Social Studies

For life beyond Penn Charter.

Whether for college or citizenship, graduate school or a profession, the Social Studies department equips students with the skills, strategies, and content that will serve them well after graduation. We encourage students to appreciate different perspectives, be they global, national, or local. Upper School courses develop research, writing, and critical reading skills through studies of the ancient societies, the modern world, and  United States history. If they wish, students can opt to take specialized electives and Advanced Placement survey courses.

"In our fast-paced and ever-changing world, it's increasingly important to help our students answer the question, 'How did we get here?'" Social Studies teacher

Key Characteristics

Social Studies at Penn Charter seeks to weave together three significant strands: skills, discipline-specific content, and connections to the present and future. These strands emerge and re-occur in the curriculum through explorations of essential questions such as: What is a just society? What causes social change? How is our knowledge of the past constructed? What is the weight of history on the present moment?

Curricular Highlights

Research. In each core course, students conduct in-depth research projects on a topic of their choosing. 

Students learn historical thinking skills, including source evaluation, corroboration, and analysis. More details can be found on the History Research Google Site.

Interdisciplinary Coursework. The American Studies course, team-taught by Social Studies and English faculty, is a student-centered curriculum that focuses on reflection and community.

Philosophy. An in-depth study of prominent philosophers and topics that prepares students to lead philosophical discussions with Lower School students and lead extended peer discussions on current philosophical issues.

9th and 10th grade history. Students examine the interactions and influences of politics and geography on civilizations, with a particular emphasis on religion, philosophy, and social traditions in these cultures.

“All of my teachers are so passionate about their subject. My teacher last year could talk about the French Revolution for hours without even glancing at her notes.

She really cared about making sure we understood the material, and also that we were able to use our knowledge to argue different sides and engage with the curriculum in a more personal way.” Annika Murray, Class of 2019

Graduation Requirements

The graduation requirement in Social Studies will be met when students successfully complete the required full-year courses in 9th, 10th and 11th grades. Juniors and seniors are encouraged to pursue topics of interest beyond the required courses in a variety of electives. All of these courses are academically demanding and are designed for students who wish to pursue historical studies in a more focused manner.

Click Here to View the Course List