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Social Science Courses

Yearlong Courses

Foundations of the Modern World

This course introduces students to the foundations of world history and the study of history. Beginning with the rise of early civilization, it brings to light the many factors that contribute to the progression and/or demise of ancestry and provides a thorough perspective of the past so that students have an understanding of present conditions in the modern world. Emphasis will be placed on organization, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills.

Modern World History

Building on the material covered in Foundations of the Modern World, the course completes students’ study of World History. Over the full year, it provides an in-depth look at the world's major cultures. Study of each of these societies will emphasize culture and geography, family life and structure, social organizations, education, religious beliefs and institutions, economic systems, political trends, and the intellectual and artistic accomplishments of individuals within the culture. The study of each culture will be supplemented by the development of reading, writing, research, geography, critical thinking, study/note taking skills, technological and presentation skills.

United States History

United States History introduces students to the study of American History. Examination of Colonial British North America, the American Revolution and framing of the Constitution shape our early study. Important themes from this material will then be examined throughout the remainder of the course. Students will develop an understanding of American history and improve their essential communicative and critical thinking skills through emphasis on writing, the formation of historical arguments, and development of analytical reading skills through a variety of media. Film, online databases, the iPad, books, online journals, and academic web resources expose students to a wide spectrum of opinions and views on American history. Students will form their own opinions and produce original work.

ESL United States History

Paralleling the US History course, this course moves at a slower pace for second language learners and incorporates more project-based learning.

AP United States History

This AP course is the equivalent of a 100-level college survey course. It will emphasize the skills, themes, and time periods of American history as laid out by the College Board in their recent curriculum redesign. Students will learn a significant volume of material through classroom instruction and independent learning. Through the year, students will familiarize themselves with the issues surrounding the settlement of, development of, and rise of America. Topics include the evolution of Colonial British North America, the American Revolution and Constitution, the growth and expansion of the nation during the 19th century, the rise of industry in the late 19th century, Secession, Civil War, and Reconstruction, the evolution of equality, and major historical issues of the 20th century.

AP Psychology

This AP course provides an overview of current psychological research methods and theories. Students explore the therapies used by professional counselors and clinical psychologists and examine human reactions: how people learn and think, the process of human development and human aggression, altruism, intimacy, and self-reflection. Students study the core psychological concepts, such as the brain and sense functions, and learn to gauge human reactions, gather information, and form meaningful syntheses. The equivalent of a 100- level college survey course, AP Psychology prepares students for further studies in psychology and life sciences. To help prepare students for the AP exam, each unit exam is designed to replicate the AP Psychology exam. Students also participate in a variety of experiments. These range from quick in-class exercises to replications of famous experiments to self-designed experiments.

AP Macroeconomics

Prerequisite: open to seniors and well-qualified juniors, honors grades, and teacher recommendation.

AP macroeconomics is a college-level course which gives students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics. Essential concepts that are explored include the functions performed by an economic system, and the way the tools of supply and demand are used to analyze the workings of a free market economy. Students will learn the distinction between absolute and comparative advantage, and apply the principle of comparative advantage to determine the basis on which mutually advantageous trade can take place between individuals and/or countries, and to identify comparative advantage from differences in opportunity costs. The course also introduces the business cycle to give students an overview of economic fluctuations and highlight the dynamics of unemployment, inflation, and economic growth.

Electives (Trimester Courses)

Adirondack History

Adirondack History examines the historical fabric of the local region. The course covers the pre-European settlement to the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency, focusing significantly on contemporary issues. The Adirondack region is a unique, complex, and dynamic environment. The course fosters a greater academic awareness and appreciation of the area our students call home. A connection to relevant matters of the Adirondacks will enable an individual to look deeper into issues and intelligently voice their viewpoints.


This introductory course will cover the four pillars of anthropology: physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology/ethnology. Central themes of study are concepts of culture, society, pre-state societies (tribes/chiefdoms), state societies (agricultural/industrial), consequences of global industrialism, and the global future of indigenous tribes. The course will explore anthropological perspectives, stress critical-thinking processes, and develop skills to analyze fossil evidence, artifacts, languages, and cultural beliefs/values. The following units of study will guide the course: basic concepts in anthropology, physical anthropology, archaeology, culture, societies, and consequences of globalization.


Economics, at its root, is about choices and decision making. It is the study of how people aim to satisfy their wants and needs by making choices amongst scarce resources. We will explore the influences of consumer choice, business, and government on a society's economic environment. The first half of the semester focuses on microeconomics: the study of how smaller units such as individuals and businesses, make economic decisions. Then we will look at some principles of macroeconomics, the study of the economic behavior and decision making of entire economies, i.e.: at the national, and international level. This practical course will provide students with knowledge and tools that they will be able to use throughout their lives.

Innovation + Design

Students start with independent research and use class sessions to identify potential projects. They then learn methods of evaluating existing research and information, conceive solutions, test them through prototypes, and ultimately develop innovations that take action to resolve real-world problems. With help from visiting experts, students also learn how design can lead to entrepreneurial opportunities. This program gives dreamers and makers the skills to bring their ideas from concept to reality.

Introduction to Entrepreneurial Studies

Entrepreneurship focuses on recognizing a business opportunity and developing a plan to create a business to capitalize on that opportunity. The process of developing the business plan will require students to prepare a rigorous and well-informed analysis of their industry, and have a basic understanding of the controlling functions of a business - accounting, finance, marketing, and management. Legal, ethical, and sustainability issues will also be explored. Student responsibility and initiative are essential as business strategies are created, planned, and presented. Students will be expected to think creatively, and to communicate effectively.


The study of ethics relates to a person's or group's conduct in society. It is built upon moral principles which define what is right and wrong. This student-centered course will look at the development of different ethical perspectives, the ethical criteria in which conduct is judged, and the application of ethics in modern day discussion. Contemporary issues like capital punishment, terrorism, privacy/technology rights, climate change, and poverty will be researched and debated.

International Relations: The Politics of Genocide and Terrorism

International Relations examines major international issues today such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, globalization and the growth of transnational agencies and economies, the preponderance of failing states as a result of the spread of ethnic and religious intolerance, and specific conflicts such as those in the Korean Peninsula or the Balkans. American foreign policy, the origins of genocide, Stalin & Mao, the Jewish Holocaust, Cambodia & the Khmer Rouge, Bosnia & Kosovo, and the apocalypse in Rwanda will also be examined in this course. Students will be required to conduct extensive research to prepare for role-plays and debates on current issues.


Sociology introduces students to the theories, concepts and areas of inquiry that typically characterize sociological analyses, specifically, culture, society, socialization, social interaction, social groups, deviance, race, ethnicity, sex and gender. We will also focus on the various social institutions (family, marriage, death, etc.) Topics include health care, media, popular culture, violence, crime, and punishment. The course will apply a three-stage process; opening discussions that draw on students’ideas and experiences; lectures/ presentations and readings that present a sociological perspective; and critical discussions that will explore analysis and synthesis of current social trends.

World Politics

World Politics will focus on the current state of political systems around the globe, emphasizing contemporary world powers and their struggle for dominance in political, social, economic, and religious arenas. From bi- polar, tri-polar and hegemonic power struggles to the specific Middle East conflicts in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, the course will also explore a multitude of conflict resolutions. Students must master effective techniques of discussion, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint, and internet research. Additionally, students will hone their skills in writing analytical essays, outlining, note taking, debating, and making oral presentations. The course will address the following topics: health care, crime and drugs, immigration, defense, global security, weapons proliferation, as well as current international conflicts from the Arab-Israeli Conflict to North Korea, the Arab Spring, and Iran.

Unique Academic Programs