History Department

Course Offerings
HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD
History of the Ancient World examines the beginnings of human history. Starting with the dawn of civilization, the course works its way through the history of the classical world, the origins of Muslim society, and finishes on the dawn of the Renaissance. Students develop an understanding of the major themes in the ancient world through encounters with a variety of primary sources and independent research. In addition to growing as historians and writers, students explore innovative ways of presenting information and formulating arguments based on historical evidence. By the end of the course, students should have developed the skills necessary for work in history classes both at Cheshire Academy and beyond.

Freshman course

HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD (HONORS)
Honors History of the Ancient World takes a deep dive into the roots of human history. Through a series of microhistorical examinations ranging from the earliest hominids in sub-Saharan Africa to the dawn of the Renaissance, the class looks at the major themes of the ancient world. While the class as a whole examines certain areas of the world, students have the opportunity to pursue research that speaks to their own interests and backgrounds.  Students gain increasing ownership of their own historical investigations over the course of the year.  Throughout the course, they develop their ability to think and write critically, to analyze a range of primary and secondary sources, and to express their ideas in a logical, concise manner.
Freshman course
WORLD CULTURES I (INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS)
World Cultures I is designed to acclimatize international students into an English-speaking history classroom and to instill an enduring curiosity about and love for history and culture. The course traces the development of human culture from the emergence of the modern Homo sapiens in the prehistoric period through the Crusades in the medieval period. Regions studied include the Near and Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean region, and the Americas. After first developing a working vocabulary to discuss culture and history, students will study the comparative themes of geography, mythology, material culture, and institutions in these ancient cultures. The course emphasizes active learning in the classroom through group discussion, note-taking on short lectures, individual and group presentations, and hands-on projects that culminate in both written and oral assessments. Daily classroom participation and the active development of critical thinking and writing are integral to success in the course. The textbook will serve as a general guide on the most current terminology and historical content for studying the ancient world.

Freshman course

WORLD CULTURES II (INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS)
World Cultures II builds on the work done in World Cultures I. The course also provides a stepping stone for international students who are new to the school but have some training in English. In both cases, the course is meant to prepare students to take a U.S. History course in the following year. To accomplish this, students study the history of the world from the birth of the Renaissance to present times. This study serves as a vehicle to help students improve their reading, writing, and speaking skills in the English language. Additionally, students will look at current events and other studies that give them an opportunity to increase their English skills by interacting with a number of mediums. In addition to regular quizzes and tests, students will also write two papers each semester, and prepare a number of oral presentations that will assess the growth of their language and history skills.
Sophomore course.
MODERN WORLD HISTORY
Students will survey Modern World History from the High Middle Ages to the turn of the Twentieth Century, focusing on various aspects of politics, economics, society, and culture. The primary objective of the course is to develop study skills such as annotation, note taking, time management, and organization through the lens of the entire globe. In addition, students will learn to identify common themes in world history, as well as make connections from different eras and cultures. Moreover, the course aims to strengthen analytical and interpretive skills specifically applied to source evaluation.  Students will be evaluated in a multitude of ways including quizzes, tests, creative projects, and essay papers.
Sophomore course
MODERN WORLD HISTORY (HONORS)
Students will survey world history from the High Middle Ages to the turn of the twentieth century with a focus on various aspects of politics, economics, societies and culture. Students will develop advanced critical thinking skills through more rigorous primary source readings with an emphasis on student driven discussions. Moreover, students will be challenged with a “non-western” approach to world history, evaluating the perspectives of different cultures on politics, religion, empire and war. Students will be evaluated in a multitude of ways, including writing assignments, quizzes, tests, creative projects and essay papers.
Sophomore course
U.S. HISTORY
The United States History course examines the social, political, and economic transformations that the United States has experienced through its history. Over the course of the year, students will trace the evolution of the United States, from the founding of the British Colonies, through the Civil War, to the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, and to near present day. Through the examination of primary and secondary sources, students have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the events and people that have shaped this nation. By the conclusion of the year, students should have further developed their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that are necessary for connecting the past to the present.
Junior course
AP PSYCHOLOGY
AP Psychology is a full-year course designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. The aim of the course is to provide the student with a learning experience equivalent to that obtained in most college introductory psychology courses. The major content areas covered by the AP Psychology exam are history and approaches, research methods, biological bases of 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. Students receive academic grades each marking period. The academic grade is based on performance on tests, study guides, quizzes, and other assessments. Tests are weighted especially heavily, as they mimic the multiple-choice and free- response questions of the AP exam.

