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Social Science Department

The goal of the Social Science department is to implement a standards-based curriculum that will meet or exceed State of California content standards. Students will acquire social studies literacy and vocabulary, critical thinking, and assessment skills. The core courses will be offered from grades 10 through 12 with alternatives to fill the regular courses offered at all grade levels.


Mr. Damian Willis, Mr. Cuauhtemoc Mauricio, Ms. Chloe Mercado Weber, Mr. Joe Auch, and Dr. Manuel Rustin

WORLD HISTORY - GRADE 10. A-G Approved -10 CREDITS. This course examines the major turning points that shaped the modern world from the late eighteenth century through the present, including the cause and course of the two world wars. It traces the rise of democratic ideas and develops an understanding of the historical roots of current world issues, especially as they pertain to international relations. It extrapolates from the American experience that democratic ideals are often achieved at a high price, remain vulnerable, and are not practiced everywhere in the world. Students develop an understanding of current issues and relate them to their historical, geographic, political, economic, and cultural contexts. Students consider multiple accounts of events in order to understand international relations from a variety of perspectives. An extra Honors point is not granted for A-G.

AP WORLD HISTORY - GRADE 10. A-G Approved-10 CREDITS. This course is a college level survey course on world history. It is designed to follow the advanced placement curriculum so that students will be prepared to take the AP exam.
U.S. HISTORY - GRADE 11. A-G Approved-10 CREDITS. This course examines major turning points in American history in the twentieth century. Following a review of the nation’s beginnings and the impact of the Enlightenment on U.S. democratic ideals, students build upon the tenth grade study of global industrialization to understand the emergence and impact of new technology and a corporate economy, including the social and cultural effects. It traces the change in the ethnic composition in the American society, the movement for equal rights for racial minorities and women, and the role of the United States as a major world power. Emphasis is placed on the expanding role of the federal government and the federal courts as well as the continuing tension between the individual and the state. Students consider the major social problems of our times and trace their causes in historical events. It teaches the United States has served as a role model for other nations and that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are not accidents, but the results of a defined set of political principles that are not always basic to citizens of other countries. Students understand that our rights under the U.S. Constitution are a precious inheritance that depends on an educated citizenry for their preservation and protection. No extra Honors point is granted for AG
AP U.S. HISTORY - GRADES 11-12. A-G Approved-10 CREDITS. This course will survey the history of the United States of America from approximately 1492 A.D. to modern times from the “discovery” and settlement of the New World to the very recent past. The primary focus of the course will provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of some of the major themes in American history, to train students to analyze historical evidence, and to develop in students the ability to analyze and express historical understanding in writing. In addition, this course seeks to prepare students to successfully complete the AP U.S. History exam scheduled for May of each academic year.
ECONOMICS – GRADE 12. A-G Approved-5 CREDITS. This is a semester course that along with U.S. Government comprises the senior social science requirement. It examines fundamental economic concepts, applying the tools (graphs, statistics, and equations) from other subject areas to the understanding of operations and institutions of economic systems. Studied in a historical context are the basic principles of micro- and macroeconomics, international economics, comparative economic systems, measurement, and methods. No extra Honors point is granted for A-G.
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT - GRADE 12. A-G Approved-5 CREDITS. This is a semester course that along with Economics comprises the senior social science requirement. Students pursue a deeper understanding of the institutions of American government. It compares systems of government in the world today and analyzes the history and changing interpretations of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the current state of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the government. An emphasis is placed on analyzing the relationship among federal, state and local governments, with particular attention paid to important historical documents such as the Federalist Papers. These standards represent the culmination of civic literacy as students prepare to vote, participate in community activities, and assume the responsibilities of citizenship. No extra Honors point is granted for A-G.
BUSINESS ECONOMICS – GRADE 12. A-G Approved-5 CREDITS. This program will provide students with an introduction to the key concepts of economics as it pertains to business – supply, demand, profit, costs and markets, microeconomics from macroeconomics. Students will learn the different business descriptions and the program will provide students with a broad overview of the global economy. Students will form their own teams and present their strategic recommendations via a PowerPoint presentation.
URBAN CULTURE AND SOCIETY – GRADES 9-12. 10 CREDITS. This course will allow students to study contemporary American history with special attention paid to the role of art, media, and entertainment as a critical part of understanding history. The course will help students support general academic skills and introduce students to the growing academic field of hip hop studies.
ETHNIC STUDIES - Grade 11. A-G Approved -10 CREDITS. This course explores America’s epic history with an emphasis on the stories and voices of the many communities that together shape America. This course follows an intentional, inquiry-based approach to an inclusive history that honors the stories of peoples who have traditionally been left out of the telling of how America came to be. Ethnic Studies in PUSD stems from a critical need to provide students with access to a particular learning experience that honors the cultural diversity and history of our communities and that examines the inequities that have endured as a result of the legacies of oppression and bigotry.