History » History Curriculum

History Curriculum

The history curriculum begins with a conceptual approach that incorporates the foundations, ideas and facts, with added emphasis on geography and its impact on the historical development of the world. With that background, the focus shifts to an interpretation of data and development of analytical and writing skills, using primary source material necessary to craft document-based essay responses. As with all Westchester courses, students are prepared for life after high school through course work and class discussions, whereby they learn the value of becoming critical thinkers and active participants in the political process. The first two years of the curriculum consist of the in-depth study of Global History. In tenth grade, qualified students are eligible to take AP European History in lieu of Global History II. Junior and senior years focus on American History. Qualified seniors may take AP courses with emphasis on America’s political and economic systems. Consistent with Westchester’s interdisciplinary approach, Jewish History is woven into the curriculum regularly, and art and literature are studied within an historical context.

9th Grade Global History

In ninth grade, students embark on a study of Global History, beginning with the birth of civilization and continuing with a cross-cultural, chronological journey through the ages.  Students and faculty work together to create a window into the world’s past, and gain an understanding of life before the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Emphasis is placed on key concepts, skill development and the comparative analysis of ancient civilizations.  Students conduct research, individually and in groups, and present their findings in both written and oral presentations.

10th Grade Global History / Advanced Placement European History

Honors students study AP European History in lieu of Global History II. The course focuses on the cultural, diplomatic, economic, intellectual, political, and social history of Europe. Students are expected to demonstrate a working knowledge of basic chronology and of major events and trends from approximately 1450 (the high Renaissance) to the present. The entire chronological scope and a range of approaches are incorporated throughout the year of study. At the conclusion of the course, students take the AP European History Exam administered by the College Board, which may, depending upon their score and university, yield 3-4 college academic credits.
Global Studies students continue with the second half of the Global History curriculum, is a cross-cultural, chronological examination of the modern world from the Age of Revolutions to the present day. Major areas of concentration include the Renaissance, the development of democracy in England and France, nationalism and imperialism around the globe, as well as modern world history. The course underscores the role of the Jewish People in Western Civilization and the impact of Western Civilization on the Jewish People.

11th Grade US History / Advanced Placement US History

Honors students take AP US History in lieu of US History. This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of US history, from the founding of the colonies through to the present. Students are expected to master historical and analytical skills, including research, analysis and interpretation. Students learn to assess historical materials, evaluate their relevance and reliability, and deal critically with difficult events and periods in US history. Students are exposed to the political, social, economic, diplomatic, intellectual and cultural history of the U.S., with specific emphasis on document-based material. At the conclusion of the course, students take the AP US History Exam administered by the College Board, which may, depending upon their score and university, yield 3-4 college academic credits.
Students in the regular US history track focus on the political history of the United States, from the colonial period to the present. In this course, students examine the origins of American democratic institutions and ideas and examine instances where they have been challenged by an ever changing economy and social structures, as well as an increasingly complex global order. In addition to traditional textbooks, students rely heavily on primary sources anda variety of multi-media sources.

12th Grade US Government and Economics/ Advanced Placement US Government

Honors students take AP US Government instead of US Government and Economics.  This is an intensive study of the formal and informal structures of the US government, as well as the processes of the American political system, with an emphasis on policy-making and implementation. This course explores the structure of American government and how the “game” of politics is played. The course is intended to lay an intellectual foundation for observing, analyzing, and understanding national politics. Students examine and evaluate America’s institutions of government and the people who run them, the public policies debated and enacted by these bodies, and the influence of the electorate on the institutions and policy. At the conclusion of the course, students take the AP US Government administered by the College Board, which may, depending upon their score and university, yield 3-4 college academic credits.
The regular track US Government course begins with an overview of political science, designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the complex forces at work within our federal government. Students explore the branches of government and how they interact with interest groups, the media, political parties and the bureaucracy. This course also deals with the banking system, international trade, and a comparison of the U.S. economic system to other economic systems.

History Electives

Constitutional Law
This Honors Level class explores the history and development of the United States Constitutional legal system. The primary focus will be on the basic principles of law, the judicial system and judicial/political behavior in U.S. history. Central themes of the course focus on the U.S. Supreme Court‘s interpretation of law, power, and legal precedent. Students will read and listen to condensed versions of selected Supreme Court cases. Contemporary legal issues, including immigration law, and intellectual property law are also examined.
World Religions
Humans are social beings and religion is an essential part of our human culture. The study of the world's religions, through the social studies lens, offers us an opportunity to examine how cultures around the world and over time have struggled to find meaning and purpose in life and how this understanding informs their lives. Developing literacy about other religions helps to foster tolerance and understanding in our diverse world.This semester course will look at some of the world's major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The course begins with an overview of how religion is constructed and worldviews formed. Later, the history, beliefs and practices of each of the mentioned religions will be examined.