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Social Studies

Social Studies



In the social studies department, students will develop an understanding and appreciation of the contributions that diverse civilizations and cultures have made throughout history and the impact they have had on the development of democratic ideals.  Students will study contemporary geographic, social, political, and economic issues that shaped the world our students live in today.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of classes each year.  The emphasis in the Social Studies Department is to enhance our students' classroom experiences with a wide variety of educational opportunities including, but not limited to, debate and historical inquiry, community involvement, group and individual projects that embrace technology, and various student interactive activities.  Students will have opportunities to foster their creativity and challenge their critical thinking skills using current events, multimedia sources, and other research tools.


The study of history is a window into the past that provides understanding of the present-day, and how individuals, nations, and the global community might develop in the future. History informs of us how societies came to be by examining social, political, economic and cultural influence across space and time.  Lastly, history allows the individual to see ourselves as actors in the human story and active citizens of our society.   


Geography (9th Grade)     Instructor:  J. Ravelo

Geography provides an understanding of the world, its people, and the human footprint on the Earth, physical geographers examine the use of resources such as water, the patterns and processes of climate and weather, and ways in which humanity has modified the natural environment. This course provides an overview of the various regions in the world and examines their specific geographic features  through  geographic inquiry which includes the study of the human presence on the earth, the nature of the environment, and both the impact of humans on the environment and the impact of the environment on humans. Students must be able to read maps, indicate the distribution of the earth’s population, and trace the diffusion of people and cultural influences at regional and global levels. Important regions include North America, Middle and South America, Europe, Russia and Central Asia, East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Oceania.This course also emphasizes global issues including the current major social, political, economic, and environmental phenomenon occurring on a regional or global level. Overall, this course compares characteristics of a diverse world and the role of geographic factors.

World History (10th Grade)    Instructor:  A. Mims

Students in grade ten study major turning points that shaped the modern world, from the late eighteenth century through the present, including the cause and course of the two world wars. They trace the rise of democratic ideas and develop an understanding of the historical roots of current world issues, especially as they pertain to international relations. They extrapolate from the American experience that democratic ideals are often achieved at a high price, remain vulnerable, and are not practiced everywhere in the world. Students develop an understanding of current world issues and relate them to their historical, geographic, political, economic, and cultural contexts. Students consider multiple accounts of events in order to understand international relations from a variety of perspectives.  It is especially important at this grade level that students be presented with differing perspectives on these issues and events in order to develop the critical thinking skills of an informed citizen of the contemporary world.

AP World History (10th Grade)    Instructor:  A. Mims

Advanced Placement World History surveys the world as a whole throughout all of time.  A coherent story of the world must be addressed from the beginnings of the earth’s existence through present day; with not only a chronological approach, but also a thematic approach.  This course will analyze the existence of the planet’s many distinct peoples and how they interact with each other across time.  It begins with the first peoples that existed before the Common Era (B.C.E.) and ends with a look at the interactions of the many diverse cultures of the present day.

The College Board determines the course content outline.  Class will be a combination of lecture, group work (presentations, etc.), coverage of discussion questions, and answering student questions.  There will also be individual assignments (i.e. Chapter Cornell Notes, Chapter Key Terms, Short-Answer Questions, etc.) that will be turned in with every chapter covered.  Periodically, student essays, reports, and presentations will be required.  The course is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the history of the world, and to provide students with analytical skills and factual knowledge to deal critically with the events that have taken place in the world across both cultures and time.  The course will mostly follow a chronological path; however, some topics or issues, such as global commerce and its consequences, and cultural patterns and the alterations of cultures, will bridge and overlap chronological time periods.  In addition to historical content, students should learn to assess historical materials – their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance – and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship.

Sociology (10th Grade SJA Elective)   Instructor:  G. Paez

This semester course aims to provide students with comprehensive knowledge and relevant skills in the field of sociology in preparation for more advanced educational exploration into the subject and application to real life experiences.  By investigating classical and contemporary sociological theorists, students can apply distinct perspectives of sociology to evaluate social groups, institutions, and problems.  The process of socialization occurs for individuals in different ways and through various life stages, and the agents contributing to socialization are essential to this study.  In every society, individuals are stratified by social class; recognizing the classification and impact of social class is a complex and rich subject explored as a way to understand why individuals are treated differently based on their background.  As students examine how American society operates and how its people behave, they explore topics including: family, minority groups, crime, prison, and poverty.

