Social Studies

With required courses like World History 1 and 2, United States & Virginia History, and Government (which are also available as Honors courses and AP courses), all Westfield students will develop an understanding of social studies and historical thinking skills.  Beyond the required courses, Westfield also offers many popular Social Studies electives (and AP electives) that enable students to dive into topics such as psychology, human geography, African American history, combating intolerance, philosophy, economics, leadership, mentoring, sociology, and so much more!

The information below can be found in this summary PDF

Course Offerings 2021-2022

Core/Required Courses

9th Grade

World History/Geography I

Options (all diploma types): Standard and Honors

10th Grade

World History/Geography II

Options for Advanced Diploma: Standard, Honors, AP World History

Options for Standard Diploma: African American History*, World 2 Standard or Honors, AP World History, Sociology/Current Affairs, Combating Intolerance, or Philosophy/World Religions

11th Grade

Virginia and United States History

Options (all diploma types): Standard, Honors, AP US History

12th Grade

Virginia and United States Government

Options (all diploma types): Standard, Honors, AP US Government, AP Comparative Government

Social Studies Elective Options (Non AP)

Course 9th 10th 11th 12th
African American History x x x x
Combatting Intolerance x x x x
Psychology     x x
Sociology/Current Affairs   x x x
Philosophy/World Religions   x x x
Leadership/SGA x x x x
Peer Helping   x x x

Social Studies Advanced Placement Elective Options 

Course 9th 10th 11th 12th
AP Capstone 1 (Seminar)   x x x
AP Capstone 2 (Research)     x x
AP Psychology     x x
AP Economics (satisfies EPF requirement)     x x
AP Human Geography   x x x
AP European History   x x x

Required Courses - Advanced Diploma

9th Grade

World History/Geography I

Options (all diploma types): Standard and Honors

10th Grade

World History/Geography II

Options for Advanced Diploma: Standard, Honors, AP World History

Options for Standard Diploma: African American History*, World 2 Standard or Honors, AP World History, Sociology/Current Affairs, Combating Intolerance, or Philosophy/World Religions

11th Grade

Virginia and United States History

Options (all diploma types): Standard, Honors, AP US History

12th Grade

Virginia and United States Government

Options (all diploma types): Standard, Honors, AP US Government, AP Comparative Government

Checklist: Are you ready for Honors and/or AP?

Are you willing to learn the content outside of school hours?

Can you handle taking a course where an “A” might not come easily?  

Are you willing to make a commitment to being in the same class for the year?

Are you willing to challenge yourself and see that challenge through?

Can you work independently and keep your materials organized?

Are you willing to advocate for yourself (i.e. asking questions for clarification, emailing about errors or problems, seeking help when struggling)?

Can you explain your understanding both orally and in writing?

Are you willing to learn the course material outside of school hours independently within the confines of a deadline?

Do you agree with the following statement: “I can manage my classes and my extracurricular activities without guidance”?

Can you read and comprehend material that is above your grade level?

Are your parents willing to answer these questions the same way you are?

 

If you answered “No” to these questions, you are encouraged to sign up for Standard courses and non AP electives for now (but you are encouraged to work toward adding honors and/or AP classes in the future).

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are encouraged to sign up for Honors and/or AP courses and electives. 

Don’t forget to reach out to your current teacher for his/her perspective on your readiness level for advanced courses.

 

Elective Offerings

Social Studies Elective Options (Non AP)

Course 9th 10th 11th 12th
African American History x x x x
Combatting Intolerance x x x x
Psychology     x x
Sociology/Current Affairs   x x x
Philosophy/World Religions   x x x
Leadership/SGA x x x x
Peer Helping   x x x

Social Studies Advanced Placement Elective Options 

Course 9th 10th 11th 12th
AP Capstone 1 (Seminar)   x x x
AP Capstone 2 (Research)     x x
AP Psychology     x x
AP Economics (satisfies EPF requirement)     x x
AP Human Geography   x x x
AP European History   x x x

Checklist: Are you ready for Honors and/or AP?

Are you willing to learn the content outside of school hours?

Can you handle taking a course where an “A” might not come easily?  

Are you willing to make a commitment to being in the same class for the year?

Are you willing to challenge yourself and see that challenge through?

Can you work independently and keep your materials organized?

Are you willing to advocate for yourself (i.e. asking questions for clarification, emailing about errors or problems, seeking help when struggling)?

Can you explain your understanding both orally and in writing?

Are you willing to learn the course material outside of school hours independently within the confines of a deadline?

Do you agree with the following statement: “I can manage my classes and my extracurricular activities without guidance”?

Can you read and comprehend material that is above your grade level?

Are your parents willing to answer these questions the same way you are?

If you answered “No” to these questions, you are encouraged to sign up for Standard courses and non AP electives for now (but you are encouraged to work toward adding honors and/or AP classes in the future).

