Ninth graders have the option of choosing from one of the following courses:
Topics of Modern America (TMA)
In Topics of Modern America (TMA), ninth graders explore the cultural, socio-economic, political, and foreign policy development of the United States from the end of World War II through the end of the Cold War. Focusing on specific time periods 1945-1960, 1960-1975, 1975-1990, students explore the questions, events, and individuals that shaped the actions, attitudes, expectations, and ideologies of modern America. Among the topics students examine over the course of the year are the rise of the United States as a global superpower and the Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union, the Civil Rights movement, the 1960s counterculture, and the impacts of Reaganomics and the War on Drugs in the 1980s.
In TMA, students continue to develop their critical and analytical thinking skills, using the historical concepts of significance, context, perspective, cause and effect, continuity, and agency to examine primary and secondary source material. Class discussion, writing, and projects allow students to demonstrate mastery of the content and apply their understanding skills in creative ways.
Diagnosing The Modern World (DMW)
Ninth graders in Diagnosing the Modern World (DMW), a team-taught, interdisciplinary science and history course, focus each term on a specific topic or issue of particular importance to the world today and into the future. Students examine these topics from both scientific and historical perspectives and explore the interconnectivity and complexity of the problems that confront the world. Topics are chosen with an eye on current events and typically share a common theme. In the past, the class has covered topics such as disease, energy, food, waste, water, and war. Depending upon the topic, outside experts often join the class to share expertise and guide students through projects. Field trips ensure that learning happens in an optimal setting that offers context and perspective.
As students investigate the topics in DMW, they practice the skills needed to be self-motivated and independent learners: collaboration, informed discussion and debate, and independent research. As they explore a wealth of sources and perspectives, they also develop the skills of critical thinking, creative interpretation, and media literacy.