MIDDLE SCHOOL COURSES

American History and Government

This course explores the functions of American government and its development over time. Students become familiar with the underlying principles and unique structure of our democratic republic, analyze the U.S. Constitution and landmark Supreme Court cases, discuss the principles that inform our political processes, and consider the social and cultural implications of important legislation and political events. This course aims to provide an understanding of American government so that students become informed, committed citizens. Study strategies and organizational skills—including careful reading and annotation, primary source analysis, critical thinking, note taking, and research skills—are taught. Students develop interpersonal communication skills through collaborative projects, class discussion and debate, the writing of expository essays, oral presentations, and electronic communication. Use of a variety of digital tools enhance students’ twenty-first-century learning experience.

World Civilizations

This course examines events and trends that have shaped the development of the modern world. It focuses on non-Western civilizations: Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The course concentrates on the rise of global empires and societies and the development of political and economic structures. Skills cultivated include critical reading, argumentative writing, discussion, and proficient analysis of primary and secondary sources.

The World and Europe I

This course presents a European perspective on the political, economic, intellectual, social, and cultural developments from ancient times through the sixteenth century and the interplay of those developments with world cultures. Coursework builds skills necessary for high school history students: strong reading comprehension, inferential and analytical thinking, writing and discussion skills, research techniques, and appropriate study strategies. Readings are drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources, providing an overview of historical events and insights into patterns of civilization.

UPPER SCHOOL COURSES

The World and Europe II

This course presents a European perspective on the political, economic, intellectual, social, and cultural developments of the sixteenth through the late-twentieth centuries and the interplay of those developments with world cultures. Students consider the significance of key ideas and movements: revolution, industrialism, nationalism, socialism, communism, imperialism, decolonization, and totalitarianism. Coursework emphasizes skill development in critical thinking, coherent argumentation, research, expository writing, and interpreting primary and secondary sources.

The History and Art of Modern Europe and the World

The historical content of this course is almost identical to that of The World and Europe II, but is coordinated with the activities of the tenth-grade drawing and painting course. The two curricula parallel each other chronologically and thematically. In the history classroom, art is used as a primary source. In the art studio, students learn the principles of design and visual literacy and develop their perceptual, analytic, and expressive drawing and painting skills while working on projects that involve the same concepts and subject material they are concurrently studying in history. A wide variety of media and techniques are explored in the process. Corequisite: Drawing and Painting I/The History and Art of Modern Europe and the World (U0280-0).

AP European History

This course covers the history of Europe from 1300 to the present. It is fast paced, discusses a wide variety of topics, and, similar to a college-level Western history survey, requires sophisticated analysis of historical change. The course is designed for students with highly developed reading and writing skills and requires independent learning and initiative. Students are expected to invest the time and energy necessary to understand the readings and think through complex issues. Topics of study include the Renaissance and Reformation, Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, formation and fall of empires, decline of monarchies, rise of nation-states and democratic governments, spread of totalitarianism, world wars, Cold War, and formation of the European Union. Class discussions are based on in-depth analysis of primary and secondary texts, images, and propaganda. Major assessments focus on strengthening composition skills and formulating interpretations of historical change that analyze the influence of political, economic, social, and cultural factors; examine how society is influenced by religion, nationality, class, ideology, technology, gender, race, and ethnicity; and trace the role of art and literature in shaping Western views of humanity, society, and the world. Students must take the AP European History examination in May. Prerequisite: Placement test.

United States History

Students examine prominent features of the American experience: the nature of colonial life, the reasons for the revolutionary break from England, the constitutional system, the development of democracy and capitalism, reform movements and the Civil War, the impact of the frontier, the changing nature of business and government, the changing role of the United States as a world power, and the struggle to achieve class, ethnic, racial, and gender equality. Students develop the ability to read historical material analytically and critically and to pursue independent research. In addition to primary documents and historical narratives, selections from American literature and audiovisual materials are used.

AP United States History

Students analyze the causes and results of major historical developments in America from precolonial Native American societies to the policies of the current administration. Much attention is given to historical documents. In addition to presenting factual information and primary sources, this course seeks to acquaint students with a variety of scholarly interpretations of major historical issues. It then asks students to reach and support their own conclusions regarding these issues. This version of the United States History course prepares students for the AP examination in American history they are required to take in May. Prerequisite: B+ in The World and Europe II or B+ in The History and Art of Modern Europe and the World.

Art History Honors

This course presents world architecture, painting, and sculpture from prehistoric times to the present. The emphasis is on Western European art and its cultural context. Students learn to interpret works of art in terms of the formal elements of composition and the aesthetic principles of each period. This is primarily a college-style lecture course.

World History Honors

The goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the evolution of world history and the interactions of human societies from ancient times to today. The course presents the history of the world from the earliest civilizations in Sumer, Egypt, India, and China to the present. Students look at the histories of peoples in every part of the world. They discuss the rise and fall of the world’s great empires, the development of the world’s religions, philosophical traditions, the roles of law and government, and social changes over time. The second semester focuses primarily on the modern era from about 1500 CE to the present, a period in which the world became increasingly integrated. Prerequisite: AP United States History or B+ in United States History.

AP Human Geography and Urban Studies

Understanding and explaining cultural diversity around the world is the mission of human geography; examining and assessing the causes and impacts of city life are the goals of urban studies. This course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that shape humans’ understanding, use, and alteration of the earth’s surface. Topics covered include human population growth and movement; patterns of culture; the economic use of the earth, including industrialization, agriculture, and general economic development; and the political organization of space. Human geography analyzes human social organization—places, people, and events—as well as how these factors interact. Emphasis is placed on why people live in cities (and suburbs), how the urban setting influences human behavior, how human behavior sculpts the urban landscape, and how to grapple with long-term issues such as urban poverty, education, and economic transformation and dislocation.

International Relations

This course introduces students to key theories of war, peace, and cooperation among states and nonstate actors. In addition to the textbook, students read classic and contemporary literature from the academic field. Ongoing and contemporary global issues—such as nuclear proliferation, trade disputes, war crimes, and humanitarian crises—are also covered. The course’s primary teaching strategies are simulations, academic debates, research projects, and class discussions.

AP Government and Politics: United States

Students in this course analyze the constitutional underpinnings of American government; the civil liberties guaranteed to the people of the United States; the political beliefs and behaviors of American citizens, political parties, and interest groups; and the institutions and policy processes of the national government. Current political, legal, and governmental issues are used to illustrate major points and refine students’ understanding. Prerequisite: AP United States History or B+ in United States History.

AP Government and Politics: Comparative

This course examines the sources of public authority and political power; the relationship between state, society, and citizen; the political and institutional framework of various governments; and the ways in which political change occurs. The course focuses on the governments of the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Iran, Mexico, and Nigeria in analyzing these topics. Prerequisite: AP United States History or B+ in United States History.

Mass Entertainment in America

This course examines the growth and development of mass culture in the United States during the twentieth century. The course focuses on sports, film, radio, and television to illustrate various aspects of American social history. It uses audiovisual material, lecture, and class discussion to help students reach an understanding of how popular culture affects and reflects American society.

Assimilation and Difference in American Society

This course enables students to develop an analytical model to examine and understand issues in American society that relate to racial, ethnic, and other cultural differences. The course utilizes seminar-style discussion; academic, magazine, and newspaper articles; excerpts from fictional works and memoirs; video and film; the Internet; personal interviews; and students’ individual experiences. Students construct an interpretive framework that allows them to explore¬—in an informed and analytical manner—areas of individual interest through their work in writings and on projects. Projects in the past have included research papers, video and multimedia presentations, and interpretive artwork.