Our students develop both the historical skills and knowledge to understand their society and the world they inhabit. Over the four-year program, students cultivate crucial historical skills such as an understanding of basic economic activity, the importance of learning fact and the ability to evaluate source materials. They also gain a foundational knowledge in world history ranging from ancient civilizations to the end of the Cold War. Students’ historical method and factual knowledge equip them to thoughtfully analyze the trends and developments that shape their world.
Students cultivate the necessary skills to read history objectively by studying ancient civilizations and important non-Western cultures. The course focuses upon ancient Greece and Rome, the study of early society in the British Isles and the history of such non-Western cultures as East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. Special emphasis is placed upon the history of Japan, consistent with the study of Japanese language and culture in the Middle School curriculum. The knowledge of world history and fundamental historical skills provides students the foundation to undertake more advanced work in history.
Students study European history from the Middle Ages to the collapse of the Soviet Empire. While studying the development of European powers, students cover the influence of religion and ideology in European history, including: the Reformation and Enlightenment periods; the impact of industrialization and European imperialism; and the effects of communism and fascism on Russia, Europe and the rest of the world. Course materials include traditional textbooks as well as broad readings such as A.J.P. Taylor’s The Course of German History, and David Remnick’s Lenin’s Tomb.
Grade Students develop an extensive knowledge of the course of U.S. History in order to learn to identify and interpret national trends and developments. Because students concentrate upon a single nation and a more limited time period than in previous grades, students are expected to achieve a more sophisticated level of analysis. Students read such selections as Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People, Frederick Lewis Allen’s Only Yesterday and other secondary sources. Writing assignments vary and such tasks as factual accounts, analysis of outside readings and research papers further the students’ ability to understand history. By the end of this course, students will have the necessary skills and knowledge to take the AP exam in U.S. History.
Senior courses enable students to gain the experience of studying topics of historical significance in greater depth than is generally attempted prior to college. Writing assignments call for documentation and analysis on a level commensurate with the depth of inquiry devoted to each topic. Planned topics may include U.S. History Since the Kennedy Assassination, the U.S. Constitution and System of Government and the Life and Times of Winston Churchill.