Course Descriptions

The overall goal of the Social Studies Program at the Pascack Valley Regional High School District is to help prepare our students to become lifelong learners. Throughout the Social Studies program, students are exposed to higher-level thinking and learning skills, document based instruction, and differentiated instructional techniques to enhance the students’ sense of inquiry.

Students are required by New Jersey State Graduation Requirements to take one year of World History and two years of United States History in order to graduate from high school. Students take World History in ninth grade, U.S. History I in tenth grade, and U.S. History II in eleventh grade. In addition to the required program, students are encouraged to select courses from the electives offered by the department.
 

Honors/Advanced Placement Courses Grades 9, 10, 11,12

Placement by recommendation of teacher and supervisor

Any student enrolled in an Honors/AP class must maintain a B average throughout the year in order to continue in that class, unless given special permission by the Supervisor. Students must be recommended for continuation in the Honors/AP program by their teacher based upon the successful completion and high level of achievement in their current Honors/AP course. A student with exceptional performance evaluations in other social studies courses may be recommended for placement in honors courses as requested by the teacher and approved by the Supervisor and building Principal.

The objectives of the Honors/AP program in Social Studies focus on the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of historical data. Students are expected to maintain a high level of academic interest, demonstrate a sophisticated level of critical thinking, and be self-motivated learners and generators of scholarly material. Honors/AP students must additionally demonstrate their ability to be effective writers, in order to enhance communication and shared knowledge within the classroom. The chronological course content for the honors level courses is the same as the college prep courses.
 

College Prep World History Grade 9

The purpose of this course is to introduce the major historic events, concepts, and ideas in world history. The chronological emphasis will begin in the Middle Ages, and draw from those themes and concepts students learned about the ancient, classical, and medieval worlds. Additionally, European civilization will be analyzed and students will learn how it influenced the rest of the world.
 

College Prep U. S. History I Grade 10

Prerequisite: 9th Grade World History

This course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the development of the American nation through analysis of the following periods of major change in America’s history: The Foundation and Expansionary Periods, Nationalism and Sectionalism, Industrial Development and Economic Contraction.
 

College Prep U. S. History II Grade 11

Prerequisite: 10th Grade U. S. History I

College Prep U. S. History II provides students with an understanding of the knowledge and attitudes of the American people since the later part of the 19th century: Imperialism, Globalization, and American Expansionism are highlighting through the study of domestic and global social, political, and economic issues.
 

Advanced Placement U.S. History I & II Grades 10, 11

Prerequisite: 9th Grade World History & recommendation by teacher and supervisor.

Any student enrolled in an Advanced Placement class must maintain a B average throughout the year in order to continue in that class, unless given special permission by the Supervisor. An Advanced Placement course is one that may be accepted for college credit at a number of participating colleges and universities upon the student’s successful completion of the Advanced Placement examination. This could enable students to start their college work in Social Studies at a more advanced level or to broaden their college experience by pursuing courses in other areas that might not otherwise fit into their programs of study. This course is designed to prepare the highly able student to succeed on the Advanced Placement test, which they are expected to take in May of their junior year.

This course is designed to meet the needs of the student who has superior mastery of skills, self-motivation, exceptional reading and writing skills, and a strong desire to be challenged in the specific field of Social Studies. As an Advanced Placement course that is equivalent to an entry-level college class, this course has the highest level of expectations with regard to the quality of performance and independent student work ethic. The College Board Advanced Placement Program in American History dictates the curriculum for these courses.
 

Electives

Advanced Placement European History Grades 11, 12

Prerequisite: Recommendation by teacher and supervisor

An Advanced Placement course is one that may be accepted for college credit at a number of participating colleges and universities upon the student’s successful completion of the College Entrance Examination Board’s Advanced Placement Examination. This could enable students to start their college work in social studies at a more advanced level or to broaden their college experience by pursuing courses in other areas that might not otherwise fit into their programs of study. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Examination in May.

The goals of the Advanced Placement program in European History are: (1) to develop student understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European history; (2) to make students aware of Europe’s changing position in the world; (3) to give students the tools to analyze primary and secondary historical evidence. The topics that will be examined include political, diplomatic, intellectual, cultural, social, and economic history.

This course is designed to meet the needs of students who have superior ability, a mastery
of skills, self-motivation, and a strong desire to be challenged in the specific field of Social Studies. As an Advanced Placement course that is equivalent to an entry-level college history class, this course has the highest level of expectations with regard to quality of performance and independent student work ethic. The College Board Advanced Placement Program in European History dictates the curriculum for this course
 

Anthropology (half-year elective) Grades 10, 11, 12

This course will introduce the student to key concepts in anthropology. Physical anthropology focuses on topics including, human evolution, the development of race, and primatology. Cultural anthropology analyzes the basis for social, political, and economic organization.
 

Sociology (half-year elective) Grades 10, 11, 12

The purpose of this course is to give students an introduction to the field of sociology. Students will focus on the social structure, patterns of culture, social class, deviance, mass media, and social problems.
 

Economics (half-year elective) Grades 10, 11, 12

The purpose of this course is to understand the American economic system, where it began, how it contrasts and compares with command economies, and the problems that confront it. Topics such as inflation and depression, business organization, the banking system, the stock market, and labor unions will be highlighted. The roles of producer, consumer, and government in relation to the economy will also be examined.
 

Constitutional Law (half-year elective) Grades 10, 11, 12

This course is designed to inform the student about the American judicial system. Emphasis is placed on due process of law as expressed in the fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Students will explore and debate the reasoning of Supreme Court decisions and the ramifications of these decisions.
 

Religion in America (half-year elective) Grades 10, 11, 12

The major goals of this course are for students to learn the role that religion has played in the development of civilization and for them to understand how the religious experience of the American people has been affected by rapid economic, social, and political changes throughout history. Students will perceive the differences and similarities among the various religious beliefs in the United States and will determine how knowledge marks the beginning of understanding and tolerance.
 

History and Hollywood (half-year elective) Grades 11, 12

This elective will offer an opportunity for students to review concepts in American History through the media of film studies. The themes inherent in the U.S. I and U.S. II courses have been the subjects of many popular movies. Students will view these films in class and be asked to evaluate each in light of historical accuracy and the use of “poetic license” in the making of those movies.
 

One World, One Community: World Problems Today
(half-year elective) Grades 11, 12

Students in this course will gain insight into a myriad of current world problems by examining multiple perspectives presented in newspapers, magazines, mass media, and the Internet. Topics such as environmental policies, population trends, world hunger, and the international war on drugs will be explored as students engage critically with primary and secondary sources.
 

Psychology I (half-year elective) Grades 11, 12

Psychology is the study of human behavior. This course examines topics such as personality theories, development of self-esteem, altered states of awareness, dreams, emotions, and other concepts. By providing insights into human behavior, the course is designed to increase understanding of why people behave as they do.
 

Psychology II (half-year elective) Grades 11, 12

Prerequisite: Psychology I

This course provides additional knowledge of psychology through examination of such topics as the workings of the brain and nervous system, learning theories, and stress-related topics such as anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders.

 

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