History & Social Studies

At OES, we know we share a civic purpose to help form young people who will be part of the American democratic culture — we prepare students to “realize their power for good as citizens of local and world communities.” In History and Social Studies, students experience the complexity of democracy as they think critically, discuss and sometimes argue about ideas, pursue their own inquiries, co-create solutions to meaningful problems, and build community. Because we value the diversity of affiliations our students and their families bring to our community, and because we celebrate a wide range of voices, and perspectives, students engage in open dialogue about public life and learn the principles of civil discourse.

Coursework in History & Social Studies at OES motivates students to raise, investigate, and respond to meaningful questions about human experience. By engaging the past and present through rigorous inquiry, students learn how communities, societies, and cultures function and shape the world. It is not possible to understand our communities and ourselves without knowing about the people, events, trends, and issues that have shaped our present. Indeed, the discipline of history is more than just a body of knowledge — it is a way of gaining perspective on who we are and what we are doing.

Teachers of History & Social Studies use simulations and challenging projects to develop students’ creativity and technology skills, as they seek to solve complex problems with innovative solutions. In this manner, students develop these enduring understandings:

  • Engaged citizenship requires action, and that citizenship is seen differently throughout history, and in the context of different economic and political systems.
  • Asking questions and pursuing answers about history help us understand the human experience.
  • Communities, societies, and cultures function and shape the world, and are shaped by geography, identity and power dynamics.
  • Certain habits of mind and behaviors are needed to adapt to changing circumstances, and that by being actively involved in communities, individuals and groups can impact and changed societies.
  • History is open to interpretation, based on perspective — people interpret the past differently, and their perspectives impact narratives of history.

Coursework in History & Social Studies reinforces these basic academic skills:

  • Note-taking
  • Research
  • Expository writing
  • Reflective writing
  • Creative writing
  • Reading comprehension
  • Oral presentation
  • Critical analysis
  • Opportunities to enhance students' collaborative habits