Breadcrumbs

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 and modern world, the United States, along with specialized electives and Advanced Placement 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?'" Lee Payton, former department chair

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

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 ninth, 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.

Course List

One Semester

All Year


Courses Not Offered in 2020-21