The goal of the history department is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and informed young adults who are also critical thinkers, critical readers, and effective communicators. Along these lines, our vision is to provide students with both the knowledge and skills needed to prepare them for the academic rigors of college and their futures as life-long learners. By creating connections between past and present, the department also aims to develop within our students a greater awareness of their place and role within local, national, and global communities.
Western Civilizations is an exciting introduction to the turning points that have shaped the early modern world. This course focuses on the cause and effect of political, economic, religious, social, and artistic aspects of European history, while developing higher-level reading, writing and thinking skills. Students will deepen their knowledge of history through the examination of numerous primary and secondary sources as well as through class activities and discussions structured to foster independent learning. Students in this course are expected to come to class excited to learn history and participate in both group and independent learning opportunities. Grade Level: 9 Prerequisite: None
Honors Western Civilizations is an exciting introduction to the turning points that have shaped the early modern world. This intensive course focuses on the cause and effect of political, economic, religious, social, and artistic aspects of European history, while developing higher-level reading, writing and thinking skills. Students will deepen their knowledge of history through the examination of numerous primary sources such as Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, Papal decrees, and paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, as well as a variety of analytical secondary sources. Students in this honors course are required to complete numerous written essays, participate in class discussions and be responsible, independent learners. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
Demonstrate an understanding of historical chronology by mastering the knowledge of historical narrative of Western Civilization from the Renaissance to the early Modern Era.
Interpret and apply data from original documents.
Use historical data to support generalizations and interpretations.
Effectively use analytical skills of evaluation, cause and effect, and comparison.
Grade Level: 9 Prerequisite: Two of the following:
Previous history class with a grade of A- or higher
Students begin the course with a survey the nineteenth century, to provide context, and explore European diplomacy from 1870 up to the causes and course of the war to end wars. The Russian Revolutions of 1917, Russian civil war, and the role of Lenin will be evaluated. The years 1918- 1939 will be examined exhaustively, and the challenges to democracy in Italy, Germany, and Spain will be considered. The causes, course, and consequences of World War Two will be studied, and close with a thorough analysis of the breakup of the Grand Alliance and the origins and spread of the Cold War. The course concludes by examining the spread of the Cold War in Europe and Asia. Grade Level: 10-12 Prerequisite: Successful completion of previous history class
This course provides an understanding of the foundations, growth and changes of the American democratic system. A study of the United States Constitution generates information about the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government at the national, state, and local levels. Students will understand the system of checks and balances under our Constitutional system. The course closely examines the electoral process and the formation of public policy. Political activism will be encouraged through following and participating in an election process. Major rights and freedoms will be discussed and civic responsibility will be explored. Current events are addressed continuously in the context of our studies.
The culmination of the semester is a unit on comparative political systems. Community service activities will be a required component of the class along with position papers on current topics. Grade Level: 11-12 Prerequisite: None
Economics Semester Course
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic economic concepts and terms necessary for the understanding of financial structures. This course focuses on economic and political issues, such as trade, development, security, foreign aid, and international business. Students use economic and political models and theories to analyze, predict, and develop solutions to world problems. Students are required to read excerpts from books, magazines, journals, and newspapers in order to understand the current world financial situation. Time is dedicated to personal budgets, investment strategies, and financial planning for college. This course is also offered as an honors course. Grade Level: 11-12
America and Vietnam: 1945-1975 Spring Semester Course
This course will begin with Vietnam in the early 20th century, focusing on French colonialism and the development of Vietnamese nationalism to provide context for a discussion of the first Indochina War and growth of US involvement in Vietnam. The complexities and significance of geopolitics in Southeast Asia during the Cold War, escalation of the American-Vietnamese war and American military policy are scrutinized to put our study of the ground war and antiwar movement into perspective. Nixon’s extension of the war, the fall of Saigon, and a study of the long and short-term consequences of the Vietnam War for both Americans and the Vietnamese conclude the class. The course will combine short readings drawn from both primary and secondary sources, lecture, documentary films, and discussions to provide multiple perspectives and basis for a deepened understanding of this highly significant part of history. Grade Level: 11-12 Grade Level: Successful completion of one of the following: 20th Century Global Conflict, AP European History or US history.
This course prepares students for the Advanced Placement test in European History and also is designed to satisfy intellectual curiosity about an influential and dramatic part of world history. Students study Europe from the Renaissances to present day. The complexity of readings, deep level of analysis and rigorous pace of the course provide accelerated and motivated students a college-level experience. In addition to the class lectures, discussions and tests, students will be expected to do considerable reading of historical texts and primary source documents and writing of essays both in-class and as homework.
The culmination of the semester is a unit on comparative political systems. Community service activities will be a required component of the class along with position papers on current topics. Grade Level: 10-12 Prerequisite: Two of the following: (1) previous history class with a grade of A- or higher, (2) passing History Dept. placement assessment, or (3) teacher recommendation
AP United States Government and Politics Semester Course
This course prepares students for the AP Government test. Units covered include the Constitutional Underpinnings; Political Beliefs and Behaviors; Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media; Institutions: Congress, Presidency, Bureaucracy, Courts; Public Policy; Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Students receive considerable practice with the timed essay. Grade Level: 11-12 Prerequisite: Two of the following:
Previous history class with a grade of A- or higher,
Passing History Dept. placement assessment, or
AP Comparative Government and Politics Semester Course
This course is designed for students wishing to learn more advanced concepts about governments around the world. This course introduces students to fundamental concepts used by political scientists to study the processes and outcomes of politics and public policy in a variety of country settings. Content will include the study of China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia and how politics, institutions, and behaviors shape these nations. Course work is equivalent to a college introductory course in Comparative Government and Politics. Grade Level: 11-12 Prerequisite: Two of the following:
Previous history class with a grade of A- or higher,
Passing History Dept. placement assessment, or
This course prepares students for the AP Psychology exam. An underlying theme of the course is the importance of understanding objective, empirical methods of collecting and interpreting data, including a basic knowledge of descriptive and inferential statistics. In addition, students must be able to understand and critique descriptive, predictive, and experimental research methods, and most, if not all, topics should be linked to the type of research methodology that supports or produces them. Students should be aware of the logically permissible appropriate inferences, conclusions, and generalizations that can be made based on the research method used or statistical analysis applied. Additionally, students relate information to the major psychological themes, including nature/nurture, continuity/discontinuity, change/stability, idiographic/nomothetic, mind-body interactions, and homeostatic (opposing process) regulation. Perspectives include psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, biological, and social-cultural.
The culmination of the semester is a unit on comparative political systems. Community service activities will be a required component of the class along with position papers on current topics. Grade Level: 10-12 Prerequisite: Biology and previous history class with a grade of B+ or higher.
*This course is approved by the University of California. Course Availability: It is important to note that a course may not be offered in a given year due to low course enrollment.