High School, History

Global Studies I

The first year of a two-year program in global history focuses on the early civilizations of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas and the major developments in these areas until the 15th century. Students also focus on the importance of the culture and the geography of these areas. Students read textbooks, original sources, charts, graphs, maps, cartoons, and newspaper and magazine articles in order to study this material. They learn to take notes, to evaluate current articles, and to draw and interpret maps. They become aware of other cultures and learn to avoid ethnocentric behavior. Students learn the beginning steps in creating research papers.

Beginning in tenth grade, students choose from a menu of electives and AP courses. One is required each year.

Global Studies II

Beginning in the early modern period with the Italian Renaissance, students not only consider important cultural developments but also the emergence of the modern nation state. They study the impact of industrialization and global trade, the story of colonization and modern imperialism as well as various religious developments that created the modern world. They cover the following topics in the twentieth century: the story of mass democracy, feminism, the two World Wars and the Cold War, national independence movements, and decolonization. Students are encouraged to read periodical articles to keep abreast of current events in the parts of the world whose pasts they are studying, linking the evolution of the current events to their historical origins. A formal research paper is required. This is the second year of the two-year program in global history.

United States History

All 11th grade students who do not take AP U.S. History are required to take this course, which covers the political, economic, and social conditions in the United States from the beginning of our history to present day. The Constitution and the historical setting in which it was written are studied. Students grow to understand the great historical developments that led to the U.S. becoming a democratic superpower in the world today. They read textbooks, original sources, and current affairs articles to learn to draw conclusions and become informed citizens and voters.

United States Government

This is a one-term course designed to familiarize students with the workings of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government. The basic principles of our democracy – separation of powers, federalism, and checks and balances – are explored. The Constitution and its Amendments will also be examined in order to understand the principle of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. All 12th grade students must complete a course on the United States government. 


This course explores both microeconomics (laws of supply and demand and the resulting price structure) and macroeconomics (taxation, banking, measuring the economy, and the financial markets). Throughout the term, students examine the role played by the United States government in our free-enterprise system. Economics is required in the spring semester of the twelfth grade. 

The World: 1945-Present

The World is an elective course open to students in the 11th grade that covers 20th century history. The emphasis of this course will be on the post-World War II period including: Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Students who have a genuine desire to investigate the progress and failings of human beings and nations will have an opportunity to understand the forces that influenced the modern world.

Great Moments in 20th Century U.S. History

This course focuses on events in U.S. history which were critical in the formation of both political and social national policy. Target events include: the San Francisco fire in 1904, the opening of the Panama Canal 1914, the World War I pandemic, the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

United States Political History

This course offers students an in-depth look at how our country’s political system functions. It begins with a study of the history of the two-party system, continues with an exploration of   bipartisan foreign policy prior to the end of the Cold War and foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, and then takes a close look at the role of third parties (e.g., Populist, Progressive, Communist, Socialist, Independence) throughout U.S. history.

Historical Backgrounds to U.S. Current Affairs in the 21st Century

The key to understanding current affairs is an understanding of their historical backgrounds.  Such an understanding is developed in this course, which looks at the following issues: immigration, taxation, the role of religion in public education (in the controversy over the teaching of evolution), the role of religion in lawmaking (in the debate over abortion), trade (with reference to NAFTA, CAFTA, the EU), environmentalism (focus on oil consumption and global warming). This course is an interdisciplinary one, involving the History, Science, and Judaic Studies departments.


This course examines some of the critical decades of the twentieth century. As we move further into this new millennium, it is important that students understand historical antecedents to existing (and often, persisting) issues. The object of this course is to give each of the decades covered the kind of scrutiny that is not possible in a survey course. For example, coverage of the 1950’s will include not just consideration of the major events of that decade, but the immersion of students in the culture of the times: the birth of rock and roll; the poetry of the beat generation; the “gray flannel” values of executive suites; the “duck and cover” drills for schools. The hope is that students will not just learn history, but relive it.

Introduction to Law

This course is a hands-on introduction to law, emphasizing legal reasoning, advocacy, and decision-making. Students participate in mock trials, jury deliberations, contract negotiations, and appeals to gain a basic knowledge of legal vocabulary and fundamental principles of law, as well as insight into processes for dispute resolution.  Both civil and criminal law are examined using the case method. Students learn oral presentation skills through moot court arguments and written presentation skills through brief writing.