The history curriculum traces and explores the events that have produced our world. It helps students understand more clearly the attitudes, interests, and societies of others. Students learn about our culture through the broad-based study of its evolution. They also learn about other peoples and nations whose values differ from the student's own heritage, promoting a greater appreciation and respect. By learning how people, from the earliest times, have dealt with politics, economics, societal relations, and culture, history gives our students knowledge of events and circumstances they cannot experience themselves. Such knowledge is significant if our graduates are to make informed decisions and judgments about situations affecting their own lives and the lives of others. A firm foundation of history and sense of direction are valuable in establishing Santa Catalina graduates as leaders in their communities, the nation, and the world.

World History to 1500

This freshman course has two specific goals. The first is to establish the study skills necessary for a serious study of history. These skills include reading carefully in context, outlining, taking notes from the assigned readings, taking notes from lectures, assimilating reference materials from traditional sources and the Internet (with special emphasis on proper use of Internet materials), organizing time and materials to meet deadlines, writing essays and creative papers, and understanding and using proper historical documentation. The second goal is to provide an orderly, chronological framework for studying and comprehending the civilizations that have influenced our world.

This World History course begins with a study of the Neolithic Revolution and the earliest great river civilizations of Mesopotamia, India, China, and Egypt. Following a study of Classical Greece and Rome, students seek to understand the foundations of world history from 500 to 1500 C.E., which will give them the basis for a deeper study of modern history, beginning with the humanism of the Renaissance and the conflicting forces of the Reformation. Equal emphasis is placed upon political, economic, social, religious, and cultural development.

World History since 1500

This sophomore course offers a broad sweep of world history since 1500 and traces the major ideas and events that have shaped the modern world. The course goes through significant developments in Western Civilization, the Islamic World, and in African and Asian civilizations. It is designed to provide students with appropriate tools for historical study, including advanced understanding of the role of geography in shaping history, use of Internet sources, research skills for historical study and writing, and analysis of primary sources. Beginning with the fragmentation of Christendom during the Reformation, students analyze political, social, religious, economic, and cultural themes as they progress toward the modern world. Essential to this understanding is the grasp of linkages between past and present, conducive to the realization of how our time is the product of history, as well as how we continue to make history today.

Advanced Placement World History

This is a college-level course that teaches key ideas and events in world history and prepares the student for the AP exam. Students learn global ideas and events from the beginnings of civilization, through the ancient empires, into the medieval period, and into the modern world. More than just teaching these ideas and events, AP World History trains students in the methods and techniques of the professional historian. Students learn how to compare and contrast historical cultures, how to trace developments over time, and how to apply the lessons of the past to the present.

U.S. History

Because knowledge and understanding of United States history is vital for all Americans, this required junior-level course imparts not only factual material but also an appreciation of our heritage and an understanding of the American character. The course presents a balanced portrait of the American past through political, social, intellectual, economic, military, diplomatic, and cultural history. From pre-Columbian times to the present day, concentration is on the development of continuing themes such as the shaping of the national character, the origins and ongoing process of perfecting American democracy under the Constitution, nationalism versus sectionalism, expansionism, and social and economic evolution and reform. The course seeks not only to establish historical appreciation of the American past but also to lay the foundation of constructive and active citizenship. The course also sharpens and refines students' historical sophistication and methodological skills. Students analyze, synthesize, and articulate factual and interpretational material in the oral and written media.

Art History

This course provides a survey of selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture from the Paleolithic era to the present, within and beyond the European tradition. Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of perceptual and critical skill, the analysis and interpretation of style and meaning, and the ability to relate works to visual traditions and historical contexts. Accordingly, art history involves substantial review of broader trends in history and the humanities and brings to bear students' prior learning in other fields.

Senior Research Seminar

The Senior Research Seminar is a yearlong elective offered during the senior year. The course is a research-based exploration of some aspect of the issue of each seminar. Students spend the first weeks of the course receiving a foundation in the course issue and considering possible research topics. The remainder of the semester is devoted to individual research. During the research phase, the class meets twice a week as a group to learn advanced research skills, to share their progress, and to critique each other’s work. Additionally, each student meets individually once a week with the instructor for more personal help and direction. The semester culminates in an individual research paper presented by each student. The second semester follows the same format exploring a new issue. Seminar topics include:

  • Women in America
  • Immigration in America
  • The Constitution and Government of the United States
  • History of African-Americans
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Dictatorships: The Acquisition, Maintenance, and Loss of Power