Social Studies is defined as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. The core purpose of social studies education is to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and values that will enable them to become effective citizens. Throughout the curriculum and at every grade level students have the opportunity to apply their civic knowledge, skills, and values as they consider real problems in their school, community, nation, and world.
The Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Social Studies Department focuses on a holistic approach to the study of political, social, economic, and cultural developments in American societies and abroad. The department believes that the integrated development of a strong foundation of knowledge and necessary skills in social studies, consistent in its entirety with the Catholic mission of Our Lady of Mercy, serves to uniquely enhance the growth of the student as a scholar and thoughtful, participatory citizen and effective Christian in a secular world. The department's underlying purpose is to create citizens who are aware of the environment in which they live and who understand how to contribute to the overall democracy of the American political system.
- Integrate respect and model the important teachings of the Catholic Church.
- Impart foundational knowledge of history, geography, government, economics, and the behavioral sciences.
- Employ the use of higher levels of cognitive thinking.
- Enhance reading, writing, speaking, and historical research skills.
- Integrate the tools necessary to learn tolerance and understanding of cultures, theologys, and lifestyles different from our own.
- Strive to integrate information and concepts from other disciplines into the teaching of social studies.
- Establish an environment which will encourage student involvement and self-expression.
- World Studies
- World History
- AP World History
- American History
- AP United States History
- Principles of Economics
- AP Macroeconomics
- American Government: The Political Process
- AP United States Government and Politics
- Introduction to Psychology
- AP Psychology
- Modern U.S. History: 1960 - present
- Senior Project
- Law and the Citizen
Required of 9th grade students
The one semester World Studies course provides students with an introduction to both physical and cultural geography. After an introduction to geography, students study each major region of the world. For each region, students learn about the importance of the physical geography and its impact on the region’s development. Students study cultural aspects of each region and examine the influence of geography on the cultural development of each region. Students will learn how to analyze historical documents and data.
Required of 10th grade students
This course is an in-depth study of the major world civilizations from 1000 to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of the political, social, cultural and economic heritage of the major world regions, with the major emphasis on Western Civilization. Students will study the rise of conflict, both economic and territorial, and its effect on the advancement of civilization in these regions. Students will learn how to analyze historical documents and data. Research will be required.
AP World History
Required of 10th grade students with Department Approval
The content of this course will emphasize a more global, non-western approach to World History by tracing the development of civilizations and the interactions among people in those civilizations from approximately 1000 C.E. (Common Era) to the present. College preparatory outside reading is required and is discussed in class. Considerable time will be devoted to helping students develop their analytical and writing skills through the evaluation of primary and secondary sources of historical information. All students must take the AP World History Exam in May.
Required of 11th grade students
This course is a survey of the rise of America from colonization to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on the contributions of the various ethnic groups and cultures that
make up the American character. Students will write a major research paper as part of the course requirements.
AP United States History
Required of 11th grade students with Department Approval
This course is designed to provide a college-level experience and preparation for the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination in May. A seminar approach is used to cover major historical figures and events in our nation’s history from colonization to the present. Emphasis will be placed on interpreting primary and secondary source documents, mastering quantitative historical data, and writing historical essays. All students must take the AP U.S. History test in May.
Principles of Economics
Required of 12th grade students
The purpose of this course is to present a survey of economic theory and basic economic systems and concepts. Students will analyze their roles as both producers and consumers within society. Focus will be on strategies and concepts to help the students become more knowledgeable consumers and citizens.
Required of 12th students grade with Department Approval
This course is designed to provide a college-level experience and preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination. This course places emphasis on the study of national income and price determination, economic performance measures, economic growth, and international economics. The basic concepts of supply, demand, and elasticity, as well as specific macro concepts such as trade, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and supply side theory will be covered. All students must take the AP Economics exam in May.
American Government: The Political Process
Required of 12th grade students
This is a basic study about how the American political system works. There is an extensive examination of the Constitution as well as the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government. The rights and responsibilities of citizenship will be emphasized and the policy- making process explored. Students will examine how a government resolves issues and conflict in a way that enhances a nation’s values and purposes.
AP United States Government and Politics
Required of 12th grade students with Department Approval
This course is designed to provide a college-level experience and preparation for the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination. Emphasis will be placed on interpreting documents and statistics, analysis of political theory, and writing analytical essays. The topics that will be covered include constitutional underpinnings of the U.S. government, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties and interest groups, institutions of the national government, and civil rights and liberties. All students must take the AP U.S. Government test in May.
Introduction to Psychology
Offered to 10th – 12th grade students
In this one-semester course the student is introduced to the scientific analysis of human behavior. Students learn to differentiate and discuss theories of learning, personality development, mental illness, and therapy. Students also study human motivations, emotions, and group psychology. A research paper is required.
Offered to 10th – 12th grade students with Department Approval
This one-semester course conforms to the College Board topics for Advanced Placement Introductory Psychology Examination. Covers methods, approaches and the history of psychology as a science, biological bases for behavior, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, learning, cognition, motivation and emotion, developmental psychology, personality, testing and individual differences, abnormal psychology, treatment of psychological disorders and social psychology.
Modern U.S. History: 1960 - present
Offered to 10th – 12th grade students
In this one-semester course, the student will have the opportunity to learn, discuss, and investigate the recent events of U.S. History in depth. Students examine the political, economic and social trends of post WWII America. Each decade is studied in depth. The focus of the course is on the escalation of the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the impact of the Great Society, the Reagan Era, terrorism in America and various cultural phenomena. Further, students consider the role of the Catholic Church in these historical trends and current events facing America as a result of the last half century.
Offered to 12th grade students
The Current Events curriculum introduces students to issues that influence our life in this global, multicultural society. Students will research and current economic, political, social, and cultural problems, and explore how ongoing conflicts affect groups as well as individuals. Emphasis is upon America as a dynamic society in the 21st century, witnessing changes involving community, state, nation, and world. Some of the pressing problems facing our rapidly changing society will be examined in detail using a variety of media. Critical thinking skills and technology related research is emphasized. Speaking and listening skills are reinforced through class discussions and oral presentations. The study of interdisciplinary connections relates current events to history, economics, politics and the social world thereby enabling students to grasp the interrelationship between and among them. The use of a variety of technologies is integrated throughout the curriculum.
Law and the Citizen
Offered to 9th-12th grade students
Law and the Citizen is a one-semester elective designed to enable students to explore issues related to law, justice, and the American legal system. The following topics are included in this course: introduction to the law and the legal system, criminal law and the juvenile justice system, torts, consumer law, family law, housing law, and individual rights and liberties.