Social Studies

Philosophy
The social studies department familiarizes students with democratic institutions as well as competing
or conflicting ideologies.  Since modern citizens must be locally, nationally, and globally informed, students
learn to analyze complex, often controversial issues and to recognize their potential influence on – and responsibility
to – our global society. Our goal is to create an appreciation for diversity and a foundation for world peace.


Social Studies Department Faculty:

Mr. Thomas Morro, Department Chair
Dr. Jeffrey Bond
Mrs. Jacquelyn Burt
Mr. Brad Cameron
Mrs. Tricia Coesfeld
Mr. Christopher Hoffman
Mrs. Laurie Lynch
Mrs. Christine Rotondo
Mr. Michael Schleer
Mr. Brian St. John
Mrs. Sharon Zuckerman


SOC 8 Social Studies

8th Grade Social Studies is a survey course in world history and cultures covering the dawn of civilization in the Paleolithic Era and continuing through the development of civilizations throughout the world.  Roman Catholic history is incorporated through the study of Judaism, the ancient Hebrews and the beginning of Christianity during the ancient Roman times.  This class serves to prepare students for 9th grade World Cultures.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 8
Prerequisite: None


SOC 8 Honors Social Studies

The Pre-AP Social Studies course is designed to introduce students to the historical thinking skills (HTS) and analytical skills needed to successfully complete an AP level History or Social Science class.  Using content material from the AP History and Social Sciences courses, (Comparative Government, European History, Human Geography, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Psychology, U.S. Government & Politics, U.S History, and World History), students will engage in analytical reading, timed writing in response to specific prompts, and interpreting graphs, charts, maps, and political cartoons.  The following HTS will be stressed: chronological reasoning, comparison and contextualization, crafting historical arguments from historical evidence, and historical interpretation and synthesis.  The analytical skills developed include: using graphs, charts, and data to analyze, describe, and explain economic and behavioral concepts.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 8
Prerequisite: Enrollment based on placement testing.


SOC 101 World Cultures

This entry-level course is designed for ninth grade students. The major emphasis of the curriculum is on the civilizations of Europe, China, Africa, the Americas and Southwest Asia. Study begins with the hunting and gathering societies of pre-recorded history and ends with 17th Century Europe.  Students learn the salient characteristics of classical civilizations as they study major themes such as technological innovation, the evolution of social classes, the growth of bureaucracy, the structure and types of government, environmental transformation, and gender roles. Although emphasis is placed on the uniqueness of each culture, students also come to understand the cultural, economic and political links that run across different civilizations and connect them with other societies. The major religions and/or world-views of Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism are studied from the point of view of believers. Throughout the course, attention is paid to the cultural achievements of the past, especially art, architecture, music and literature.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 9
Prerequisite: None


SOC 102 Honors World Cultures

The Honor World Cultures course is designed for students who have demonstrated superior performance in eighth grade. This course covers the core curriculum content areas from prehistory to the Post 9/11 world in great depth and at an accelerated pace. Using primary and secondary sources, students will master critical reading and writing skills needed to excel in upper level history and social science classes. Students who wish to enroll must pass a departmental entrance examination.


Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 9
Prerequisite: Enrollment based on placement testing.


SOC 201 United States History I

This course, a requirement for all 10th grade students, studies the history of America from its founding to the Age of Imperialism. The course is divided into four specific periods: Colonization to the American Revolution; the Constitution; Jefferson to Lincoln; the Civil War to the Age of Imperialism.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10
Prerequisite: None


SOC 202 Honors United States History I 

A preparation for junior year Advanced Placement American History, Honors US I is open to all 10th grade students who demonstrate both the interest and ability to tackle an in-depth study of American History. The course spans the Colonial period to the Age of Imperialism, with an emphasis on the Revolutionary period, the Constitution, Jacksonian democracy, Nationalism, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the early growth of industrialization. Using primary and secondary sources, students must demonstrate their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in Honors World Cultures or AP World History or final grade of 93 in World Cultures


SOC 204  American Studies I for International Students

This course in American Studies offers our International Students a unique opportunity to examine change and continuity in American culture while simultaneously preparing them for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. Using a multidisciplinary approach that draws on both the English and Social Studies staff’s special interests and talents, the American Studies for International Students course is designed specially for English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as Foreign Language (EFL) students. The Voice of America (VOA) Special English interactive website as well as Edward Francis’ text, A Year in the Life of an ESL student, will provide these students with substantive and practical materials in American Literature, history, grammar, vocabulary, idiom, listening, and pronunciation. 

