History

The goal of the History Department is to ensure that each student is exposed to events of the past and challenged to consider why events or developments occurred. Through engaged discussions, students develop a greater understanding of the results of these events or ideas. Students explore the development of ideas or concepts over time, gaining a deeper knowledge of the past and its many meanings. A variety of ideas and interpretations are exposed to students to help them develop critical thinking skills, which are essential in today’s ever-changing society.

History Courses

History 7 • Middle School

7th Grade

This is a broad course that dives deep into the history of our country from pre-colonial times to World War II. This course is focused on the acquisition of basic organizational and study skills as well as writing and research skills. Students also engage in presentations and larger projects to further their learning. A clear focus on conflicts, both international and domestic, on unity and the organization of working systems of rule, and on societal and cultural development is provided. The course uses several mediums to explore the fascinating history of our country including textbooks, personal stories, pictures, movies, art, and even music. In the tradition of the great political and philosophical salons, the classroom environment is one of social interaction, questioning, debates, and discussions.

History 8 • Middle School

8th Grade

The eighth grade course provides students with a firm understanding of our contemporary world. Students begin the year by learning how geography, history, culture, and politics can affect people in different ways. Then they use this knowledge to explore the economic powerhouses of today: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, and India. Along with the study of global communities, students also gain an appreciation for the current events that shape our world today through various projects and presentations. Students are also guided through researching and writing a major historical research paper. Throughout the year students hone their skills in the following areas: public speaking, organization, writing, reading, analytical and critical thinking, and map analysis.  

The Creation of the Modern World

9th Grade

The course is designed to be an introduction to World Civilization from approximately 400 B.C. to the Era of Revolution at the end of the 18th century. Students trace the gradual development of a World Interacting Zone, which included China, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. The course's central themes revolve around the uniqueness of cultural importance of contact with strangers. As part of the development of their intellectual skills, students are introduced to historical research methods using a variety of mediums, essay writing, and careful reading of textual materials. There is an honors section of this course.

The Modern World

10th grade

The course is designed to explore global interactions beginning with the Age of Exploration and continuing through the present. Students are challenged to consider why regions of the globe interacted and what happened as a result of these interactions. The course also examines how intellectual and technical developments had an impact on global interactions. The spring term is devoted to examining the post World War II era and examining global interactions of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. Students continue to develop their historic skills by completing research assignments, presenting ideas in class, writing essays, and careful reading of the textbook and primary sources. There is an honors section for students who may wish to take AP US History in their junior year.

United States History

11th Grade

This course is required for graduation. American history is examined from the early days of European exploration and colonization to the present. The course develops many basic skills, including close-reading text, studying significant primary and secondary sources, taking lecture notes, writing historical essays, and analyzing sociological and geographical data. Students also write a number of research papers.

AP American History

11th grade

This course is designed for students with a strong interest in, and aptitude for, history. Equivalent to an introductory college-level course, it examines the major interpretations of noted historians and analyzes a variety of political, economic, and social themes as they relate to the American experience. In addition to providing factual material, students learn to read analytically and critically in order to weigh historical evidence soundly. This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement American History examination in the spring. 

AP European History

12th grade & postgraduate

This course is an in-depth analysis of the historical forces which led to the development of Europe as it is today. Heavy emphasis is placed on the reading of primary source materials, relevant literature, and interpretive historical essays. Careful attention is paid to writing skills and analytical tools in preparation for the Advanced Placement examination in the spring.

AP Macroeconomics

11th, 12th, & postgraduate

AP Macroeconomics is an introductory college-level course that focuses on the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole. The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination; it also develops students' familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. Students learn to use graphs, charts, and data to analyze, describe, and explain economic concepts. Open to students in grades 11 and 12 with a recommendation from their history teacher.

AP Microeconomics

11th, 12th, & postgraduate

AP Microeconomics is an introductory college-level course that focuses on the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual economic decision-makers. The course also develops students’ familiarity with the operation of product and factor markets, distributions of income, market failure, and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. Students learn to use graphs, charts, and data to analyze, describe, and explain economic concepts. Open to students in grades 11 and 12 with a recommendation from their history teacher.

The American Experience/History

11th, 12th, & postgraduate

Running in conjunction with The American Experience/Literature, this course is a two period interdisciplinary course under the auspices of both the English and History departments. Events in American History from 1945 to the present are complemented by literary texts. Students are challenged to synthesize material from both sections, raising their awareness of what we may term "the American Experience". This is a double credit course offered to seniors and some juniors.

U.S. Government and Politics

11th, 12th, & postgraduate

U.S. Government and Politics is a full year course that involves an intensive study of the formal and informal structures of government and the processes of the American political system. The major emphasis is on policy-making and implementation.

