The History and Social Studies program motivates students to raise, investigate, and respond to meaningful questions about the human experience, so that they may become informed citizens and lifelong learners. We believe that learning is social and that we learn from one another. To expand students’ worldviews, we ask them to be open to new ideas and also share their own.
Lower School students begin their understanding of culture and the world within their own classrooms, observing and reflecting on the gifts each student offers and the roles and responsibilities of individuals in a community. Students later study their place in the school, and investigate the greater Portland community, Oregon, the United States, and the world, often through the lens of hidden stories in history, the perspectives of different stakeholders, and potential solutions to social and environmental dilemmas.
Skill development is at the core of the middle school program. In order to be an effective historian, students learn to research, take notes, and analyze how historical events continue to impact the modern world. The curriculum begins with an integrated English-History Humanities class in grade 6 and then discrete history courses in grades 7 and 8 that cover history of the Americas and modern world. Particular emphasis is placed on developing strong critical reading and writing skills, as well as project management and collaboration.
Upper School students examine topics in-depth rather than surveying broadly large periods of time. Whether in the required ninth grade World History and tenth grade United States History courses, or in an array of electives in grades 11 and 12, students develop an understanding of how politics, beliefs, economics, and issues of social justice have shaped our past and present. Upper School History and Social Science classes progress student skills in inquiry, critical and historical thinking, and communication via various modes in order for students to engage in the dynamic landscape of human interaction.