Social Studies

The aim of the Social Studies Department at SWWHS is to help students to develop an awareness of current social and political issues as well as a sense of the interconnectedness of the world events and regions past and present. The department offers the required courses for graduation from the District of Columbia Public School System: DC History, World History and Geography Part I, AP World History (a requirement for all SWW sophomores), US History and US Government. In addition, the department offers AP US History, AP US Government, AP Psychology, AP Art History, AP Human Geography, Street Law, Constitutional Law and Psychology as electives.

A67 AP Art History
AP Art History prepares the student of art history for college credit while in high school. It provides a foundation for enjoying, understanding, and judging a work of art. Various learning experiences will be used including slide literature, required reading from art history texts, museum visits, class discussion, and critiques.

H60 Constitutional Law
This course educates students about constitutional law by focusing on Supreme Court cases that involve high school students. The “We the Students” program that is utilized in this course is a Constitutional Literacy Project sponsored by the Marshall-Brenan Fellows from American University School of Law.

H71 World Problems/Contemporary Issues
World Problems provides an opportunity for discussion of national and international issues that have an impact on contemporary American society.  This course uses community resources (guest speakers, field trips, interest groups) and independent projects to develop selected issues and to present various sides of the selected issues.   This course is paired with AP Human Geography.

HC5 1 World History and Geography (8000BCE/1500CE)
The 9th grade year is a study of world history and geography during the medieval and early modern eras. Students study the development and changes of complex civilizations. They identify and explore the similarities and patterns of these civilizations. Emphasis is placed on the fact that many of the civilizations developed concurrently and impacted each other. All units include an examination of the impact of religion, economics, politics, and social history on the medieval and early modern eras. The Five Themes of Geography (location, movement, region, place, and human-environmental interaction) are woven into all the units, with emphasis on how geography affected the development of these civilizations. Students will learn about related careers in history/social science.

HC7 U.S. History/Geography: Industrial to the Present
This course begins with a review of the settlement of the colonies and the American Revolution, westward expansion, the Civil War and Reconstruction. This should provide the students with a connection to their past learning. Students will then examine the major turning points in American History from the Industrial Revolution through the twentieth century. Emphasis should be placed on the expanding role of the federal government and the federal courts; the balance of power between the right of the individual and states’ rights; and the continuing struggle between minority rights and majority power. Importance should also be placed on the emergence of a modern corporate economy, the impact of technology on American society and culture, the movements toward equal rights for racial minorities and women, and the role of the United States as a major world power.

HC8 Principles of U.S. Government
In this course, students apply knowledge gained in previous years of study to pursue a deeper understanding of the institutions of American Government. In addition, they draw on their studies of world and American history and geography and other societies to compare differences and similarities in world governmental systems today. This course is the culmination of history/social sciences classes to prepare students to solve society’s problems, to understand and to participate in the governmental process, and to be a responsible citizen of the United States and the world.

HC9 D.C. History and Government
Students will examine the major events in Washington, D.C.’s history, particularly in relationship to the student’s past learning of American history. Emphasis should be placed on the creation of Washington, D.C. and the historical developments of the capital city of the United States. Topics will focus on early settlements and geography; the establishment of a new national capital and a new city; Slavery, War, and Emancipation; the Reconstruction Period; the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries; 20th-Century Expansion and Urban Challenges; Civil Rights and Home-Rule Victories; Addressing Opportunities and Problems Under Home Rule; and the District Government.

HE1 African American History
African-American History provides an in-depth, organized, systematic study of African-Americans, their history, and their culture to help students develop an understanding and an appreciation of the role played by the African-Americans in the history of America.

HG 1 Seminar in Philosophy
Seminar in Philosophy presents the history of ideas and thinking that shapes beliefs, attitudes and perspectives. The course will highlight contributions of the great thinkers from the Greeks to 20th century philosophers.

HG 3 Social Issues
Social Issues explores, through discussion and writing, skills and techniques of non-violent living and loving, comparative culture, world religions, man’s relationship to man, and other social issues and topics. Expression through the arts and daily writing is required.

HG 4 Sociology
Gives students an opportunity to study some of the important social problems of American life and determine how the problems relate to themselves and their immediate environments.  Sociology covers the elementary principles of sociology with emphasis on personal application.  This course concentrates on social institutions such as the family, and social trends as they relate to institutions old and new in our society. It includes a comparison of different types of societies.

HG5 Street Law
Street Law educates students about law which will be of use to them in their everyday lives.  It begins with the study of law and the legal system and includes units on practical aspects of criminal, consumer, family, housing, and individual rights law. Student involvement is emphasized through the use of role-playing, case studies, values clarification, and mock trials and negotiations. Classroom visits from attorneys, judges, and police, along with court visits and projects in the community, are integral parts of the course.

HP 7 AP Psychology
The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.

HP1 AP U.S. History
The AP program in United States History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States history. This program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those of full-year introductory college courses. Students will learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. This course will develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format.

HP2 AP U.S. Government
The Advanced Placement course in United States Government and Politics is designed to give students a critical perspective on politics and government. This course involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret United States politics and an examination of the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that make up American politics. The course is taught with college level texts. Preparation for the A.P. test will be an integral part of the course.

HP3 AP Comparative Government
The Advanced Placement course in Comparative Government and Politics is designed to give students a critical perspective on politics and government. This course involves both the study of general concepts used to interpret and examine the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that make up politics and government in various parts of the world. The course is taught with college level texts. Preparation for the A.P. test will be an integral part of the course.

HP4 AP World History
The AP World History course develops a greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts in different types of human societies. This understanding is advanced through a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. The course highlights the nature of changes in global frameworks and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies. It emphasizes relevant factual knowledge, leading interpretive issues, and skills in analyzing types of historical evidence. Periodization, explicitly discussed, forms an organizing principle to address change and continuity throughout the course. Specific themes provide further organization to the course, along with consistent attention to contacts among societies that form the core of world history as a field of study.

HP5 AP Human Geography
The purpose of the AP course in Human Geography is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice. The particular topics studied in an AP Human Geography course should be judged in light of the following five college-level goals that build on the National Geography Standards developed in 1994. On successful completion of the course, the student should be able to: Use and think about maps and spatial data; Understand and interpret the implications of associations among phenomena in places; Recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes; Define regions and evaluate the regionalization process; Characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places.