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: ESL or EFL students only
Prerequisite: None


SOC 205  American Studies II for International Students

This course is a continuation of American Studies I for International Students. Its focus is on 20th Century United States history. The Voice of America Learning English program, The Making of a Nation, American History in Special English series continues to be used for course organization.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: ESL or EFL students only
Prerequisite: American Studies I


SOC 301 United States History II

This course, a requirement for all 11th grade students, focuses on the Republic from the Reconstruction to modern history.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 11
Prerequisite: U.S. History I


SOC 302 Honors United States History II 

This course is open to 11th grade students who wish to pursue an in-depth study of American History. Topics include United States history from the Age of Imperialism to modern times, with an emphasis on the Progressive era, the World Wars and their consequences (including the Holocaust, the Cold War, the rise of consumerism), the modern Civil Rights and Women’s Movements, Vietnam, Watergate and its aftermath, and New Federalism. Using primary and secondary sources, students must demonstrate their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 11
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in Honors United States History I or 93 in United States History I.


SOC 304 Historic Archiving and Preservation  

Archivists are the professionals responsible for the identification, selection, protection, organization, and description of archival records, artifacts, and papers, and, eventually, for their accessibility to any user. By ensuring that archival documents are identified, preserved, and made available in a systematic fashion, archivists help to secure society’s cultural heritage, protect legal rights and privileges, and contribute to the effective management of a wide range of institutions.

At the completion of this course a student should be able to:

  • understand archival theories and applications including appraisal, acquisition and accessioning, arrangement and description, public reference services, legal and policy issues, and preservation
  • understand the importance of records in the information age and the role of records management as a tool and function of an archives program
  • understand new information technologies and the impact electronic records management and digital preservation are having on the profession
  • encourage students to begin thinking critically about strategies for managing the archival record in the 21st century


Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10. 11, 12
Prerequisite: None


SOC 307 Honors Introduction to Philosophy: The Quest for Truth
Only offered in September of even years

This course will first investigate the foundations of rational inquiry and discourse, and then introduce students to the study of the fundamental philosophical questions concerning nature, the soul, knowledge, perception, freedom and determinism, and the existence of God. 

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in any AP or Honors Social Studies course or 93 in Regular US History I and II, or US Government.


SOC 401 Global Issues in the 21st Century

This elective course in Global Studies tackles the issues and challenges facing our increasingly global world. 
Through topics such as modern day slavery, terrorism, world hunger, health and genocide, students will learn how truly interconnected we all are.  Through weekly debates, students will explore controversies as they unfold in the news and, through that exploration, will garner greater understanding of the roles played by governments and international organizations.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: None.


SOC 402 Sociology and Psychology

The course begins with a survey of sociology: the study of culture, social structure, social institutions; the role of class,
race, and gender in our society; the impact of inequality on people's lives; and finally, the impact of society on the individual. The psychology portion of the class covers learning, cognitive processes, and socialization: students will explore the connection between mind and body; various personality and psychological tests; and abnormal psychology and its relevant therapies. This course is designed to hone critical thinking and observation skills as well as to deepen the students’ understanding of the world and themselves.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: None.


SOC 403 United States Government

This course aims to create informed and active citizens by surveying the history of U.S. government, as well as the structure and function of the New Jersey State Government. Topics include the form and function of the United States and the New Jersey Constitutional governments; economic and foreign policy; the Federal Court System; fundamental freedoms; civil rights; political parties; and the electoral process.

Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: I
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: U.S. History I


SOC 404 Mass Media and Society

Given our media-driven society, students must learn how to analyze and evaluate all forms of communication and discuss the rights, responsibilities and interdependence of media in a diverse global society. The course surveys and assesses mass media in economic, historical, political, psychological, and sociological terms, with an emphasis on the power and significance of mass communications:  books, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, motion pictures, the Internet, public relations, and advertising.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 12
Prerequisite: None.


SOC 405 History of Great Trials

This course includes an in-depth historical survey of various legal systems and trial methods. Students will study noteworthy trials from Socrates to Saddam Hussein, as well as actual trial transcripts, Supreme Court opinions, forensic data, mock trials, and oral arguments.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 11, 12
Prerequisite: None.


SOC 407  Honors Political Philosophy: The Quest for Justice
Only offered in September of odd years

Through the careful reading and critical analysis of the greatest and most influential texts of the Western tradition, students in this course confront the perennial problems raised by the study of moral and political philosophy.  In the first semester, students investigate the classical foundations of moral and political philosophy through a close analysis of Plato’s dialogues and writings of Aristotle.  Students then consider the ways in which St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas—in keeping with the Catholic claim that faith perfects reason—sought to complete the teachings of Plato and Aristotle.  In the second semester students examine and evaluate the revolutionary challenge that Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Madison posed to St. Augustine’s and St. Thomas’ grand synthesis of faith and reason.  Finally, students analyze the Catholic response to the modern challenge as set forth in the papal encyclicals of Leo XIII.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10,11, 12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in any Honors History and Honors English class or final grade of 93 in any
Regular History and English class.


SOC 408  International Conflicts, Crimes and Crises

This course will investigate current international conflicts, crimes, crises and their impacts on the international community. For example, natural disasters can exacerbate conflict in a war-torn region, and criminal activities such as human trafficking arise and are perpetuated by unstable conditions in devastated areas.  Since we live in a global world that is increasingly interdependent, citizens of the world must develop an understanding of global matters and how they impact all of us.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: None.


