The History Department has the goal of producing graduates who can think, read, and write critically, and who can use this learning to become better citizens of the world. Our students will understand that the way history has been interpreted changes over time, which reflects not only new information about the past becoming available but also the changing perspectives of historians themselves. We want our students to be challenged by rigorous courses that are designed to promote the development of personal opinions as well as to provide a safe space to engage in civil discourse and the discussion of opposing opinions. We want our students to love history as we do and see it as a way to understand the complexity of the human condition.
Class VI Humanities gives students the opportunity to build connections: between lower and middle school, between literature and history, and between their lives and the greater world. The curriculum emphasizes both critical and creative thinking. In the literary element of this course, students are coached to become strong writers across genre: every term, students have the opportunity to compose personal narratives, analytic essays, and creative responses. Frequent writing assignments draw upon content from both literature and history readings; students will broaden their range of writing tone and strengthen their overall writing ability. Students expand their vocabulary with a self-directed vocabulary project, adding words to their lexicon weekly and practicing these words in context. Weekly lessons and practice address grammar, usage, and style. The historical side of Class VI humanities also uses a multi-faceted approach. In addition to reading the history textbook, students examine primary sources, period art, music, and popular culture to understand the time period holistically. The curriculum studies US history from Reconstruction to present day. Students complete literature and history labs in each unit to apply problem solving skills and critical thinking to a prompt or problem. In Class VI Humanities, students will strengthen critical thinking skills, develop bold writing styles, and increase intellectual confidence.
Class VII students study the establishment, purpose, and workings of the government of the United States of America. Fall Term is devoted to the basics of the Constitution, the political institutions that have evolved around it, the electoral process, and the executive branch. Students then turn to the legislative and judicial branches. All along the way, students have opportunities to discuss and debate the great issues of U.S. history that continue to inform their lives today. Further, students have opportunities to research and discuss current events issues that relate to the way our government interacts with its citizens.
This course in Ancient History introduces students to the development of complex ancient civilizations in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Students will learn the basic terms and concepts of prehistory, archaeology, and history. They will also explore the benchmarks of human achievement and invention and consider the concepts of civilization and progress. Students will learn how to organize their study of civilizations by reference to specific, historical categories. The course emphasizes the interpretation of primary and secondary sources, oral and written presentations of historical information, and the organization and construction of historical arguments. A primary focus on this course is developing student research skills. To this end, students participate the National History Day competition, which requires them to produce an original work of scholarship.