U.S History (11th Grade)     Instructor: J. Ravelo

In this course students examine major turning points in American history from the late nineteenth century to the present. During the year the following themes are emphasized: the expanding role of the federal government and federal courts; the continuing tension between the individual and the state and between minority rights and majority power; the emergence of a modern corporate economy and the role of organized labor; the role of the federal government and Federal Reserve System in regulating the economy; the impact of technology on American society and culture; the change in the ethnic composition of American society; the movements toward equal rights for minorities and women; and the rise of the United States as a major world power. Students learn how geography shaped the course of American history during this period, especially in terms of the country’s position on the globe, its climate, and abundant natural resources. In each unit students examine American culture, including religion, literature, art, music, drama, architecture, education, and the mass media. 

AP U.S History (11th Grade)   Instructor:  J. Ravelo

This rigorous course is designed and taught at a level parallel to 4-year undergraduate colleges and universities, employing a textbook endorsed by the College Board.  It incorporates analytical thought, research, complex concepts in history, political science, geography, cultural sciences and economics, as well as, major interpretive processes and foundational knowledge.  Although informative knowledge is essential, equally important is the student's ability to employ critical thinking and decision-making.  The course will trace major themes throughout the year emphasizing the ways in which United States history is interconnected, complex, and dynamic.  These themes include: American Diversity, American Identity, Culture, Demographic Changes, Economic Transformations, Environment, Globalization,Politics and Citizenship, Reform, Religion, Slavery and Its Legacies in North America, and War and Diplomacy. Introduced during the first two components of the social studies course sequence and identified by the College Board as essential to the comprehensive study of United States history, focus on these themes enables students in this course to gain a richer perspective of the socio-cultural fabric of the nation.  Moreover, the themes are designed to encourage students to think conceptually about the past and to focus on historical changes over time. 

Women's History (11th Grade)    Instructor:  J. Ravelo

This course focuses on the history of women in the United States. Historical inquiry over the past four decades has increasingly expanded its focus to include individuals and groups that had previously been omitted or marginalized in the narrative of our historical past. This course examines key aspects of women’s experiences from the founding of the thirteen American colonies through the beginning of the twenty-first century. 

Economics (12th Grade)    Instructor:  G. Aquino

This semester course aims to provide students with theoretical underpinnings and functional knowledge in economics to become informed consumers, producers, and citizens in today's world.  Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, and governments make decisions about the use of scarce resources in a world of unlimited wants and needs.  This is done at both the microeconomic and macroeconomic level, both of which will be examined in detail.  At the microeconomic level, students will investigate the smaller units of the economy and individual firms and markets. In macroeconomics, students will study the global economy and economics of nations and governments as they try to foster growth and stability.  The course is useful in helping students to acquire many life skills, and also in establishing a foundation for more advanced study of economics.  

AP Macro Economics (12th Grade)      Instructor:  G. Aquino

This rigorous course is designed and taught at a level parallel to 4-year undergraduate colleges and universities, employing a textbook endorsed by the College Board.  It incorporates interpretive skills, analytical thought, and complex concepts in the study of economics.  Economic literacy in microeconomics and macroeconomics is the foundation for this course, as students understand and evaluate the market economy.  However, the course orientation, while applicable to a multidisciplinary study, focuses on citizenship and social studies education.  Within a market economy, students learn advanced analysis in supply and demand to examine various roles between consumers, producers, and governments.  The national and global economy become the context for macroeconomics, as students apply individual and aggregate tools to measure economic welfare and evaluate the decisions made by economic leaders and institutions. 

Principles of Democracy(12th Grade)      Instructor:  G. Aquino

In this course students apply knowledge gained in previous years of study to pursue a deeper understanding of the institutions of American government. In addition, they draw on their studies of American history and of other societies to compare different systems of government in the world today. This course is the culmination of the civic literacy strand that prepares students to vote, to reflect on the responsibilities of citizenship, and to participate in community activities. 