SOC 500 Advanced Placement World History

AP World History is structured around the investigation of five course themes in six different chronological periods.  
Rather than simply collect and memorize facts, students must master key concepts for each historical period through
the investigation of five overarching themes: (1) interaction between humans and the environment; (2) development
and interaction of cultures; (3) state-building, expansion, and conflict; (4) creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems; and (5) development and transformation of social structures.  By focusing on these themes, students will develop historical thinking skills necessary to analyze change and continuity over time, identify global processes, compare and contrast societies, and explore the broad trends of world history. Students enrolled in the course are required to sit for the College Board Advanced Placement examination in World History. A satisfactory score on this examination can lead to college credit for the course.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 9, 10. 11, 12
Prerequisite: Enrollment based on placement testing for grade 9. For grades 10-12 a final grade of 85 in Honors World Cultures, Honors U.S. History I or II or a final grade of 95 in Regular World Cultures, U.S. History I or II.


SOC 501 Advanced Placement European History

AP Euro is a comprehensive course tracing the development of European civilizations from the High Renaissance
to the present. Major areas of concentration include the political, social, economic, and diplomatic development of the
European nations. The intellectual and cultural history of Europe is also addressed along with a study of European literature, arts, and music. Students enrolled in the course are required to sit for the College Board Advanced Placement examination in European History at the end of the school year. A satisfactory score on this examination can lead to college creditfor the course.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Incoming 10th graders: an 85% in AP World; or an 85% in Honors World Cultures; Incoming 11th graders: a 95% in US History I; or an 85% in Honors US I; Incoming 12th graders; a 95% in US II; or an 85% in Honors II; or an 85% in AP US History


SOC 502 Advanced Placement U.S. History

AP US provides an accelerated and detailed study of the American Republic from the 1600's to the 1990's.  The course focuses on research, critical reading and writing, and analysis of primary historical sources.  Students enrolled in the course are required to sit for the College Board Advanced Placement examination in American History at the end of the school year. A satisfactory score on this examination can lead to college credit for the course.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 11
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in Honors US History I or 95 in US History I. 


SOC 503 Advanced Placement U.S. Government

The AP course in U.S. Government and Politics expands students’ understanding of America’s government and current domestic and foreign policy agendas. AP Government also looks at hot topics such as free speech, assembly, religion, and the death penalty as well as current elections. The course requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute US politics. Topics include the Constitutional underpinnings of the United States’ political beliefs and behaviors; political parties; interest groups; mass media; institutions of national government; public policy; and civil rights and civil liberties. Prerequisites for admission include 1) a brief persuasive essay that includes the student’s motivations for selecting this course; and 2) a contract, signed by both the student and parent, acknowledging that summer course work and a community service project are mandatory for passing the course. The student must take the AP U.S. Government examination in May. A satisfactory score on this examination can lead to college credit for the course.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 11,12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in AP US History or Honors US History I or 95 in US History II. 


SOC 503-A Advanced Placement Comparative Government and Politics

AP Comparative Government and Politics introduces students to the rich diversity of political life outside the United States. The course uses a comparative approach to examine the political structures, policies, and the political, economic, and social challenges among six selected countries: Great Britain, Mexico, Russia, Iran, China, and Nigeria. Additionally, students examine how different governments solve similar problems by comparing the effectiveness of approaches to many global issues. Students must take the AP Comparative Government examination in May. A satisfactory score on this examination may lead to college credit for the course.

Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in any AP or Honors Social Studies course or 95 in Regular US History I and II, or US Government.


SOC 506 Advanced Placement Psychology

The AP course in psychology introduces the systematic and scientific study of human and animal behavior and mental processes. Topics include the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of psychology’s major subfields and the ethics and methods used by psychologists in science and practice. Students enrolled in the course are required to sit for the College Board Advanced Placement examination in Psychology in May. A satisfactory score on this examination may lead to college credit for the course.


Credit: 5
Open to Grades: 12
Prerequisite: Final grade of 85 in Honors US History II or AP U.S. or final grade of 95 in US History II or Sociology & Psychology. 


SOC 507 Advanced Placement Human Geography

AP Human Geography introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and means that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of the earth’s surface.  Students will employ spatial concepts and use maps to define regions and interpret the connectedness of places.  This course emphasizes cooperative learning by employing geographers’ methods and tools. Students enrolled in the course are required to sit for the College Board Advanced Placement examination in Human Geography at the end of the school year. A satisfactory score on this examination may lead to college credit for the course.

Credit: 5
Quality Point Group: III
Open to Grades: 10,11,12
Prerequisite: Incoming 10th graders: an 85 in AP World; or an 85 in Honors World Cultures; Incoming 11th graders: a 95 in US History I; or an 85 in Honors US I; Incoming 12th graders; a 95 in US II; or an 85 in Honors II; or an 85 in AP US History.

 

 

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