Social Studies Department
The Social Studies Department recognizes the need in a democratic society for a well-informed and articulate citizenry. As Catholic educators involved in the education ministry of the Church at the high school level, the members of the department also recognize the need for a responsible and responsive Catholic laity who are able to contribute sound Christian leadership and values to the society in which they live.
The members of the department, following the guidelines provided in the school’s philosophy and objectives, seek to teach Christian Catholic values with goodness and love of the God manifested in each individual person as well as in the whole community.
The implications of this philosophical position pinpoint three areas of emphasis in the social studies curriculum:
- Knowledge and Applications – A well-integrated sequence of courses aimed at developing in students an understanding of the political, economic, religious, social and cultural aspects of civilization.
- Attitudes of Goodness – A positive approach to Social Studies as a useful discipline in creating in students a tolerance for the diversity of viewpoints encountered in a pluralistic world as well as a sense of personal responsibility in working for the common good.
- Behavior as a civic virtue – Attention to developing the potential of each student so that he/she will see a way to play an active role in his/her community, state and nation.
The members of the department believe that Social Studies should be taught in a manner meaningful for the future citizens of a free society. A major thrust of the Social Studies curriculum should be the development within each student of a profound sense of the dignity of the human person, of the inviolability of human rights and of the fundamental need to safeguard human life and human freedom.
In seeking to implement these emphases, four implications for the instructional process receive special attention:
- Instructional methodology must provide opportunity for individual initiative as well experienced in-group cooperation.
- The instructional process must respect individual differences in academic abilities and needs.
- The process of instruction must seek to motivate students to develop an appreciation for social studies as an enriching and challenging human experience.
- Instruction must adhere to the prescribed curriculum for each course of study.
Since a major goal of the school is to provide its’ graduates with a solid foundation in the key scholarly disciplines, the department has established the following set of goals for its program:
- To provide the students with a basic knowledge and appreciation for the various fields of social studies.
- To teach students to think critically and to express thoughts logically and persuasively.
- To emphasize for all students the relevancy of historical study for better understanding of the present.
- To develop in all students a Christian value system as a basis for decision making in adult life.
- To refine and expand basic skills in different areas of social studies.
- To stimulate students to see the need for active and intelligent citizenship on the part of each of them.
- To awaken in the students a genuine respect for the contributions of the past civilizations.
In addition to these goals, the Social Studies Department is committed to the Expected School-wide Learning Results (ESLR). These are:
- Know the basic principles of Christianity as taught by the Catholic Church and understand the value of applying those principles in their daily life.
- Be able to communicate effectively through the development of the skills in reading, writing and speaking.
- Be individuals who are able to think critically and to function effectively when they encounter new ideas and situations
- Demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the curricular areas they studied, and appreciate the value of continued learning.
- Have developed in the respect for themselves and others, their appreciation of cultural diversity, and the recognition of their responsibility to contribute positively to the community.
- Use evolving technology as a tool to complement learning and understand its application in their lives.
WORLD HISTORY (CSU/UC) (two semesters; Sophomores)
This course begins with an examination of the development of the ancient world civilizations and continues with a study of world history through recent decades.
UNITED STATES HISTORY (CSU/UC) (two semesters; Juniors)
This course studies the events and persons that shaped American History from the Reconstruction era to the present. Important historical themes will be explored, including the topics of cultural diversity, private enterprise, and the role of government in 20th century American society.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE (CSU/UC) (one semester; Juniors/Seniors)
This course provides an in-depth study of crime in America. Victimization, due process, constitutional laws, and the criminal court system will be explored. Included in the course is a review of law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels as well as crime prevention/response, the juvenile justice system and the root causes of crime in America.
ECONOMICS (CSU/UC) (one semester; Seniors)
This course meets the state requirement for economic literacy. Students will study the American economy in action and the principles on which it is based.
ETHNIC STUDIES (pending CSU/UC approval) (one semester; Seniors and Juniors)
Ethnic Studies courses operate from the consideration that race and racism have been, and continue to be, profoundly powerful social and cultural forces in American society. These courses focus on the experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanas/os and Latinas/os, American Indians, and other racialized peoples in the United States. Courses are grounded in the concrete situations of people of color, and use a methodological framing that emphasizes both the structural dimensions of race and racism and the associated cultural dimensions.
PSYCHOLOGY (CSU/UC) (one semester; Seniors and Juniors)
Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes; it covers everything that people think, feel, and do. Psychology can provide useful insight into one’s own and other people’s behavior. Two things that the student will gain by learning about Psychology are insight into behavior and new practical information on how to deal with situations in everyday life.
HONORS WORLD HISTORY (CSU/UC) (two semesters; selected Sophomores; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: overall 3.3 GPA; A- in English I or C in Honors English This course traces the history of mankind with particular emphasis on original sources and historical perspectives. The class emphasizes reading and writing skills in the Social Sciences, with a more in-depth and comprehensive study of all of the topics covered in the World History. SUMMER PROJECT REQUIRED.
HONORS UNITED STATES HISTORY (CSU/UC) (two semesters; selected Juniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: overall 3.3 GPA; C in Honors World History or AP European History or A in World History and English II. This course covers American history from the colonial period to the present. This course includes the same material that is covered in AP U.S. History. This course requires writing exercises that go beyond the curriculum found in the standard U.S. History class. Students are given timed essay tests and exercises on a regular basis in order to improve reading comprehension and writing skills. Selected students will participate in a national competition that covers the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The cumulative activity is a mock congressional hearing with students competing against other high schools in the 38th Congressional District. Upon winning the district competition, students have the opportunity to compete at the state level in Sacramento. SUMMER PROJECT REQUIRED.
