Social Studies

(240) 740-7256
Resource Teacher: Rebecca Hughes

The Staff:

  • Amy Ahrens – U.S. History –
  • Sean Bramble – Modern World History / U.S. History –
  • Michael Burnell – Modern World History –
  • Peter Cirincione – A.P. Comparative Government / A.P. NSL Government –
  • Jodi Cohen – Administration of Justice / NSL Government –
  • Alexandra Cullen – NSL Government / A.P. Psychology –
  • Rahman Culver – African American Studies / NSL Government –
  • Briana Edwards – NSL Government / Modern World History –
  • Sean Gabaree – A.P. NSL Government / Philosophy –
  • Robert Gibb – A.P. European History / Modern World History –
  • Robyn Gobin – Introduction to Justice, Law, and Society / Contemporary Issues in Justice, Law, and Society –
  • Marc Grossman – Research Methods / U.S. History –
  • Brian Hinkle – A.P. Macroeconomics / A.P. Microeconomics / Modern World History –
  • Douglas Jimenez – Latin American Studies / NSL Government –
  • Marcel Jones – U.S. History – Marcel
  • Nicholas Losekamp – Modern World History / Psychology –
  • Anne Manuel – U.S. History / AP US History / International Human Rights –
  • Andrea Maples – NSL Government / Women's Studies –
  • James Mogge – A.P. World History –
  • Kevin Moose – Comparative Relgion / Philosophy / U.S. History –
  • Morgan Patel – A.P. Human Geography –
  • Alison Russell – A.P. NSL Government / U.S. History / Women's Studies –
  • Rondai Ravilious – A.P. Art History / Modern World History / A.P. World History –
  • Kenneth Seat – East Asian Studies / Modern World History / A.P. World History –
  • Kevin Shindel – Guided Research / Media and Society / U.S. History –
  • Kenneth Smith – Hip Hop Studies / Sociology –
  • Julia Smrek – A.P. Psychology –
  • Nicholas Wells – NSL Government –
  • David West – U.S. History –
  • Peter Young – U.S. History –

The Courses:


All students must the following three yearlong courses in order to graduate:

U.S. History (9th grade; 1 credit; may be taken at the honors level) – The first semester of this course surveys the period from the Civil War through the 1930's. Units are centered around themes such as Continuity and Change, the United States and a World Identity, and Culture in Prosperity and Adversity. The second semester completes the study of U.S. history to the present. Themes in this semester include The Common Good, The Struggle for Power in Postwar America, and Balance in Foreign Policy. This course is linked to a companion English course, and interdisciplinary connections are made throughout.

National, State, and Local (NSL) Government (10th grade; 1 credit; may be taken at the honors or A.P. level) – This full year course teachers the organizational structure, functions, and policies of governments, at the national, state, and local level. Students study both practical and historical applications of our governmental principles, and refer to current events frequently. Rights and responsibilities of citizenship are emphasized and students participate in at least one activity illustrating how citizens can influence government. Ten hours of community service credit are attached to the completion of this course. This course is linked to a companion English course, and interdisciplinary connections are made throughout.

Modern World History (11th/12th grade; 1 credit; may be taken at the honors level) – This yearlong course is a survey of modern world history that begins in the late 15th Century and continues to the present. Topics include: The World in 1500, An interconnected World, Revolution in Thought and Action, Nationalism and Imperialism, The World in Turmoil, The Contemporary World, and The Quest for Democratic Institutions, Political Freedom, and Human Rights Since 1989. In all units a variety of sources and teaching approaches are used to allow students to examine, compare, and contrast development of the essential concepts around the world. A.P. World History may be substitute for this required course.


In addition, students may to elect to take the Social Studies courses listed above beyond the required 3 years:

African-American History (10th/11th/12th grades; 1/2 credit) – Students will begin their study of African-American history with an investigation of African political, social, and economic life before the slave trade and movement to North America. The course then focuses on the experiences of African-Americans within the context of U.S. History. Challenges, triumphs, and the ultimate emergence of a new people will be explored. Students of all academic backgrounds can succeed in this elective course.

A.P. Comparative Government (11th/12th grades; 1 credit) – This semester course is for able students desiring a freshman college level course in comparative government. Students will compare the systems in five countries: Great Britain, France, Mexico, Russia, and China. Five overriding themes are used to compare these five systems. Students will use a college level text. The course is designed to prepare students for the A.P. examination.

Comparative Religion (10th/11th/12th grades; 1/2 credit) – This single semester course surveys the basic elements and historical developments of world religions. After establishing a common definition of the purpose of religion and ways to study religion, students study Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Speakers, student projects, and an emphasis on class discussion guide students to an understanding of the major religions of the world. Other religions are studied as time and interest permit. The course is structured in such a way that interested students of any level can be successful.

