Social Studies Department

  • The goal of the Social Studies department is to empower students with the knowledge, skills, and passion to actively participate as citizens in a democratic and global community. All Social Studies courses are aligned to the Pennsylvania Social Studies standards and benchmarks and therefore ensure that all students achieve mastery of the important themes and patterns that are particularly unique to the social studies.

    In order to complete graduation requirements, all students must earn a total of three credits in Social Studies as follows:

    1. One credit for ninth grade Government and Economics
    2. One credit for tenth grade World Studies
    3. One credit for eleventh grade American Studies

    Advanced Placement (AP): The AP social studies curriculum provides students the opportunity to take courses that are traditionally taught in a university setting. These courses’ syllabi have been audited and approved by the College Board. Strong reading and writing skills along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and independent study are necessary for success. Emphasis is placed on critical and evaluative thinking skills, essay writing and interpretation of original documents and cases. Assessments are aligned to those found on the AP exams and include, but are not limited to, multiple choice items, document-based, and free response essays. These courses are as rigorous as a college course in terms of subject matter and approach. Readings and documents are taken from college-level textbooks and students should expect daily reading and writing assignments and frequent exams. Students who perform well on AP Exams can earn college credit and/or advanced standing and stand out in the college admission process.

    Seminar/Interdisciplinary: A rigorously paced interdisciplinary approach (combining SS and English) with above-grade and college level materials. Students are to be proactive as the norm, both in assignment completion and in the continued development of skills and intellectual inquiry. In-depth analysis of topics outside those presented in the classroom is also an expectation, as per the interdisciplinary model. Discussion and analysis will be drawn from a larger variety of topics and sources than in other levels. The goal is continued intellectual independence and mastery of a wide variety of topics and points of view to prepare students for the most challenging colleges.

    Honors Level: A rigorously paced course with above-grade level materials. Content utilizes historical primary documents to current day publications. Instruction keys on expectations of student-driven inquiry and analysis of multiple sources and perspectives. Students are expected to advocate for themselves as thinkers and learners. Depth of content and speed of its delivery rely upon consistent levels of independent reading and writing by the student. Student skills will be reinforced through projects and research, as well as discussion and conversation generated by student inquiry. The goal is continued intellectual independence and mastery of a wide variety of topics and points of view to prepare students for the most challenging colleges.

    Advanced Level: A moderately paced course with a goal of developing independent learners and readers. Advanced courses are skilldriven, with an emphasis on content. Content is at or slightly above grade level, and based around primary documents and grade level texts. Students should expect a combination of teacher-guided and independent instruction. The level of student-driven analysis and synthesis will increase throughout the year. Student-centered projects and independent writing will foster development of the writing process, and stress the use of evidence to craft a detailed argument. All work is designed around the goal of eventual independence at college.

    College Preparatory Level: A deliberately-paced, intentional and consistent examination of challenging grade-level materials. Teacherguided instruction with projects and assessments scaled to ability and content. Focus on development and maintenance of reading, writing, and comprehension skills. Key academic skills such as note-taking, text summary and review, organization, synthesis, and analysis will be taught and assessed. Content is delivered and reviewed in manageable units. Students should expect regular homework collection and weekly assignments directed toward content review and skill practice. All work is designed around the goal of eventual independence at post-secondary school institutions.

    In addition, students are encouraged to take one or more electives during 11th and/or 12th grade.

    Social Studies Course Sequence

    Note:  With teacher recommendation, students may move between levels.

9th-Grade Offerings

  • Integrated The American Experiment (05990010) (formerly Int. Gov. & Econ.)


    2.0 Credits; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Double Period, Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 9
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation or Gifted Identification

    This team-taught course, first in a sequence of four interdisciplinary courses, provides students with an opportunity to study the key concepts of government and economics accompanied by a fusion of legal thrillers, dystopian novels, and classical political treatises. Government topics include: the components of citizenship, the constitutional basis of American democracy, federalism, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, elections, campaigns, the role of interest groups, the media, individual rights, the structure of U.S. government (Congress, presidency, the courts, and bureaucracy). Economics topics include: economic theories; the global economy; macro-economic concepts such as monetary policy, fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, money, and banking; microeconomic concepts such as supply and demand, competition/monopolies, business organizations,  entrepreneurship, and the stock market. Students are engaged in a number of activities designed to foster acquisition and understanding of social studies concepts: reading primary and secondary sources, Socratic discussion, frequent written expression, analysis of propaganda and other visual media, creative projects, and simulations. This two-period course requires students to be active and independent learners capable of making connections across themes and time. The Parallel Curriculum and Understanding by Design models allow for analysis of works of varying genres and media, including a challenging level of analytical writing. Higher-level thinking and writing skills are emphasized through the use of synthesis, analysis, and evaluation. (S)

