Social StudiesStudents are required to study four years of social studies in order to graduate from high school. A five-unit sequence can be earned by taking an additional credit from one of the department's electives.Social studies courses help students understand American and other cultures, observe connections to the past, recognize the community of people across time, appreciate the delicate balance of rights and responsibilities in a democratic republic and develop the habits of thoughtful analysis and reflective thinking (metacognition). In social studies classes, students confront questions about the history and interaction of humankind in the world. They consider essential questions such as: How have humans defined themselves? What characteristics of cultures are similar or different? Who are we as a nation? How has our past shaped our future? How have we found unity in the midst of our diversity? What are our achievements and failures? What are our responsibilities to ourselves and our future? Emanating from these essential questions students develop understanding that will endure beyond remembering facts and ideas such as how the application of political ideas in a nation shapes thecountry’s policies and culture.
Instructionally, the department has instituted our SKILLS PACKET FOR SOCIAL STUDIES LEARNERS that has reading, writing, and test-taking skills, rubrics for research and essays, an essay scoring code for student improvement, tips for writing more enriched essays and other items to help students improve their learning. The packet is an on-going work of the department. Students utilize a "research protocol" for performance based research projects in content areas. The ultimate goal of the department is to develop critical and creative thinking skills. Students read and analyze primary and secondary sources, participate in simulations, develop research techniques, work in cooperative groups, and create performance based projects in which they apply, evaluate and synthesize what they learn. In their research, students will use a variety of print and electronic resources such as on-line databases, reference CD-Roms and the Internet.The New York State Learning Standards include history, geography, economics, government and civics. The long range objective of the state's social studies core curriculum is that students will be able to be responsible and productive citizens in our constitutional democracy and be active contributors to a society that is increasingly diverse and interdependent.Note: Students need to pass Regents examinations in Global History and Geography and United States History and Government in order to graduate. These assessments will include higher-ordered thinking selected response questions (multiple choice), thematic essay and scaffolded document-based essay questions.