Current Issues in International Relations

Elective

Based on the award-winning Choices Program developed by the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University, this course is designed to introduce students to current problems in international relations using an approach that emphasizes student interaction with the materials of the course and with each other. Each unit contains simulations and activities that push students to consider multiple perspectives, work with primary sources, weigh conflicting priorities, test the reliability of evidence, and formulate rational conclusions. In addition to print materials, students will have access to the Choices website which includes real time current events coverage that relates directly to the curriculum and access to the "Scholars Online" resource. Beyond thinking skills and a broader content base, the format of this course encourages the participatory habits necessary for active global citizenship in the 21st century.

Economics in Our Times

Elective

Economics in Our Times is a full-year introduction to economic theory and practice, focusing on "real world" applications. In addition to micro and macro economic theory, students are exposed to case studies involving free enterprise and the role revenues, costs, and competition play in the everyday life of American business. The role of government is also explored in relation to taxation, inflation, deficits, and debt. Students have the opportunity to explore the stock market and chart the progress of their investments. The goal of this course is to develop the students' skills and enable them to continue the study of economics in college.
 

Model UN: Independent Study

Elective

This is an independent study course in which students gain an understanding of the history and importance of the United Nations in international politics. Students read newspapers, scholarly journals, and work on the Internet to gain a strong awareness of world issues that involve the United Nations. Students are expected to attend the Model UN Conference in mid-winter, meet weekly as a group to discuss issues, and write weekly position papers on international issues.

Public Speaking

Elective

Through this term course, students develop self-confidence and poise in speaking before an audience by learning and practicing a variety of techniques that enhance the effectiveness of oral communication. The course includes several types of speeches and reinforces research, bibliography, and organizational skills. Students progress from making short, impromptu-type speeches into a longer, final speech lasting 10-15 minutes.

Race in Sports

Elective

Sports provide a window through which we can examine broader socio-economic issues.  By using examples of race and racism in sports, we can provide a broader context to examine racial issues in the United States. Recent events have demonstrated that while great progress has been made in race relations, more needs to be done. As a result of the course, students are able to analyze and synthesize complex racial issues in sports and, as an extension, American society. Fundamental questions addressed in the course: What is the significance of the athlete/sport in modern society?  How has the history of race and sports influenced the relative power of the modern sports athlete?  How can modern society solve problems of racism in the United States? What role do athletes play in this process? What role, if any, should athletes play in this process? 
 

Race in Sports 2

Elective

Athletes during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were actively involved in Civil Rights issues, yet until very recent times, modern athletes of the post Civil Rights generation were not as involved in social issues. Recent events have challenged this notion as many current sports figures are speaking out about racial and economic injustices in America. The theme of this course is to examine the contemporary athlete and examine the role the athlete plays in current race relations. Fundamental questions addressed in the course: Why did so many athletes wait so long to speak out? Why does the athlete choose to become involved? Why would an athlete choose not to be involved?  Recent events have spotlighted these questions and brought these issues to public light.

Constitutional Law

Elective

The Constitutional Law course gives students a solid understanding of the United States Constitution. By examining several landmark Supreme Court cases, students gain insight into how the country has changed under the Constitution since its ratification in March, 1789. The class begins by understanding the structure of the Constitution, including how Chief Justice John Marshall gave the judicial branch enormous co-equal status with the other two branches through Marbury v. Madison. The class examines many other monumental cases, leading up to Citizens United, which has had a tremendous impact on our country today.

World Geography

Elective

What was the issue of water-related events at the Olympics in Brazil?  How many acres are being lost in the Brazilian rainforest every day? Why was it a “big deal” that Cecil the lion was hunted and killed in the summer of 2015?  What is the environmental link to the Syrian refugee crisis? Why did Russia invade the Ukraine? The answers to all of these questions relate in some way to human societies and their interaction with the environment. This course begins by looking at what the study of world geography is, and then focuses on specific issues relating to geography in South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. By highlighting a small number of issues, students gain a good perspective of the issues, while developing their research and communication skills.

It's important to stay innovative — I teach my students the importance of developing new questions. I encourage the boys to consider the impact of historical events and how those events have affected our world today. They learn to make those connections by comparing events in history to what is happening now.

Kevin Richards,
History Teacher


Meet the History Department

Samuel Clougher

Director of Equity & Inclusion, Economics Teacher

Dave Coratti

Associate Headmaster, Director of Studies

Rob Davenport

English Teacher, History Teacher

Frank Fritts

History Teacher

Scott Harff

Assistant Director of College Counseling, Economics Teacher

Todd E. Hoffman

Dean of Faculty, History Teacher

Jim McDougal

History Department Chair

Slade Mead

Director of College Counseling, History Teacher

Taylor Pirie

Mathematics and Economics Teacher

Kevin Richards

History Teacher

William W. Taylor

Headmaster, History Teacher