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  • 9th Grade Government and Economics H (05020211)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 9
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    The Government and Economics course provides students with an opportunity to study the key concepts of government and economics and the interrelatedness of the two disciplines. Government topics include: the components of citizenship, the constitutional basis of American democracy, federalism, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, elections, campaigns, the role of interest groups, the media, individual rights, the structure of U.S. government (Congress, presidency, the courts, and bureaucracy). Economics topics include: economic theories, the global economy, macro-economic concepts such as monetary policy, fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, money and banking, micro-economic concepts such as supply and demand, competition/monopolies, business organizations, entrepreneurship and the stock market. Students are engaged in a number of activities designed to foster acquisition and understanding of social studies concepts: reading primary and secondary sources, Socratic discussion, frequent written expression, analysis of propaganda and other visual media, creative projects, and simulations. More traditional assessment methods (objective tests, expository essays, and research projects) are used to evaluate the progress of students. The honors curriculum is vigorous and uses advanced level texts. Higher-level thinking and writing skills are emphasized through the use of synthesis, analysis, and evaluation.

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  • 9th Grade Government and Economics A (05020212)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 9
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    The Government and Economics course provides students with an opportunity to study the key concepts of government and economics and the interrelatedness of the two disciplines. Government topics include: the components of citizenship, the constitutional basis of American democracy, federalism, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, elections, campaigns, the role of interest groups, the media, individual rights, the structure of U.S. government (Congress, presidency, the courts, and bureaucracy). Economics topics include: economic theories, the global economy, macro-economic concepts such as monetary policy, fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, money and banking, micro-economic concepts such as supply and demand, competition/monopolies, business organizations, entrepreneurship and the stock market. Students are engaged in a number of activities designed to foster acquisition and understanding of social studies concepts: grade appropriate primary and secondary sources, imaginative questioning techniques, frequent written expression, analysis of propaganda and other visual media, creative projects, and simulations. More traditional assessment methods (objective tests, expository essays, and research projects) are used to evaluate the progress of students. Grade level texts are used.

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  • 9th Grade Government and Economics CP (05020214)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 9

    The Government and Economics course provides students with an opportunity to study the key concepts of government and economics and the interrelatedness of the two disciplines at a more deliberate pace. Government topics may include: the components of citizenship, the constitutional basis of American democracy, federalism, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, elections, campaigns, the role of interest groups, the media, individual rights, the structure of U.S. government (Congress, presidency, the courts, and bureaucracy). Economics topics may include: economic theories, the global economy, macro-economic concepts such as monetary policy, fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, money and banking, micro-economic concepts such as supply and demand, competition/monopolies, business organizations, entrepreneurship and the stock market. Students are engaged in a number of activities designed to foster acquisition and understanding of social studies concepts: analysis of propaganda and other media, creative projects, role plays, and simulations. More traditional assessment methods (objective tests and expository essays) are used to evaluate the progress of students. Level-appropriate texts and materials are used.

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10th-Grade Offerings

  • Integrated Global Issues H (05990020)


    2.0 Credits; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Double Period, Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 10
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation or Gifted Identification

    This team-taught seminar, second in a sequence of four interdisciplinary courses, uses a Parallel Curriculum Model to combine advanced work in international studies with intense analysis of literary works from both non-Western cultures and the English-speaking world. The focus is on the non-Western world, concentrating on area studies of the Middle East, Africa, Russia, South and Central Asia, and the East Asia. Current issues are analyzed by interpreting key historical events and exploring the cultural heritage of each region. Important global issues such as human rights compliance, arms proliferation, conflict resolution, and trade are also studied in depth. By combining a comprehensive social studies approach (geopolitical, environmental, economic, demographic, anthropological, and sociological) with integrated language arts (novels, short stories, poetry, art, film, and music), this course develops critical thinking about contemporary international issues and universal themes. Exercises in creative and analytical writing, public speaking, debate, and research are combined with extensive group and independent work, hands-on projects, and simulations, to create an active learning experience. A research project requires that students develop an original thesis, evaluate and select resources, take notes, produce an outline, write a large essay, and provide thorough documentation of sources. At the conclusion of this project, students present their findings to the class. (S)

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  • Advanced Placement World History (05020220)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length Year; Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 10
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    This develops an understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts including interactions over time. This course highlights the nature of changes in international frameworks and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies. The student will make connections by surveying the common threads of humanity— trade, religion, politics, society, and technology—and investigates how each have changed and continued over time. The course traces the human experience from the emergence of Neolithic cultures to the 21st Century, C.E., emphasizing the historical thinking skills, writing skills, and content knowledge characteristic of a college-level world history course. Students will devote considerable time to the critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources, as they write essays, engage in class discussions, and evaluate content knowledge and visual analyses. (S)

