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History and Social Studies

The mission of the History and Social Studies Department is to empower students with an understanding of how the modern world has been shaped over time by peoples, ideas and events. The curricular emphasis on current issues helps students recognize patterns and make connections between past and present. All courses incorporate current research methods, historical inquiry, and extensive writing to enable students to question and evaluate the world around them. Each course introduces new skills and tools, and students complete a major research project at every grade level. Through these projects they explore a topic of their own choosing as it relates to the course of study.

In their freshman year, students identify common patterns and trends across history and civilizations. The following year, these patterns of civilization serve as a basis for understanding political, economic, cultural, and social changes in world history. As juniors, students examine issues and events in United States history as they think historically about the nature of change over time. Upper level courses in a broad range of topics allow juniors and seniors to focus on areas of particular interest.
  • Patterns of Civilization

    Patterns of Civilization places an emphasis on the multidisciplinary nature of history. In this respect, art, economics, the environment, geography and religion are important components of this course. Throughout the year, students explore the multiple ways that historical events connect to current issues, including local issues in Orange County through the ninth grade Service Learning curriculum. Students also learn about historiography and research in order to understand the process and methodology that historians use when creating their picture of the past. The course’s content and skills are geared toward assisting students in planning, researching and producing their Sage Hill History Project inspired by National History Day themes. All students present their projects in the spring at the Ninth Grade History Night at school. This is a Sage Center Designated Course, which includes an attached Spring at Sage or Service Learning experience.
  • Modern World History

    Modern World examines global history from the Renaissance through the 20th Century. The course provides students the opportunity to demonstrate learning in the written form as well as via in-class presentations on an individual or small-group basis. Objectives include explaining large-scale and long-term historical developments; identifying and evaluating key turning points in world history; comparing the ideals and practices of major belief systems; and identifying and assessing the economic, environmental and political challenges humans have confronted.
  • AP World History

    From 1250 C.E to the present, the content of AP World History traverses the globe following five main themes: the interaction between humans and the environment; the development and interaction of cultures; state-building, expansion and conflict; economic systems; and social structures. In addition, the course is predicated on students learning and applying four historical‑thinking skills: developing arguments from evidence; chronological reasoning; comparison and contextualization; and historical interpretation and synthesis.
  • United States History

    In the first semester, students trace the development of the United States from its European origins through the Civil War, industrialization and its emergence as a world power. The second semester focuses almost entirely on developments in the 20th century. This course enables students to understand the underlying social, political, cultural, economic and religious traditions that compose the American heritage. Students also initiates and executes a major research project on a topic of their choice.
  • AP United States History

    While sharing many of the same aspects of the eleventh grade U.S. History course, AP U.S. History utilizes a college-level text, incorporates additional readings and increases the detailed use and interpretation of primary sources and documents.
  • AP Psychology

    The AP Psychology course aims to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to most college introductory psychology courses. AP Psychology utilizes a college-level textbook, incorporates extensive reading and detailed use of research methods and analysis of case studies.
  • AP American Government

    This course provides students with a solid foundation for comprehending the institutional framework of American government at federal and state levels. Students examine the underlying traditions and values of the American political system and explore how the three major branches of government work, as well as how the government functions in dealing with contemporary problems.
  • AP Economics

    The AP Economics course engages students in the understanding, application and analysis of fundamental economic concepts. Students apply their mathematical skills to evaluate economic theories, improve their critical thinking and decision-making skills and apply logic to a wide variety of real‑world economic situations. The course covers both microeconomics and macroeconomics.
  • Principles of Business

    This is a foundational course for students interested in pursuing a Business degree and starting or managing a company in the future. Students taking this course are introduced to basic economic principles and business practices, including business management and operations, entrepreneurship, marketing, finance and accounting with an emphasis on start-up culture. By the end of the course, students will have created a full business plan, will understand the basic practices and skills underlying the business sector and will be prepared for more specialized coursework in college. This is a Sage Center Designated Course, which includes an attached Spring at Sage or Service Learning experience.
  • Ethics and Political Philosophy

    This is a discussion- and reading-intensive course meant to introduce students to the main currents of ancient and modern ethics and political philosophy. Students will explore various philosophical concepts like justice, equality, rights and the role of the state. Students will also track these ideas from the ancient to the modern world; from Athenian democracy to contemporary social justice; from the Enlightenment to modern feminism; and from the State of Nature to civil society. Students will approach these themes in a global context, studying the European perspectives alongside ethical and philosophical traditions from South and East Asia, West Africa and the Americas. This is a Sage Center Designated Course, which includes an attached Spring at Sage or Service Learning experience.
  • AP Art History

    This course provides an overview of the history of art in preparation for the Advanced Placement Art History Exam in the spring. We will attempt a general overview of the development of human civilization through an examination of the arts. The central questions include the following: What is art and how is it made? Why and how does art change? How do we describe our thinking about art? While the class is generally organized chronologically and takes a global perspective to the history of art, several overarching themes will tie together topics across space and culture.
  • Honors Ethnic Studies

    This seminar-style course focuses on the histories of race and ethnicity in the United States. In this class, students will chart the economic, political, and cultural experiences of racial and ethnic groups as well as consider how these racial and ethnic identities were produced, maintained, and transformed over time. Finally, students will pay close attention to how race and ethnicity intersect with class, gender, sexuality and citizenship. It is the express purpose of this course to empower students with the confidence and ability to make sense of race, ethnicity, gender, class and citizenship in a way that is personally meaningful to each student.
  • Photo of Catherine Ball
    Catherine Ball
    History and Social Studies Department Chair
  • Photo of Teryn Bentley
    Teryn Bentley
    History and Social Studies Teacher, Assistant Coach Cross Country, Assistant Coach Track & Field
  • Photo of Ashlie Berg
    Ashlie Berg
    History and Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Nicolle Bradshaw
    Nicolle Bradshaw
    History and Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Steven Duxbury
    Steven Duxbury
    History and Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Christopher Farrish
    Christopher Farrish
    History and Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Frank Gonzales
    Frank Gonzales
    History and Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Jennifer Kucera Rothman
    Jennifer Kucera Rothman
    History and Social Studies Teacher, 12th Grade Lead Class Advisor
  • Photo of Nisha Kunte
    Nisha Kunte
    History and Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Stephen Schumacher
    Stephen Schumacher
    History and Social Studies Teacher
  • Photo of Matthew Vadeboncoeur
    Matthew Vadeboncoeur
    Dean of Academic Technology, History Teacher

Sage Hill School

Sage Hill School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and athletic and other School administered programs.