Social Studies is taught from a phenomenological perspective, with subjects and methods addressing developmental stages common to adolescents. Subjects build upon one another in a progression from an affective emphasis to a more intellectual one. Literature is often integrated into the curriculum to establish an effective connection to historical events and the individuals who lived through them. Geography is also fundamental to most Social Studies courses.
Ninth graders begin the year with the course Idealism and Humanity, which challenges the students to create a society that is a true embodiment of their own most cherished ideals. They then take a course that surveys the history of Western art, beginning with the first examples of artistic production by earliest humans through the Baroque era. A cultural studies course gives students a broad sense of the Pacific Rim experience by looking at the geography, history, and belief cultures of our Pacific Rim neighbors.
Tenth grade is rich with social studies. Medieval history and thought is studied, beginning with the Gospels of the New Testament. The tenth grade cultural studies class explores Africa, the birthplace of humans, a center of folklore and oral tradition, and a focal point of the world’s cultural and biological diversity. Ancient Civilization examines the development of humankind from the origins of the earliest human beings through some of the first great civilizations. A Classical world course identifies the essential characteristics of the Greeks by looking at the emergence of the individual in the West. Finally, tenth graders take an extensive course in U.S. History focusing on the formation and structure of our constitutional republic.
Eleventh grade U.S. History focuses on 19th century American history. Eleventh graders also explore the culture, history, politics, economics, and art of the Middle East and Latin America.
Twelfth grade includes a comprehensive survey of the history of Western architecture, America in the Modern World which begins in the mid-19th century and continues to current events, and a modern history of economics. High school social studies concludes with a course called Symptomatology, in which seniors reflect upon the way we live and think today.