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  • World Studies H (05020221)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 10
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    This course focuses on the historical development of current issues facing Russia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Students study the relationship between traditional cultures in these areas and their present political, economic, and social positions in the world. Assessments include research papers, problem solving projects, independent study, simulations, and a current events portfolio. Questioning strategies aimed to test students’ ability to conceptualize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluation are also used. Advanced level texts and many primary and secondary sources are used to interpret concepts. (S)

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  • World Studies A (05020222)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 10
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    This course focuses on the historical development of current issues facing Russia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Students study the  relationship between traditional cultures in these areas and their present political, economic, and social position in the world. Assessments include research papers, projects, presentations, simulations and a current events portfolio. Grade level texts and primary/secondary sources are used.

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  • World Studies CP (05020224)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 10
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    This course focuses on the historical development of current issues facing Russia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Students study the relationship between traditional cultures in these areas and their present political, economic, and social positions in the world. Assessments include research papers, projects, presentations, simulations, and a current events portfolio. Level-appropriate texts and materials are used.

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11th-Grade Offerings

  • Integrated Viewpoints on Modern America/AP English Language and Composition (05990031)


    2.0 Credits; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Double Period, Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11

    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation or Gifted Identification. This team-taught course, third in a sequence of four interdisciplinary courses, combines study of American history, politics, literature and culture, on a high honors level. The approach to curriculum is both chronological and thematic, and reflects essential questions about the American character. Readings include primary and secondary documents and extend into the related arts with particular attention to the genre of film. Methods used include active discussions, examinations of current political and social issues, lecture, group work, simulations, and presentations. Along the way, a variety of expository and creative writing assignments call on students to synthesize, argue, and analyze. The involvement of both teachers in delivery and assessment enriches the curriculum and increases students’ awareness of varied points of view, new ideas, and core information about their national culture. The Parallel Curriculum approach allows students to connect history and literature as well as extend their studies into individualized areas of practice and interest. (S)

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  • Advanced Placement United States History (05020230)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    This course in an opportunity for the motivated and talented social studies student to use the methods historians use to bring insight and analysis to events in our nation’s past. Advanced Placement US History is a college-level course that focuses on historical concepts and developments in the history of the United States from the pre-colonial period to the present. Strong reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study are necessary for success. Emphasis is placed on critical and evaluative thinking skills, essay writing, and interpretation of original documents. A college-level textbook is used. Several weeks are spent in intensive review to prepare students to take the College Board AP exam. (S)

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  • American Studies H (05020231)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation

    This course focuses on historical developments in United States history from 1877-present. It exposes students to historic concepts and also to concepts related to politics, society, economics, art and the environment. Major topics of study include, but are not restricted to, manifest destiny, the progressive movement, industrialization, imperialism, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the cold war, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, civil rights, and American foreign policy. A vigorous curriculum incorporates advanced level texts and primary and secondary sources. Higher level thinking and writing skills are emphasized through the use of synthesis, analysis, and evaluation.

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  • American Studies A (05020232)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11

    This course focuses on historical developments in United States history from 1877-present. It exposes students to historic concepts and also to concepts related to politics, society, economics, art and the environment. Major topics of study include, but are not restricted to, Manifest Destiny, the Progressive Movement, Industrialization, Imperialism, World War I, the 1920’s, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, civil rights, and American foreign policy. A challenging curriculum incorporates grade-level texts and primary and secondary sources.

    Comments (-1)
  • American Studies CP (05020234)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11

    This course focuses on historical developments in United States history from 1877-present. It exposes students to historic concepts and also to concepts related to politics, society, economics, art and the environment. Major topics of study include, but are not restricted to, Manifest Destiny, the Progressive Movement, Industrialization, Imperialism, World War I, the 1920’s, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, civil rights, and American foreign policy. An appropriately paced curriculum incorporates grade-level texts and primary and secondary sources.

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Social Studies Electives

  • Integrated Senior Seminar (05020040)


    2.0 Credits; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Double Period, Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 12
    Prerequisite(s): Teacher Recommendation and Gifted Identification or after taking the Interdisciplinary diagnostic exam to provide feedback on current ability level

    This team-taught seminar, fourth in a sequence of interdisciplinary courses, uses a Parallel Curriculum Model to combine history, literature, philosophy, and science in their broadest senses. This course examines humankind’s ideas about the universe, life, and consciousness, and the struggle between the individual and society. Students focus on the philosophical idea of leadership and how leaders have affected, and currently affect, society in various cultures, including: cultural self-conceptions, the nature of progress, and elements of power. The curriculum is organized both thematically and chronologically. The “student-as-worker” approach to high-level learning experiences includes simulations; focused writing assignments, both analytical and creative; close analysis of literary, historical, and visual sources; large and small group instruction; and problem-based learning.

