Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum supports the school’s Ignatian vision and is organized around the central concept of justice. In fulfillment of the school's three and one-half year Social Studies requirement, the courses offered by the Social Studies department explore the historical, political, religious, economic, and social dimensions of what constitutes a just society.

Global History

The Global History course is a general survey of the history of China, India, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Students will examine the major historical developments from the early rise of agriculture to the modern period. The course is divided into five historical periods. Each period will be examined thematically, allowing students to compare and contrast civilizations, trading networks, and cultural issues. This course is a semester-long course and students who enroll in the course will be assigned to either the fall or spring semester by the academic dean’s office. (0.5 credit)

AP World History

The AP World History course is designed to develop a greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, and interaction with different types of human societies. This understanding is advanced through a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. The course highlights the nature of changes in international frameworks and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies. The AP syllabus is followed and students are prepared for the AP exam in May. (Students are also encouraged to take the World History SAT 2 in June.) This course is for highly motivated sophomores who have been strongly recommended by their Freshmen World History teacher, and have demonstrated advanced skills in writing, reading comprehension, and academic commitment as demonstrated by grades of 90% or better in Western Civilization. Students must apply to the course for selection by the department and Academic Dean. (1 credit)

Western Civilization

This course is designed to introduce 9th grade students to the study of western civilization through a blend of political, social, economic, religious, and cultural history. Beginning with the early ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia and ending with the aftermath of the First World War, this course covers about 4,000 years of history. Through lectures, PowerPoint presentations, critical thinking exercises, group activities, and vibrant class discussions students are exposed to the narrative of European history. (1 credit)

US History

This is a classic survey course in United States History. This full year course provides a foundation for a sophisticated appreciation of the history of the United States, with the aim of analyzing the American experience from the settlement of the colonies through the mid-to-late 20th Century. The course will alternate between a survey and thematic approach to critical periods in this nation’s history. Historical thinking skills will be developed through a mixture of lecture-discussion, small group conversations, group work, individual projects, writing assignments and class presentations. The course is reading intensive and will emphasize expository writing skills based on primary and secondary sources. In addition, an emphasis on understanding contemporary issues is a hallmark of the course. This course is typically taken in the junior year. (1 credit)

AP US History

This is a survey course that prepares juniors to take the AP examination in U.S. History by studying and writing about the people, events, and forces that have shaped the American experience from Pre-Columbian America to the present. All students in the course will sit for the AP exam in the spring. A student who wishes to apply for AP U.S. History must have achieved a minimum grade of 85 in the AP World History course, or at least the low 90s in Global History. In addition, the student’s PSAT reading scores must indicate that he possesses the skills necessary for success in a reading intensive course. Finally, the student must receive the recommendation of his World History teacher. (1 credit)

AP Economics

This course is a standard yearlong course in college level economics. In the first semester macroeconomics is treated: Public Finance, Inflation, Recession, The Federal Budget, Keynesian Theory, Supply-Side Theory and Monetarist Theory will be the chief subjects of discussion. In the second semester, the course will turn its attention to microeconomics: Theory of the Firm, Elasticity, Utility Functions, Perfect and Imperfect Competition; Labor and Resource Markets will be treated. The student will sit for two separate AP exams in May, one in Macro, the other Micro. Students are selected by the department for this course based on their previous history and math grades. A competitive candidate has come from AP US History with a B average or above or US History with an A average and comparable grades in upper level mathematics. (1 credit)

AP US Government and Politics

This year-long course is an intensive college level survey that explores the formal and informal structures of the government and the processes of the political system in the United States. To gain admittance, successful completion of US History is expected, followed by a review conducted by the history department. The course is organized around three broad topics. First, through the study of the Constitution, the course explores the basic “rules of the game” and the logic underlying the structures of the American government. Second, the course analyzes those who participate in politics and raises the specific question of what motivates a citizen to engage in political activity and how they organize themselves for collective action. Third, the course examines how the institutions of our national government--the Presidency, the Congress, and the Supreme Court --operate to channel competition and to perform the essential task of choosing the "winners" and "losers" in public conflicts. The class is intended to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exam for U.S Government and Politics held annually in May. (1 credit)