AP U.S Government  (12th Grade)     Instructor:  G. Aquino

This rigorous course is designed and taught at a level parallel to 4-year undergraduate colleges and universities, employing a textbook endorsed by the College Board.  It incorporates interpretive skills, analytical thought, and complex concepts in the study of U.S. government and politics.  A theoretical analysis of key concepts from early U.S. history is salient to appreciate and apply core philosophical and ideological traditions to later studies.  Building extensive knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and its interpretations enables students to evaluate notions of shared government and citizenship as key democratic foundations.  Investigation of political processes and behaviors are juxtaposed in a contemporary and historical context and demonstrates the complex nature, operations, and interconnectedness of individuals, groups, and institutions contributing to government decision-making.  

AP Psychology (11-12)   Instructor:  G. Aquino

The AP Psychology course introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology.Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, analyze bias, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas. 

Philosophy (11-12)        Instructor:  B. Cramp

This semester course provides students with the knowledge and tools to contemplate, discuss, and evaluate explanations developed by philosophers to understand the nature and course of human life.  Students will explore the ideas of philosophers and thinkers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Marx, and Sartre.  Built centrally on Western ideals and figures students undergo an intense study of metaphysics and epistemology.  Philosophical foundations of politics are demonstrated as students determine the relationship between government and its citizens, focusing on the qualifications of a just society.  Since the basis of ethical decision making is often a reoccurring theme throughout the study of human behavior, students study multiple perspectives on how people can differentiate ethical from unethical actions, while applying learning to contemporary ethical dilemmas.  Although the course is heavily rooted in Western philosophy, a comparison of parallel themes in Eastern philosophy is explored to learn how the cyclical nature of existence and thought guides practices of individuals.  Through in-depth reading, writing, analysis and discussion, students gain an understanding of philosophical questions and ideas, and in the process, learn to develop, organize and articulate their own ideas.

Government Lab (11-12)    Instructor: A. Mims

In this course, students will gain a practical understanding of the law and the legal system that have been developed under the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Students will become aware of current issues and controversies relating to law and the legal system, and be encouraged to participate as citizens in the legal system.  Students will be given opportunities to consider their attitudes toward the roles that lawyers, law enforcement officers, and others in the legal system play in our society.  In addition, students will be exposed to the many vocational opportunities that exist within the legal system.


AEE Social Studies Department

Historical Thinking Skill outline

Historical Thinking Skill

10th Grade


11th Grade

U.S History

12th Grade


Evidence of Mastery

Citing Evidence


Primary and Secondary Sources

Sourcing and analysis of primary and secondary source documents

Sourcing and analysis of primary and secondary source documents.


Evaluating sources for bias and point of view

Sourcing, analyzing and evaluating primary and secondary sources.


Applying to larger historical and real world situations

-Highlighted and annotated documents.

-Document Analysis (H.I.P.P, SOAPStones, S.P.I.C.E)

Comparing Point of View


Look at two or more documents of similar content with different point of view and identify the similarities.

Look at two or more documents of similar content with different point of view and identify the differences.

Look at two or more documents of similar content with different point of view and identify both similarities and differences.

-Venn Diagrams

-Comparison Charts


Develop claim and counterclaims and support with evidence

Develop a clear thesis and identify supporting evidence

Develop a clear thesis, counter claim and identify supporting evidence

Develop a clear thesis, counter claim and identify supporting evidence


Evaluate and synthesize claim and counter claim.

-Thesis Statement

-Claim Charts

Write a historical narrative

Write a traditional historical narrative (chronological), which incorporates historical interpretation, chronological and spatial thinking.

Write a modern historical narrative (thematic; analyzes structure, historical change and genre), which incorporates historical interpretation,  identifies bias or prejudice and chronological and spatial thinking.


Combine both modern and traditional historical writing styles that interpret, identify bias and apply historical events to real world situation (synthesis).


Traditional (chronological)



(structure and genre)

Gathering relevant information

Students are able to identify reliable and accurate primary and secondary sources that relate to a topic.

Students are able to identify reliable and accurate primary and secondary sources that relate to a topic and are of various points of view.

Students are able to identify  and distinguish between both reliable and accurate primary and secondary sources and ones that are not.

-Research Paper

- Primary and Secondary sources bibliography

Copyright 2015

GARY AQUINO   Social Studies
ANDREA MIMS   Social Studies
JESSICA RAVELO   Social Studies