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are encouraged to sign up for Honors and/or AP courses and electives. 

Don’t forget to reach out to your current teacher for his/her perspective on your readiness level for advanced courses.

PHILOSOPHY (295000)

This course must be blocked with World Religions

Grades:  11, 12                                                                           Credit:  one-half

This course offers students an opportunity to investigate classical philosophical issues from both secular and religious sources.  A study of philosophy will help students respect the difference between systematic philosophical investigation and personal belief; develop critical skill in the analysis of the writings of the philosophers and a comprehensive understanding of similarities and differences in philosophical discussion, both religious and secular, throughout the ages; value the rich diversity of ideas and points of view on many issues; and transfer philosophical knowledge and method to the study of other disciplines and to problem solving.

Watch this video to learn more!

WORLD RELIGIONS   (295060) 

This course must be blocked with Philosophy

Grades:  11, 12                                                                           Credit:  one-half

In this course, students develop the background knowledge and habits of mind necessary for an appreciation of the basic beliefs and practices of the world's religions.  Importance is placed on historical origins as well as current beliefs.  Students will study Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Taoism, and other belief systems.

Watch this video to learn more!

PSYCHOLOGY   (290000) 

Grades:  11, 12                                                                                    Credit:  one

In this course, students examine patterns and variations of human behavior and the process of individual human development.  They identify and examine the emotional, cognitive, and physical factors which influence the development of the individual human being.  Students distinguish among the major schools and systems of psychology and methods of investigation.

Watch this video to learn more!

SOCIOLOGY   (250000) 

This course must be blocked with Current Affairs

Grades:  10, 11, 12                                                                    Credit:  one-half

This elective course examines the ways individuals and groups function in society, analyzes social constructs, and explores societal behaviors and beliefs.  Students develop hypotheses about society and gather information to test their claims.

Watch this video to learn more!

CURRENT AFFAIRS   (299632) 

This course must be blocked with Sociology

Grades:  10, 11, 12                                                                    Credit:  one-half

This elective course provides students with an understanding of the skills with which to analyze  basic frameworks, concepts, terminology and principles of contemporary issues and events.  Students will use various resources and technologies to examine topics and issues of local, state, national, international, and global significance.

Watch this video to learn more!

COMBATING INTOLERANCE (982200)

Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12                                                                                           Credit: one

This elective course examines fundamental issues which emerge from an ethnically and economically diverse, democratic society. Topics of study include the nature of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination; individual and governmental responsibility; and the ways in which individual choices can both combat or promote intolerance

Watch this video to learn more!

PEER HELPING I (980760)

Grades:  7, 8, 10, 11, 12                                                                    Credit:  one

Prerequisite:  Successful completion of the selection procedures including application, recommendations, and interview.  Approval by the peer helper program instructors and the Director of Student Services is required.

This course is designed to train students to implement a peer helper program in the high school.  The training program is designed to develop students' interpersonal, support, and leadership skills for assisting other students to grow socially, emotionally, and academically.  Students are taught to help other students (elementary and secondary) by learning to be effective listeners, group leaders, and positive role models.  The course presents information and training in the following areas of peer helping preparation:  verbal and nonverbal communication, self-exploration and self-esteem, listening skills, decision making/problem solving, peer refusal skills, substance abuse prevention, confidentiality and referral procedures.  Emphasis is placed on experiential learning, supervised group activities, and skills practice.

Watch this video to learn more!

AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY (237100)

Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12                                                                           Credit: one

The course will challenge students to explore primary and secondary sources documenting the African American experience by surveying African American history from precolonial Africa through today. It introduces students to key concepts in African American history, from early beginnings in Africa through the transatlantic slave trade, the Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights era and to the present. Students will learn about African American voices, including many not traditionally highlighted, and their contributions to the story of Virginia and America. The course includes a capstone project requiring students to conduct independent research on a question or problem of their choosing and to demonstrate a deeper understanding of African American history. This is an elective course to be offered at each high school. It does not fulfill the VA/US History graduation requirement

Watch this video to learn more!

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) EUROPEAN HISTORY   (239904) 

Grades:  10, 11, 12               Credit:  one/weighted +1.0

The Advanced Placement Program in European History covers the basic chronology of events from 1450 (the High Renaissance) to the present.  Students are expected to demonstrate a knowledge of this basic chronology and of major events and trends in the intellectual cultural, political-diplomatic, and social-economic history of modern Europe.  In addition, students are expected to demonstrate an ability to analyze historical evidence and to express that understanding and analysis in writing.  This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement examination in European History, for which college credit and/or placement is given if a qualifying score is achieved.

Watch this video to learn more!