AP US Government & Comparative Government & Politics

This offering is a two semester course. During the first semester, students will explore the fundamentals of the U.S. political system including the institutions of national government--the Presidency, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. The Electoral College, political parties, campaign finance, voting behavior, the media, and interest group politics will be covered extensively. AP Comparative Government is covered in the second semester. This course will explore the conceptual framework necessary to develop an understanding of some of the world's most diverse political structures and practices. Six countries form the core of this comparative study – United Kingdom, Iran, Nigeria, Mexico, the Russian Federation, and the People's Republic of China. An emphasis on themes such as globalization, immigration, democratization, and citizen-state relations will be highlighted. The course is intended to prepare students for the two Advanced Placement exams held annually in May. (1 credit)

AP Statistics

The Advanced Placement Statistics course of study introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes, as follows.

1. Exploring Data. Describing patterns and departures from patterns.

2. Sampling and Experimentation. Planning and conducting a study.

3. Anticipating Patterns. Exploring random phenomena and using probability.

4. Statistical Inference. Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses.

All students participating in this course will take the nationwide AP Statistics Exam in the spring. Students who successfully complete the course and the AP Exam may be eligible to receive credit, advanced placement, or both for a one-semester introductory college statistics course. A TI-84 graphing calculator is required. (1 credit) Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra II or III, and approval of the Math Department chairperson. This course fulfills the social studies requirement for senior year. (1 credit)

AP Modern European History

This course is designed as a college-level survey of European history from the Renaissance to the modern era of the European Union. In addition to basic exposure to the factual narrative the goals of this course are to develop an understanding of some of the principal themes of modern European history as well as an ability to analyze historical evidence. Through a seminar approach students are expected to present their work and discuss daily readings, all the while focusing on political, diplomatic, social, and economic themes. Textbook readings are supplemented by extensive work with primary sources (written work and images). Students should expect 3-4 essay assignments per marking period, as well as two tests and numerous reading quizzes. In order to be accepted into this class a student should have outstanding recommendations from his junior year teachers as well as a high grade point average from his U.S. History class. Class size will also be taken into consideration. (1 credit)

AP Art History

This a college-level introductory art history survey in which students learn to identify, examine, and critically analyze major forms of art from prehistory to the present. While the curriculum, requirements, and standards are extremely demanding and rigorous, the rewards are extraordinary. Students will significantly improve critical thinking and writing skills and expand visual literacy, and they will develop an understanding of the diverse cultural and historical contexts of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media. Perhaps most importantly, students will confront the whole range of human experience, stretch their minds and imaginations to embrace new ideas and places, and develop a deeper understanding of what drives us as a species—our fears, our loves, and our beliefs. This course fulfills the social studies requirement for senior year. (1 credit)


This course is designed to prepare a senior to successfully encounter a college course in macro and microeconomics. It will use a college-level economics textbook and will familiarize the student with all of the topics normally addressed in a year-long college course: In macroeconomics that includes Aggregate Demand Aggregate Supply Analysis, National Income Accounting, Monetary and Fiscal Policy and Externalities; and, in microeconomics, The Theory of the Firm, the Costs of Production, Perfect and Imperfect Competition, and Wage Determination. Graphical analysis will be a central component of the course. (1 credit)

US Government and Politics

This course is a survey of American government, intended to prepare students to develop as an informed and knowledgeable participant in domestic politics. We discuss political ideology, along with the development of our political system and its governmental institutions. Upon course completion students will be able to critically examine the role of the national government and its relationship to the concept of liberty in a pluralistic society. This is a course designed for seniors to further students’ understanding of the intricacies of the three branches of government and those forces that shape public policy decisions. Special attention is paid to current events as a vehicle for observing national, state, and local issues of importance. Students who show success in the course as identified by the teacher may take the U.S. Government AP exam in May. This decision will be made in consultation with the Academic Dean. (1 credit)


Mr. Brandon Rothenberg

Mr. Marcos Poole

Mr. Tom Conlan

Mr. Josh Furnary

Mr. Kurt Kaufmann

Dr. Steve Ochs

Mr. Ryland Owen, Chair

Mr. Dacque Tirado