Social studies

The social studies department teaches students to become critical thinkers and learners through an inquiry-based approach to history and the social sciences. The department offers a broad and challenging program that aims to sharpen students’ thinking and decision-making capabilities while enhancing their global perspective.

Each student progresses through a sequence of core courses in history including World Civilizations I, World Civilizations II, and United States History. In these courses, students consider essential questions that examine historical narratives and facilitate deep exploration of the human condition. They also learn, practice and master historical-thinking skills, such as analytical reading, speaking and listening, as well as thesis-driven writing. The social studies department writing program provides students with a scope and sequence of research and writing opportunities that prepare them for university courses and beyond.

A rich electives program allows students to explore additional areas of interest in the discipline, as well as a variety of Advanced Placement courses to challenge students with rigorous college-level coursework. Additionally, the department sponsors and coaches students in other events outside of the classroom, such as debate and public speaking (hosted by the English-Speaking Union) and Model United Nations.

All Grade 9 students enroll in World Civilizations I, and all Grade 10 students enroll in World Civilizations II. 

A graduation requirement of ASL is that all students take either United States History or AP United States History in Grade 11 or 12. Social studies electives may be taken as additional courses within the department.