The Social Studies curriculum prepares students for effective citizenship, while instilling an understanding of the organization and the institutions of society, and of human behavior in these institutions. The content of each discipline examines the operation and outcome of social, economic, governmental and political systems. The student of social studies develops an awareness of his/her own cultural values, and examines the values of other cultures and develops a sense of continuity with the past. Acceptance into Advanced Placement classes is based on prior high school performance and teacher recommendation.

Students are required to complete 3.5 years of social studies for graduation. The following courses are required for graduation: Western Civilization, Jewish History, United States History and Modern Jewish History. In addition, electives are offered to seniors. Some courses require Department Chair approval.

Western Civilization: 1 Credit

Western Civilization is required of all freshmen. This course traces the political, social, economic and intellectual patterns and institutions that have molded the modern Western world. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills, understanding primary source materials, and writing. Geography is incorporated into the course and current events are discussed. While the focus is on Europe, the course includes a unit on Africa and Asia. Specific units include the Rise of Civilization, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, Industrialization, World War I and the Russian Revolution, and World War II and its aftermath. Units include written projects and activities such as newspapers, debates and creating political cartoons.

Homework requirement: 1.5-2 hours per week

Jewish History: 1 Credit

In Jewish History, the primary objective is to build upon those skills learned freshman year with heavy emphasis placed on critical thinking skills, research methods, and the analysis of primary sources and documents. In this course, students analyze events in Jewish history from the year 586 BCE until 1492 CE. This course focuses on the political, social, economic and religious history of the Jewish people. The primary texts used are Understanding Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism by Lawrence Schiffman and the Jewish World in the Middle Ages by Jon Bloomberg. Jewish History is a survey course offered sophomore year.

Homework requirement: 1.5 -2 hours per week

U.S. History: 1 Credit

U.S. History follows a chronological approach to the curriculum and covers the Colonial period to the present. Students learn about the political, economic, and social history of the United States. Classroom activities include lecture, discussion, and debate in order to demonstrate the societal importance of historical study. This course emphasizes cultural development and diversity, using articles, maps, charts and primary sources. Successful completion of this course satisfies the Constitution Test requirement (Illinois Public Law 195). This survey course is offered junior year.

Homework requirement: 1.5 hours per week

Advanced Placement U.S. History: 1

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation
Advanced Placement U.S. History is intended to introduce academically talented juniors with a strong interest in history to an undergraduate college-level history class. While utilizing a textbook, students will also rely heavily on the analysis of primary sources in order to encourage critical thinking and the examination of conflicting political, economic, and social interpretations of U.S. History. Classroom activities include lecture, discussion, and debate in order to empower students to engage U.S. History at an in-depth, analytical level. Students focus on a college-oriented method of historical writing to express their analysis and discoveries. This class is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Examination. Successful completion of this course satisfies the Constitution Test requirement (Illinois Public Law 195).

Homework requirement: 3-4 hours per week

Advanced Placement Modern European History: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: Department Chair approval is necessary
Advanced Placement Modern European History is open to academically talented seniors with a strong interest in history. It involves an in-depth study of European history from 1400 through the fall of the Soviet Union. The course focuses on political, economic, social and cultural ideas, with emphasis on the changes and the patterns for each period. Critical thinking and analysis are necessary for document interpretation. In addition, art history is incorporated as it applies to the different historical periods covered. Students are required to do a significant amount of reading and writing for this course as well as several projects. Daily class participation is expected. Students are prepared for and encouraged to take the Advanced Placement Examination in Modern European History for college credit.

Homework requirement: 4-6 hours per week

Modern Jewish History .5 Credits

Modern Jewish History involves the study of European Jewry from the Pre-Emancipation era through the creation of the State of Israel. The curriculum serves as a continuation of the Jewish History course completed during sophomore year, while complementing the United States History course completed during junior year. The required texts are: A History of the Jews by Solomon Grayzel, and The Jew in the Modern Worldly Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz. Student access to the Internet is required, as this class is web-enhanced through a Modern Jewish history website. This semester long course is required for graduation.