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) HUMAN GEOGRAPHY (221204)

Grades:  10, 11, 12               Credit:  one/weighted +1.0

The purpose of Advanced Placement Human Geography is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, interaction with, and alteration of the earth's surface.  Students will use spatial concepts and landscape analysis to analyze human social organization and its environmental consequences.  They also will learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice.  This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement examination in Human Geography, for which college credit and/or placement is given if a qualifying score is achieved. This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement examination in Human Geography, for which college credit and/or placement is given if a qualifying score is achieved.

Watch this video to learn more! 

View the information below in a PDF 

AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY  Learn about the world around you!

WHAT IS HUMAN GEOGRAPHY?  The study of where humans, their activities, and their institutions are located and why they are there. ex: Where did a language originate and where has it diffused?

UNITS COVERED 

  1. Geography:  Its Nature and Perspectives Interpreting maps, sites and situations, regions, spatial distribution.

  2. Population and Migration  Density, immigration and emigration, fertility and mortality rates, population pyramids.

  3. Cultural Patterns and Processes Religion, language, popular and folk culture, gender, race and ethnicity.

  4. Political Organization of Space Boundaries and territories, political organizations and patterns, terrorism., 

  5. Agricultural and Rural Land Use Food production and consumption, Neolithic and Green Revolutions, biotechnology and GMOs

  6. Industrialization and Economic Development Transportation, globalization, MDCs and LDCs, energy and technology.

  7. Cities and Urban Land Use  Housing patterns, growth of cities, urban planning, climate change 

SKILLS YOU WILL LEARN

  • Identify countries on a map!

  • Recognize trends across multiple world regions!

  • Gain useful knowledge for careers in politics, international relations, business, journalism, history, etc. 
  • Challenge conventional world beliefs!
  • Connect human interaction with the environment!

  • Become a better global citizen!

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) MACRO AND MICRO ECONOMICS (280404)

Grades:  11, 12                     Credit:  one/weighted +1.0

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the  economic principles which apply to an economic system as a whole. This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the principles of economics which apply to the functions of decision-makers, both consumers and producers, within economic systems. Topics include, national economics, international economics, the nature and functions of product markets, the study of factor markets, and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. This course prepares students to take the Advanced Placement examinations in Macro and Micro Economics, for which college credit and/or placement may be given if a qualifying score is achieved. This course fulfills the Economic and Personal Finance  and virtual graduation requirements.

Watch this video to learn more!

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) PSYCHOLOGY (290204)

Grades:  11, 12                     Credit:  one/weighted +1.0

The purpose of this course is 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 methods psychologists use in their science and practice.  The aim of Advanced Placement Psychology is to provide the students with a learning experience equivalent to that obtained in an introductory college psychology course.  College credit and/or placement may be given if a qualifying score is made on the Advanced Placement examination.  The rigorous course syllabus and college level texts both suggest that students who enroll should be highly motivated and intellectually curious.

Watch this video to learn more!

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) CAPSTONE 1: SEMINAR (982004)

Grades:  10, 11, 12               Credit:  one/weighted +1.0

This course engages students in cross-curricular critical thinking of concepts that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. Using an inquiry framework, students practice reading and analyzing articles, research studies, and foundational literary and philosophical texts; listening to and viewing speeches, broadcasts, and personal accounts; and experiencing artistic works and performances. Students learn to synthesize information from multiple sources, develop their own perspectives in research based written essays, and design and deliver oral and visual presentations, both individually and collaboratively. Students who complete this course and who choose to take the Advanced Placement examination in AP Capstone and may earn college credit if a qualifying score is achieved.

Watch this video to learn more!

LEADERSHIP

HONORS WORLD HISTORY 2

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) WORLD HISTORY

1200- present

Cathy Cespedes and Ryan Chapman

https://www.collegeboard.org/

Watch this video to learn more! 

View the information below in a PDF.

In AP World History Modern:

Students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes from 1200 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; developing historical arguments; making historical connections; and utilizing reasoning about comparison, causation, and continuity and change over time. 

Historical Themes

The course provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation. 

College Course Equivalent AP World History Modern: 

Is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory college or university survey of modern world history. 

Recommended Prerequisites: Students should be able to read a college-level textbook, write grammatically correct, write using complete sentences, have a genuine interest in the subject, and earned World I Honors credit.

Course and Exam Description

The AP World History Exam assesses student understanding of the historical thinking skills and learning objectives outlined in the course framework.  The exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and students are required to answer 55 multiple-choice questions, 3 short-answer questions 1 document-based question, and 1 long essay question.  The details of the exam, including exam weighting and timing can be found here.