Cultural Anthropology (10th/11th/12th grades; 1/2 credit) – Cultural Anthropology is an introduction to the knowledge and skills of anthropological science through a general survey course. The focus predominantly is cultural with only minor attention given to physical anthropology. The course starts with an introduction to the related and integrated sciences that make up anthropology. Students learn some of the methods used by archaeologists to uncover finds, determine age, and classify artifacts. Other topics include tracing the origins of social interaction through family and kinship relationships, traditional law and order, various theories concerning the origin of religion, and the commonalties of certain religious, linguistic, and cultural expressions.

A.P. European History (11th/12th grades; 1 credit) – A yearlong course, A.P. European History is for able students who are interested in a freshman college-level course in European History. The course surveys European history from the 15th century to the present. A college level text is used, and students are required to do a research paper and write essays.

Introduction to Justice, Law and Society (10th, 11th, and 12th grades; 1 credit)
Students examine the origins of law, the US Constitution, with particular emphasis on the First Amendment and civil law in the first Semester. During the second semester students study the Criminal Justice System and Juvenile Justice System and engage in a Mock Trial.

Administration of Justice (11th and 12th grades; 1 credit)
During semester 1 the students build on the first year introductory course, examining in greater detail the legal process and legal systems, particularly in the federal system of government.  Students study the judicial system and have a mock trial. In the second semester students study criminal law with a focus on the criminal mind and personality.  They will also engage in more complex mock trials.

Contemporary Issues in Justice, Law and Society (12th grade: 1 credit)
This is a student driven research course where students will prepare research products either in written form or electronic for presentation on a range of legal subjects.  The topics include environmental law, civil rights, family law, international law, entertainment and sports law and reproductive rights.

A.P. Economics (11th/12th grades; 1 credit) – The AP Economics course will provide students with a collegiate experience economics. Students will be prepared to take the Advance Placement Examination in both macro- and microeconomics. A college level text is used, and class time will focus on the concepts, processes and writing skills necessary for success on the AP exam.

Peace Studies Seminar (10th/11th/12th grades; 1/2 credit; honors level) – This is a one semester honors-level course that focuses on the study of nonviolent force as practiced by selected current and past peacemakers. Students will be challenged to question commonly held assumptions about violence, war, and peace. They will read, discuss, and take responsibility for class presentations and community service projects related to topics such as racism and poverty as institutional violence, war, international diplomacy, and violence against women, children, and animals.

Psychology (11th/12th grades; 1 credit) – This yearlong course is an introduction to the basic concepts of psychology. While learning how to apply psychological principles to daily life, students investigate modes of learning, memory, and thinking, perception, motivation, emotion, and human development. Course requirements include an analysis of behavior, psychological research, and trends of modern psychology. The second semester of the course continues with more in-depth studies of major concepts, such as personality theory, mental disorder and abnormal behavior, psychological assessment, and social psychology. Students are expected to design and conduct basic psychological research.

A.P. Psychology (11th/12th grades; 1 credit) – This yearlong course is designed for advanced students interested in a college-level course and/or gaining advanced standing in college. The course differs from the standard Psychology course in that students use a college textbook, examine topics in greater depth, participate more frequently in research and experimentation,read and write more extensively, and produce a wider variety of products. First semester topics include trends and schools of modern psychology, characteristics and methods of psychological research, learning, perception, motivation, and the life cycle. Second semester topics include personality theories, mental disorder and abnormal behavior, psychotherapeutic approaches to treatment of medical disorders, psychological assessment, and emerging professional specialties in the field of psychology.

A.P. U.S. History (11th/12th grades; 1 credit) – This yearlong course is designed for able students interested in a college-level course in U.S. History. The course is a survey of the history of the United States from 1607 to the present, using a college level text and requiring outside reading, short research projects, and essays.

A.P. World History (11th/12th grades; 1 credit) – This course is for able students who desire a college-level course in world history. Students use college-level textbooks and engage in seminars, discussions, and debates. The purpose of the course is to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, in interactions with different types of human societies. This understanding is advanced through a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. The chronological time frame is from 1000 to the present. This course may be used to fulfill the graduation requirement for a credit in Modern World History. Blair teachers will provide extra skills support to encourage students to take this course as entry-level to other AP courses.

All Blair 11th and 12th graders may also take the Magnet elective Origins of Science, a course that examines science in an historical and philosophical context. Please see the Magnet Program's webpages and/or your guidance counselor for more information about this course.