, East Asia, South-East Asia, India, Oceana, the Middle East and Europe from 8,000 BCE to the present. The course is organized chronologically, and focuses specifically on identifying changes and continuity within and among civilizations, and making comparisons between civilizations. In addition to content knowledge, students will also develop the necessary skills to read a college level textbook, read and analyze primary and secondary sources, and write analytical essays.

United States History 1 and 2

Students in grade eleven study the major turning points in American history in the twentieth century. Following a review of the nation’s beginnings and the impact of the Enlightenment on U.S. democratic ideals, students build upon the tenth grade study of global industrialization to understand the emergence and impact of new technology and a corporate economy, including the social and cultural effects. They trace the change in the ethnic composition of American society; the movement toward equal rights for racial minorities and women; and the role of the United States as a major world power. An emphasis is placed on the expanding role of the federal government and federal courts as well as the continuing tension between the individual and the state. Students consider the major social problems of our time and trace their causes in historical events. They learn that the United States has served as a model for other nations and that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are not accidents, but the results of a defined set of political principles that are not always basic to citizens of other countries. Students understand that our rights under the U.S. Constitution area precious inheritance that depends on an educated citizenry for their preservation and protection.

Advanced Placement United States History 1 and 2

This full year course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. History. This college-level experience will prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam given each year in May. An emphasis is placed on interpreting documents, mastering a significant body of factual information, and writing critical essays. Students will develop the necessary skills to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format.

Principles of American Democracy

This course will prepare students to vote, participate in community activities, and assume the responsibilities of citizenship. Students in grade twelve will pursue a deeper understanding of how the American government works. They will compare systems of government in the world today and analyze the history and changing interpretations of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the current state of the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches of government. In addition students will learn about the interaction relationship among federal, state, and local governments, the election process and the role of the media in society. Lastly, students will research and debate current issues in American Democracy.

Advanced Placement United States Government & Politics

AP US Politics and government allows students the opportunity to study their government and the role they play as citizens. This college level course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific examples. . A large percentage of time is spent focused on the three branches of government and their roles in our lives. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. politics Students will study the Constitution to understand their civil liberties and rights. Students completing this course will be empowered to find an active role in politics.


The study of economics will change the way students think! Students successfully completing this course will apply common economic terms, concepts and reasoning to their everyday lives. This course provides an introduction to basic economic principles of micro- and macroeconomics, international economics and comparative economic systems. Students will master fundamental economic concepts, applying the tools (graphs, statistics, equations) from other subject areas to the understanding of operations and institutions of economic systems. This course also includes a study of current economic issues such as globalization and the environment.