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  • Advanced Placement European History (05020240)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11, 12

    The Advanced Placement course in European History reflects the most recent developments in history curricula at the undergraduate college level. In addition to providing an overview of important historical events and movements in modern European history from 1450 to the present, Advanced Placement European History help students acquire and develop an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European history, an ability to analyze historical evidence, and an ability to express historical understanding in writing. The course is designed specifically to prepare students for the Advanced Placement (AP) examination. Assessments in this course are aligned to those found on the AP Exam and include, but are not limited to, multiple choice items and both document-based and thematic essays. This course is as rigorous as a college course in terms of subject matter and approach; readings and documents are taken from college-level textbooks, and students should expect daily reading and writing assignments. This course is open to all students; however, students who have a strong interest and proven track record in history are most likely to succeed. (S)

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  • Advanced Placement Psychology (05020250)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 10, 11, 12

    The purpose of the Advanced Placement Psychology course is to introduce students to systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles and phenomena associated with each of the major sub fields within psychology. The topics covered include development, biological basis for behavior, sensation and perception, cognition (learning, memory and intelligence), states of consciousness, personality, abnormal behavior, therapy, and emotion and motivation (sports psychology). Students also learn about the methods employed by psychologists studying behavior. This course is highly interactive and reliant on independent effort, initiative, and critical thinking. Experiments, surveys, opinion papers, simulations, and creative illustrations are examples of techniques used to facilitate learning. The class is taught on a college level with the opportunity to qualify for college credit by successfully completing Advanced Placement Psychology Examination.

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  • Psychology A (05020252)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11, 12

    The purpose of this course is to introduce students to systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles and phenomena associated with each of the major sub fields within psychology. The topics covered include development, biological basis for behavior, sensation and perception, cognition (learning, memory and intelligence), states of consciousness, personality, abnormal behavior, therapy, and emotion and motivation (sports psychology). Students also learn about the methods  employed by psychologists studying behavior. Experiments, surveys, opinion papers, simulations, and creative illustrations are examples of techniques to be used to facilitate learning.

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  • Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics (05020270)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted

    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11, 12

    This course is designed to give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. It includes the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute US politics (AP Central website). The topics covered include the constitutional underpinnings of American democracy, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, elections and campaigns, interest groups, the mass media, the Congress, the presidency, the federal courts, civil rights and civil liberties, the bureaucracy, and public policy. The course will prepare students to take the AP Exam. Textbooks designed for college students are used.

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  • Advanced Placement Macroeconomics (05020260)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11, 12

    Advanced Placement Macroeconomics replicates the introductory macroeconomics course taught in a university setting. As such, the course requires far more effort and commitment than the typical high school courses. The course goals are to: introduce students to the field of economics; to teach basic economic concepts and analytical skills; and to enable students to score well on the Advanced Placement Macroeconomics Examination. Macroeconomics is a study of how economic decision makers affect the economy as a whole in terms of employment, price stability, and economic growth. After defining and analyzing tools and models that describe the conditions of our national economy, our fundamental purpose is to analyze how fiscal and monetary policy may be used to promote full employment, price stability, and economic growth. Teaching strategies include teacher presentations, cooperative learning, discussion groups, and simulations.

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  • Sociology A (05020292)


    1.0 Credit; Unweighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 11, 12

    This course introduces students to the study of how social forces influence human behavior in groups and individually. Topics include social problems such as drug abuse, racism, sexism, and crime. Approaches to resolving social problems are also considered such as the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, capital punishment, gun control, censorship, and affirmative action. Issues such as euthanasia, abortion, and genetic research are evaluated for the ethical problems they raise. In addition, the social culture of Radnor High School is analyzed and surveys conducted. Films, newspapers, guest speakers (such as police, judges, etc.) and field trips (such as to a prison and city school) are used.

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  • Advanced Placement Art History (05990730)


    1.0 Credit; Weighted
    Length: Year; Format: Meets Daily
    Grade(s): 10, 11, 12

    Art history is a humanities course which explores history, culture and civilization through art. It’s a course for students who want to understand art and its historical context. Students will examine the major forms of visual art expression from early man to the present and from a variety of cultures. Students learn how society has influenced art, and how art has influenced our understanding of history. Psychology, religion, and economics are explored in relation to history and art. This is a good course for students who plan to travel in the future, as it provides an understanding of art and culture around the world. Students electing this course may receive college credit or placement in the humanities by taking the Advanced Placement Art History exam. There is no prerequisite for this course, but students should be prepared to read and write at a college level. This is an academic course, not a studio course and requires no artistic ability.

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