HONORS UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT (CSU/UC) (one semester; selected Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITE: overall 3.0 GPA; C- in AP History or C in either Honors U.S. History or B in U.S. History This semester course is an in-depth study of the origins, institutions and processes of the American federal system. It will stress an understanding of national government through the analysis of current challenges facing the United States system and through basic comparisons to other existing political systems. SUMMER READING REQUIRED.
HONORS ECONOMICS (CSU/UC) (one semester; selected Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITE: overall 3.0 GPA; C- in AP History or C in either Honors U.S. History or B in U.S. History This semester course is an honors level class that meets the senior requirement in economics. Students will study basic principles of economics and complete a general survey of topics in macroeconomics that usually are presented in an introductory college course. Students are expected to be able to work at a demanding level as called for by an honors course. SUMMER ASSIGNMENT REQUIRED.
HONORS PSYCHOLOGY (CSU/UC) (one semester; selected Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: overall 3.3 GPA; B in Junior History course This course studies individual and group behavior, and serves as an introduction to the study of Psychology. The course will provide an overview of the history of psychology and of the major schools of psychology.
AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (CSU/UC) (two semesters; selected Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: 85% or above on Entrance Exam; A- in 8th grade English and Social Studies or A in English I/B in Hon. Eng. 1 This course is taught at the college level. It is rigorous, fast paced, and requires extensive reading and writing. AP Human Geography is divided into seven units - maps and other tools, population and migration, culture, political geography, agriculture, economic geography, and urban geography. This course offers an excellent preparation for students who plan to take AP and/or IB courses in the future. SUMMER PROJECT REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.
AP EUROPEAN HISTORY (CSU/UC) (two semesters; selected Sophomores or Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: overall 3.5 GPA in Freshmen year; A- in Honors English (or A in English I with English or AP HUG teacher recommendation and department approval) This course is taught at the college level. It focuses on the major trends and themes in Western Civilization from 1450 to present. The class will examine the political-diplomatic, intellectual-cultural, and the social-economic history of modern Europe. The students will evaluate historical material and analyze primary themes in the development of Europe. The class places a special emphasis on developing critical thinking and effective writing skills. SUMMER PROJECT REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.
AP UNITED STATES HISTORY (CSU/UC) (two semesters; selected Juniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITE: overall 3.7 GPA; C in AP European History or A- in Honors World History; Students in World History must earn a grade of A with teacher recommendation and department approval to enroll in AP U.S. History This course is taught at the college level. In this course, the students will involve themselves in the political, social, and economic aspects of the creating of the American nation and its society. Students will use primary and secondary source readings to further their knowledge and will be required to write formal essays frequently as well as present both oral and written research projects. SUMMER PROJECT REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.
AP UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS (CSU/UC) (one semester; Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: GPA of 3.5; B in AP or Honors U.S. History or A- in U.S. History w/ teacher recommendation and dept. approval. This semester course is an in-depth study of the origins, institutions and processes of the American federal system. It stresses an understanding of the national government through the analysis of current challenges facing the United States system and through a comparison to other existing political systems. This course is taught at the college level. SUMMER ASSIGNMENT REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.
AP MACROECONOMICS (CSU / UC elective) (one semester; Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITE: GPA of 3.5; B in AP or Honors U.S. History or A- in U.S. History w/ teacher recommendation and dept. approval. Students will study basic principles of macroeconomics as presented in an introductory college course. Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the Advanced Placement Examination. Because of the special nature of this class, students should possess strong study habits and skills and a desire to learn at an advanced placement level. SUMMER ASSIGNMENT REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.
AP PSYCHOLOGY (CSU / UC elective) (one semester; Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: overall 3.5 GPA; B in Junior History course; A in Biology or B in Hon Bio This is a college level course in psychology. The focus of this class will be a systematic and scientific study of behavior and mental processes of humans and other animals. Students will learn of the major psychological principles and theories. The course examines ethics and methods used by psychologists in their science and practice. Students enrolled in this course will be required to attend scheduled meetings at lunch and after school during the second semester. SUMMER ASSIGNMENT REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.
IB HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS HL 1 (CSU/UC) (two semesters; Juniors; WEIGHTED)
For students not enrolled in IB Diploma; 3.3 GPA This course fulfills the first year of higher-level study of the major historical events from the exploration of the Americas through the twentieth century. Major emphasis is placed on United States history and its impact on an international level. As an integral component of the course, students will develop skills in organizing and analyzing historical data through research of an historical investigation of their choice. SUMMER ASSIGNMENT REQUIRED. EXAM FEE SENIOR YEAR.
IB HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS HL 2 (CSU/UC) (two semesters; Seniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: Successful completion of IB History of the Americas HL 1; This course fulfills the second year of higher-level Individuals and Societies requirement. Emphasis in this course includes in depth study of post-World War II topics such as the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy, Canadian and Latin American political and economic developments, and hemispheric relations from 1945 to 1995. Students will complete the written historical investigation begun during the first year of study in addition to preparing for the higher-level history exam. IB EXAM REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.
IB ECONOMICS SL (CSU/UC elective) (two semesters; Seniors, select Juniors; WEIGHTED)
PREREQUISITES: Seniors: GPA of 3.3 and B in Honors or AP U.S. History or IB History of Americas HL 1 or A- in U.S. History; Juniors: GPA of 3.3 and B in AP European History or Honors World History or A in World History. This course fulfills the senior requirement for economics. Students will study basic principles of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and the global economy at an introductory college level. Students are enrolled for a full year and are required to complete both the IB internal and external assessments. SUMMER ASSIGNMENT REQUIRED. IB EXAM REQUIRED. EXAM FEE CHARGED.