Within the history and social studies curriculum, history is presented as a cultural experience and not simply as a sequence of political events. People, places and events are presented as part of broad topics such as social development, the rise of nations and political institutions, urbanization, and conflict.
The department progressively works to achieve new standards in an effort to create a series of offerings broad in both scope and content. The development of reading and writing skills is stressed, along with the encouragement of students to become confident in their analytical abilities. History and social studies courses are part of a broader humanities curriculum whose development has been a long-term, continually evolving project. There has been, and continues to be, a concerted effort to coordinate English and history classes at all grade levels.
In the 9th grade, students study the history and geography of East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America within a focus on culture. In the following years, students study modern European history and United States history, with qualified students having the option of taking the Advanced Placement versions of these courses. AP U.S. Government and Politics, as well as electives in personal finance, economics, the Model UN, world philosophical traditions, international relations and politics are also offered.