 

HONORS US/VA HISTORY

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) US HISTORY

ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) GOVERNMENT and ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT

Advanced Placement Government 2022-23:  Course Information/Description

Welcome to A.P. Government at Westfield!  We’re looking forward to what should prove to be a very exciting year as we have now resumed “normal” AP instruction.  We will be heading into year two of the Biden presidential administration and a new Virginia governor will be sworn in, with many critical issues and challenges lying ahead beyond the lingering pandemic, including economic recovery amid the growing federal budget deficit, immigration reform, uncertainty in the European Union, and ongoing tensions with China.  Meanwhile, political control will be at stake in midterm congressional elections in the fall.   These events should provide excellent opportunities to learn about the foundations upon which this country was built, and to tackle contemporary issues facing the world as a whole.

A.P. Government is taught at the college level and is a difficult and demanding course for many high school students.  The main objective is to improve student comprehension and writing skills.  FCPS recognizes the significantly higher expectations placed on students in an A.P. course by awarding an additional 1.0 to the grade at the end of the year if the student has taken the A.P. Exam.   Students will be expected to analyze and evaluate significant political data and trends.  Students who successfully complete the course will have a good chance of passing the Advanced Placement U.S. test in May and thus may receive college credit for the course.

There are two options for students in signing up for A.P. Government:

Option One – AP United States Government only (no comparative component) – you are required to take the AP United States Government Exam in May in order to receive the 1.0 added to your GPA.

Option Two – AP United States and Comparative Government (two-semester combo) – you are required to take the AP United States Government Exam in May in order to receive the 1.0 added to your GPA and you will also take the AP Comparative Government exam, also in May.

Who should take A.P. Government?

1.  Students who have succeeded in A.P. U.S. History and Honors U.S. History are encouraged to sign up.  These students will find       themselves generally prepared and aware of the stringent dictates of an A.P. course.

2.  Students who have excelled in advanced U.S. History courses should be prepared for success in A.P. Government and should      discuss their placement into A.P. with their previous history teachers.  No one should enroll in A.P. Government on the recommendation of their counselor alone!

3.  Students need good study and work habits and good attendance to succeed in A.P. Government.

If you have questions about the appropriateness of this course for you, please see Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Downes, or Ms. English to discuss your concerns and preview books & materials.

Why should I take A.P. Government?

1.  It's informative and enlightening!  Politics and government can be topics of great interest as you prepare to enter the adult world.      Discussion and debate are lively and interesting in A.P. because your fellow students share your interest & your level of prepared-      ness. 

2.  Again, this course will prepare you to take the A.P. Exam that could qualify you for a semester of college credit.

Course requirements

1.  Students will read a college level textbook (two for the comparative course) plus supplemental readings in A.P. Government.        Please feel free to come to our classrooms to peruse the texts.  Generally, students may expect to read and study one chapter      per week on average (slightly more for comparative).

2.  Students will be expected to produce model free response essays in A.P. Government. Writing skills are basic to success at      this level. Some typical questions:  

  1. Is A.P. Government really hard?

Answer:  Yes & no.  (That’s the way so much of government & politics is - there is no clear, black & white answer!)  It will depend on the previous courses you have taken, your skill level and your determination.  Comprehension levels are necessarily high in Ad-vanced Placement Government.  Familiarize yourself with the textbooks and get an idea of what you will be expected to understand.  The Advanced Placement program is not interested in persuading colleges that these tests reflect college level understanding if they are not in fact college-level.  Assure yourself & your parents that you WILL be taking a course that is similar to that required by most universities.  Outside readings and tests are designed to enhance very advanced comprehension.    Analytical skills are also key in A.P. Government.  We need not only to understand what we read but to analyze it.  You don’t want to simply absorb information or opinions, you need to tear it apart, look for flaws & strengths, and use that basis to form your own educated views. 

The good news is that you are accomplishing these tasks in the context of a high school.  Teachers are here to help you.  In college, professors will expect you to know how to do all these things already.  On the other hand, we expect to teach you these skills and we will work with you as much as necessary to make that happen.

  1. Is it do-able if I put in the time? 

Answer:  Yes!  What you will contribute is the hard work.  Make no mistake about it - it will be much more difficult and time consuming than a standard high school course in American Government.  However, the rewards are the college credit and the skills you will acquire that will be employed once you reach college.  Most importantly, you will find that this is an INTERESTING course - yes, interesting! - because you and classmates have the interest and the drive that brought you into the class in the first place.  Class discussions and can be fun, lively, and meaningful.  We are all about focusing on the issues that concerned citizens care about, discuss, and use to determine their voting preferences.

3)   What kind of time commitment are we talking?

Answer:  It depends on your skill level and study habits. Students typically can succeed with 1-2 hours devoted between class meetings, allowing for the required reading and assignments. Again, check out the textbooks!  In your judgment, how long might it take you to read and understand the chapters?

We look forward to working with you!

The AP Government Team

Ms. English—AP US Government Mr. Gibbs—AP US & Comparative Government