Homework requirement: 4-6 hours per week

Modern Jewish History Second Semester .5 Credits

The second Semester of MJH will focus on two major components of Modern Jewish History: the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict and the American Jewish experience. The major units will include: The War of Independence; The Suez campaign; The Six day War; Operation Solomon; American Jewish Life: The Lower East Side, the Yiddish Theater, American Jewish Banking, Jewish Organized Crime, American Jewish publishing; the rise of the Entertainment industry and the Jews. Yeshiva University to Brandeis University. The impact of the Jewish people have been felt in this country since colonial days. The method of the class will be lecture/discuss including relevant films. A research paper is required along with other creative written assignments and assessments.

Homework requirement: 4-6 hours per week

Holocaust and Israel Through Film/Jewish Civics .5 Credits

Holocaust and Israel Through Film/Jewish Civics is separated into two sections that meet during the 3rd and 4th quarter of the school year. The first section, Holocaust and the State of Israel Through Film, provides viewing and discussion of specific films in class. Numerous primary sources are provided for a deeper understanding and analysis of the films. The second section, Jewish Civics, provides students with a deeper appreciation of the dynamics that make up a Jewish community. Representatives from various international, national and local Jewish organizations discuss the mission of each organization as well as how students can become involved in the community.

Homework requirement: 1.5 hours per week

Psychology 1: 1 Credit

Psychology 1 provides students with a basic overview of the major areas in the field of psychology, how to apply this knowledge to their own lives, and how to recognize psychological principles when they are encountered in everyday situations. The first semester of this course includes units on a variety of topics including psychological perspectives, research methodology, biological basis of behavior, sensation and perception, motivation and emotion, learning, and memory and thinking. Second semester units of study include human development, stress, coping and health, and psychological disorders and treatments. The topics in this class are covered through assigned readings, lectures, discussions, demonstrations and group activities. This elective course is offered to 12th grade students.

Homework requirement: 1.5 hours per week

Business Law: 1 Credit

Problem solving and critical thinking skills are an integral part of Business Law.
The course focuses on the law and related issues arising in a business environment. While the rights and duties arising from contractual situations are emphasized, the course also includes the areas of ethics, civil and criminal wrongs, employment law, corporations, property and commercial transactions. Actual cases are briefed and discussed in class. In addition, guest speakers from the legal profession are invited throughout the course to speak to students and create a business plan. Business Law is open to 12th grade students and would be of interest to students planning a career in business or law.

Advanced Placement Psychology: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: This is a college-level course open to academically talented and highly motivated seniors with an interest in psychology Advanced Placement Psychology is designed to introduce students to psychology, which includes the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. The course emphasizes the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. Students also learn about the methods psychologists use in their science and practice. Topics of study include history and approaches to psychology; research methodology; biological bases of behavior; sensation and perception; states of consciousness; learning; memory; thinking and language; motivation and emotion; developmental psychology; testing and individual differences; personality; psychological disorders; treatment of psychological disorders; stress, coping and health; and social psychology. Advanced Placement Psychology is a challenging, full-year, college-level course offered to 12th grade students.

Homework requirement: 2-3 hours per week

Economics: 1 Credit

This course is an elective open to seniors, and it provides students with a comprehensive overview of economic theory and practice. Students will learn the foundations of macroeconomics, including a survey of competing economic systems, the functions of money, the cycles of the national economy, and the trends of globalization. The course will also present students with the fundamentals of microeconomics, from understanding wages to discussing small businesses and government regulations. Projects, student presentations, papers, and lectures will ensure that students grasp important concepts that they can use as independent adults, investors, or entrepreneurs. Analyzing real world phenomenon, including an examination of the iPod and the NFL draft, will capture students’ attention as this course enables students to better understand and interact with the economic world.

Homework requirement: 1-2 hours per week

Israel Advocacy: .5 Credit

The course is designed to help students to feel confident in their relationship with Israel and articulate in their support for Israel to an audience beyond their own Orthodox community. A major objective of the course is to prepare students the realities that they will encounter on college campuses as their support for Israel is challenged. Students develop the tools to defend Israel against unfair criticism while acknowledging that well-intentioned and dedicated individuals may differ on the resolution of some major issues. These tools are acquired through readings, discussions, debates. They are developed through the use of thoughtful writing assignments and research. Representatives of organizations that support Israel address the class to provide a range of options and opportunities for informed for Israel.