History/Social Sciences

Department Philosophy

A comprehensive study of history and social sciences benefits students in their personal and public lives. History and social sciences are global; they broaden students’ hearts and minds as students learn about the drama of human lives in other times and places. Narrowness of mind and self-centeredness are challenged as students learn about the struggles, failures, and successes of individuals and societies in the past.

History and the social sciences introduce the ethical and service dimension so important at Mount Alvernia by preparing students for active citizenship in the United States. History and the social sciences provide the chronological and conceptual perspectives as well as the analytical skills of weighing evidence and assessing arguments that are essential to active involvement in the democratic process and to participation in a diverse world.

Furthermore, the study of history has an added importance for Mount Alvernia as a Catholic high school. Our Christian faith is a faith rooted in history. We believe that God entered human history in the Incarnation at a given time and place. History matters.

Mount Alvernia seeks to enable young women to discern the “good” and to make appropriate choices; to develop vision and pursue action. Students develop vision through the history/social sciences program as they become familiar with the drama of human experience in the past. Vision requires a sense of what is possible and what should be. Studying the continuities and changes in human history gives students a perspective from which to build a vision for the present and the future. Geography, history, economics and psychology courses make it possible for students to acquire the knowledge base and the skills with which to take action as Americans and as members of the global community.

Department Goals

Upon completion of the history/social sciences program, students will:

  • Show understanding of geographical categories of location, place, physical and human systems, and environment and society and how they relate to history
  • Gain experience with the scope and sequence of the Facing History and Ourselves program: The Individual and Society, We and They, Historical Case Studies, Judgment, Memory, and Legacy, and Choosing to Participate
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a basic chronological framework of human history from prehistoric times through the twentieth century
  • Possess the knowledge and skills necessary for active citizenship and engagement at the local, state, national, and world levels
  • Appreciate, in the spirit of St. Francis, the interconnectedness of all life, among human beings and between humanity and the environment
  • Understand that both continuity and change characterize history
  • Identify examples of injustice in history and ways in which people have combated injustice
  • Recognize, appreciate, and demonstrate intellectual honesty, including correct citation of sources
  • Demonstrate competence in oral and written communication
  • Recognize and use critical skills in reading and viewing
  • Glean information from maps, charts, and statistics
  • Use research tools in the library, including new information technology
  • Begin to recognize, understand, and apply the methodologies of the academic disciplines of anthropology, economics, geography, history, psychology, and sociology
  • Recognize and describe gender roles in the historical time periods under study and identify continuity and change in those roles
  • Choose an appropriate topic, conduct research, write an historical research paper with correct citation of sources, and give an oral presentation on the research at the Senior Symposium

Course of Study

Grade 7: The World and Us Part I
Grade 8: The World and Us Part II
Grade 9: World History to 1450 (H, CP)
Grade 10: U.S. History (H, CP)
Intro to Business Leadership (CP) (elective)
Grade 11: Modern European History (H, CP)
Intro to Psychology (CP) (elective)
Economics (CP) (elective)
Grade 12: Twentieth-Century World History (H, CP)
Intro to Psychology (CP) (elective)
Intro to Economics (CP) (elective)

Graduation Requirement: Senior Symposium

Department Faculty

Mrs. Jennifer Staysniak, Department Chair
Dr. Gregory Walsh
Ms. Veronica Lau