Junior/Senior/PG elective with departmental permission

IB HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS SL1
History of the Americas SL1 takes a cross-cultural, comparative approach to the examination of two major themes in twentieth century history.  In the first unit, Rights and Protest, students explore the evolution of the American Civil Rights Movement in conversation with the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement. The second unit, Single Party and Authoritarian States, uses Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, and Castro’s Cuba to investigate the ways rulers achieve — and maintain — absolute power.  Working with a variety of primary and secondary sources, students develop their ability to draw connections between diverse histories, to construct cogent historical arguments, and to think and write critically.

Junior course

IB HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS SL2

Students enrolled in IB History of the Americas SL2 will continue their preparation for the IB exam in the spring. The main content for the year will be the Cold War: Superpower Tensions and Rivalries in the 20th Century. Students will examine the tensions between the USSR and the United States at the end of World War II.  The course will also look at China’s role in Asia after the rise of Mao.  We will look at how the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Cuban Missile Crisis related to the Cold War.

A major requirement in the early spring will be the Internal Assessment paper required by the IB.  There will be significant class time devoted to the IA and a review of the IB material from the junior year for the spring exam.
Senior course

IB HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS HL1
The HL1 History of Americas course for the junior year focuses on three topics: The American Civil War, The Emergence of the Americas in Global Affairs 1880-1929, and The Rise of the Authoritarian and Single Party State. The American Civil War examines the institution of slavery, the differences between Northern and Southern culture, military and political leadership, the nature of the war, and Reconstruction. The Emergence of the Americas focuses on why the region became more globally engaged during the period 1800-1929. The United States, Canada and Mexico will be the primary focus. The Rise of the Authoritarian and Single Party State will examine four different states including the origins of such regimes, the role of leaders and of ideology and the nature of the states concerned.

Junior course

IB HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS HL2
During the second year of the HL History of the Americas course, students will continue developing interpretations of history from an international perspective. The course offers a wide-ranging curriculum of study including slavery in the Americas, the Cold War, and the rights and protest movements in both the United States and South Africa. Reading materials will be drawn from textbooks, a selection of primary sources, and publications by professional historians.  Students will undergo a course of intensive research and writing throughout the year, designed to prepare them for the specific skills necessary to undertake the internal and external assessments required for the IB programme and ultimately their college-level courses.

Senior course

IB ECONOMICS SL1/SL2
IB Economics SL is a two-year course forming part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme hexagon’s group three: individuals and societies. Although students earn Cheshire Academy academic grades, ultimate success in this class is determined by performance on the IB’s internal assessment commentaries and external assessment papers written in the second year. Economics is a dynamic social science. The study of economics is essentially about dealing with scarcity, resource allocation, and the methods and processes by which choices are made in the satisfaction of human wants. As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements. IB Economics SL emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms, and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments, and societies. IB Economics SL also encourages students to develop international perspectives, fosters a concern for global issues, and raises students’ awareness of their own responsibilities at a local, national, and international level.
Junior/Senior two-year course
ECONOMICS (FALL OR SPRING)
In this class, students learn how to “think like an economist” and see the importance of economics, not only in sectors of business and government, but also in their day-to-day lives. Students will be introduced to major economic concepts, examine the many interconnected components of the economy, and study major economists and their theories. Topics covered over the course of the semester include scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, supply, demand, externalities, and much more. Students are assessed via quizzes, project and debates, as well as with a final exam and/or paper.  At the conclusion of this course students should be confident in their ability to read, watch and understand economic news and make applications to their daily lives.
Junior-PG elective
PSYCHOLOGY I (FALL)
Psychology I is a one semester introductory course designed to give students the opportunity to explore major topics of interest in Psychology, the science of behavior and mental processes. Since Psychology is a vast field, it is only possible to sample some of the material in one semester. Students interested in a broader exposure may elect to take Psychology II. This course lays the groundwork for understanding how the brain works, the origins of our behavior and mental processes, and human development. An exploration of consciousness, how drugs affect the brain and the benefits of sleep will be included. Students will have the opportunity to explore their own particular interests within these subjects. Each unit will begin with inquiry and the exploration of preconceived ideas, biases, and the analysis of various viewpoints.  Scientific articles, videos and Ted Talks will be used to supplement the textbook. Students will be expected to analyze and summarize primary sources in preparation for class discussions. Research skills are necessary for writing 3-5 page papers and creating presentations.

Junior-PG elective

PSYCHOLOGY II (SPRING)
Psychology II is a one semester introductory course designed to give students the opportunity to begin or continue to explore major topics in Psychology, the science of behavior and mental processes.  Psychology I and II can be taken separately or consecutively. A short review of the workings of the brain and the origins of behavior and mental processes will benefit those students who choose to start their exploration of Psychology by taking Psychology II. Explorations in the areas of memory, intelligence, and psychological disorders can be expected in Psychology II. Each unit will begin with inquiry and the exploration of preconceived ideas, biases, and the analysis of various viewpoints.  Scientific articles, videos and Ted Talks will be used to supplement the textbook. Students will be expected to analyze and summarize primary sources in preparation for class discussions. Research skills are necessary for writing 3-5 page papers and creating presentations.
Junior-PG elective
PHILOSOPHY (FALL OR SPRING)
The term philosophy essentially means “love of wisdom,” and that is both the guiding spirit and main idea of this brief, half-year course. Students will delve into excerpts from Plato, explore questions of determinism and free will, examine the roles of emotion, intuition and reason in ethical development, consider the challenges posed by modern existentialists such as Kierkegaard and Sartre, briefly examine some ideas from non-Western sources and, finally, consider some very modern ideas from thinkers like Michel Foucault and Peter Singer. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to make links between their own experience and the ideas of the philosophers.  For example, they will write an essay about their emerging views on free will and write about the applications of philosophy in an analysis of a Ted Talk about a reformed Neo-Nazi. Naturally, the course is discussion based, and students will be instructed on how to structure clear and logical arguments. The most important goal of this brief introductory course is to encourage a sense of wonder about human existence and instill a desire to continue their study in college.
Junior/Senior elective
CURRENT WORLD ISSUES (FALL OR SPRING)
A major part of the content covered in this course is guided by both events occurring on the world stage and student interest. The most recent semester of this course began during an American news cycle dominated by U.S. constitutional issues related to the First and Second Amendments. After reviewing the basic structure of the American system of checks and balances, students engaged in a close reading of the original seven articles of the U.S. Constitution and the first two amendments in the Bill of Rights. A constitutional scavenger hunt asked students to look at a series of political cartoons and to determine the corresponding section and clause of the Constitution for each cartoon. Students also learn how to read important Supreme Court cases. All of this preparation provided a foundation for students to apply their knowledge to various news and media sources and to form their own informed opinion about important current events. The second half of the semester moves to the international stage and is driven by each student’s individual research interest in a particular current world issue. The final assessment for the class is a detailed annotated bibliography using a variety of sources on a chosen topic. In addition to the final written bibliography, each student is required to lead a class discussion incorporating a resource from their research. While the final written assessment and student-led discussion develop important research and critical writing skills, ultimate success in the course is dependent on the level of active participation and collegiality the students bring to the classroom on a day-to-day basis.

Junior-PG elective

GLOBAL ISSUES

The overall concept of this course is to explore a series of broad contemporary issues in an interdisciplinary, unit-based manner. The course may include some team-teaching, guest speakers and field trips. This course offers a range of intellectual inquiry—from economics, to physical science, to moral philosophy, to literature—and features a high degree of independent investigation and group sharing. Possible units of study include: Climate Change, Global Terrorism, Global Poverty and Genetic Engineering. Students will be challenged and assessed in a variety of ways, including class discussion, tests, research papers and presentations. This course is a required part of the postgraduate year.
PG course

The Middle East (Spring)
Students will survey the history of the Middle East, with special attention given to the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. They will establish a basic knowledge of Islam, examine the impact of European Imperialism, and analyze the legacy of imperialism as it relates to various contemporary “hot spots.”  The primary objective of the course is to help students gain a basic understanding of the general history of the Middle East in order to better comprehend world events today. By the end of the semester, students should be able to form educated personal opinions and participate in meaningful discussions about the Middle East. In addition to regular chapter quizzes and tests, students will devise periodic Power Point Presentations and write an essay paper. 

Junior-PG elective

History Department Faculty

Mike LaSpina

Mike LaSpina

History Department Chair

Chip Boyd

Chip Boyd

History Teacher

Jennifer Dillon

Jennifer Dillon

History Teacher, Sustainability Coordinator

Margaret Leeming

Margaret Leeming

History Teacher

Gail Mauthe

Gail Mauthe

Director of Counseling, Psychology Teacher

James W. McCarthy

James W. McCarthy

History Teacher

Daniel Mehleisen

Daniel Mehleisen

History Teacher

Kathleen Minahan

Kathleen Minahan

History Teacher; Advising Co-Coordinator

James "Butch" Rogers

James "Butch" Rogers

History Teacher

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