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Upper School Academic Departments

History

The history curriculum begins with a required three-year sequential program that includes the study of art in historical and cultural contexts. In keeping with current skills and needs as well as our school’s mission, the goal is to enable students to develop habits pertaining to critical thinking skills, acceptance of uncertainty, and an appreciation of why things occur. In addition, an understanding of the common origins of different cultures and cultural diversity are encouraged to enhance students’ personal and intellectual growth. 

Students develop a comprehensive understanding of history through a multicultural and interdisciplinary curriculum. The curriculum in grades 9-11 incorporates art history. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are also given the opportunity to enhance their study of history through a range of Advanced Placement courses and electives. All students are required to learn appropriate study skills, including library and online research techniques as well as the appropriate use of current technology. Research and writing is a major component of the history curriculum. Students write a major research paper each year. The successful completion of these papers in grades 9-11 is an expectation of the department.
  • World History I

    Grade 9
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Ages of Humanity (“AOH”) 9 World History I is the first year of a two-year course dedicated to exploring world civilizations and cultures. World History students will analyze important events in the history of East Asia, the subcontinent of India, and the Middle East. This course will focus on developing essential skills such as critical thinking and analysis, verbal and written argumentation, and engaging in academic conversations. Each student will complete a substantial evidence-based paper. During the course of the year, the class will meet with a dedicated art historian to “read” visual documents, compare and contrast different means of visual expression, and practice valuable analytical skills that they will continue to employ in their regular history classroom.
  • World History II

    Grade 10
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Ages of Humanity (“AOH”) 10 World History II is the second year of a two-year course exploring world civilizations and cultures. World History students will analyze important events in the history of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. This course will focus on developing essential skills such as critical thinking and analysis, verbal and written argumentation, and engaging in academic conversations. Each student will complete a substantial research paper. During the course of the year, the class will meet with a dedicated art historian to “read” visual documents, compare and contrast different means of visual expression, and practice valuable analytical skills that they will continue to employ in their regular history classroom. An Honors designation may be earned by completing a series of assignments in addition to the regular curriculum over the course of the academic year. 
  • AP World History

    Grade 10
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval
    Advanced Placement World History is a fast-paced college-level survey course that introduces students to world civilizations and cultures from 1200 CE to modern times, with enrollment being subject to an application process and departmental approval. The class will begin with the Mongol Empire and conclude with a discussion of modern topics. Students will trace the historical development of important legal and political concepts, and examine the history and impact of major religious and philosophical traditions. Additionally, students will analyze the connections between major developments in science and technology, and the growth of economies. While covering content, students will use the process of historical inquiry to research and interpret using multiple sources of evidence. During the course of the year, the class will meet with a dedicated art historian to “read” visual documents, compare and contrast different means of visual expression, and practice valuable analytical skills that they will continue to employ in their regular history classroom. Finally, all students will successfully complete a major research paper during the course of the year and take the AP exam at the completion of the course.
  • American History

    Grade 11
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Ages of Humanity (“AOH”) 11 American History is the third course in the required sequence of courses that surveys American history from the early American colonies to the present. This course incorporates political, cultural, and economic themes, providing students with a basic knowledge of the major issues and events of American history and critically analyzes historical U.S. events from multiple perspectives to ensure that the voices of the various stakeholders are heard. A socio-historical approach is taken in order to more fully treat the experiences of people of color and other minorities in order to align with the school’s mission related to our diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging (DEIB) framework. In partnership with the Harvard Business School and their Case Method Institute for the History of American Democracy, we also use the case study format to teach significant periods or events in American history. All students will successfully complete a major research paper during the second semester. An Honors designation may be earned by completing a series of assignments in addition to the regular curriculum over the course of the academic year. Those assignments will be offered and explained to the students by the classroom teacher the first week of class.
  • AP US History

    Grade 11
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval
    AP U.S. History is an advanced course taught according to the guidelines and syllabus of the College Board, with enrollment being subject to an application process and departmental approval. This survey course covers a wide time span, from pre-Columbian societies through the post-Cold War period, and incorporates many themes, such as identity, diversity, culture, demographics, economics, the environment, globalism, reform, religion, and politics and citizenship. In addition to the overarching prescribed AP format, we will take a case study approach to dive deeper into significant periods of American history. This has been coordinated in partnership with the Harvard Business School and their Case Method Institute for the History of American Democracy. During the course of the year, the class will meet with a dedicated art historian to “read” visual documents, compare and contrast different means of visual expression, and practice valuable analytical skills that they will continue to employ in their regular history classroom. All students will successfully complete a major research paper and take the AP exam at the completion of the course.
  • AP Art History

    Grade 12
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval
    The AP Art History course is equivalent to a two-semester introductory college course that explores topics such as the nature of art, art-making, and responses to art, with enrollment being subject to an application process and departmental approval. By investigating a specific image set of 250 works of art characterized by diverse artistic traditions from prehistory to the present, the course fosters an in-depth and holistic understanding of the history of art from a global perspective. Students become active participants in the global art world, engaging with its forms and content as they experience, research, discuss, read, and write about art, artists, art-making, responses to and interpretations of art. Students will have several opportunities to engage with artworks in person through class field trips and optional assignments. Students will take the AP Art History exam at the completion of the course.
  • AP US Government & AP Comparative Government

    Grade 12
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval

    This course combines two AP classes—AP Comparative Government and Politics and AP U.S. Government and Politics—with enrollment being subject to an application process and departmental approval. In order to offer a more robust and complex understanding of government and politics domestically and globally, AP Government and Politics interweaves the curriculum of two AP courses and is taught according to the College Board syllabi. Topics of study include major political concepts and themes and students learn to compare and contrast political institutions and processes across nations. The course focuses on the governments of Great Britain, China, Russia, Iran, Nigeria, and Mexico. The course also dives deeply into the U.S. government by teaching the constitutional underpinnings of American government, such as political parties, interest groups, and mass media, the institutions of the national government, public policy, and civil rights and liberties. Students are expected to take the AP examination in U.S. Government and Politics and the AP examination in Comparative Government and Politics at the end of the course.
  • AP US Government and Politics

    Grade 12
    Full Year
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Departmental approval
    The course follows the syllabus of the College Board, with enrollment being subject to an application process and departmental approval. Topics include the constitutional underpinnings of American government, such as political parties, interest groups, and mass media, the institutions of national government, public policy, and civil rights and liberties. Students will take the AP examination in U.S. Government and Politics at the end of the completion of the course. 
  • Practical Economics & Financial Responsibility

    Grades 11-12
    One Semester 
    1/2 credit
    This project-based course presents a wide yet specific exposure to the history, process, and evolution of the U.S. economic system in a microeconomic analysis. This course includes the origins and development of the American economic system from Adam Smith’s "Wealth of Nations" to the present. While focusing on the basic fundamental origins and development of the free-market system and capitalism, the course provides students with an in-depth look at the housing market crash of 2008, understanding credit, living under a monthly balanced budget, filing taxes, the stock market, and the money supply through a chronological study of major issues, movements, people, and events. Students learn historical and analytical skills to explore the events, people, and ideas that fostered the free enterprise system in depth. Students will participate in several group multimedia projects, including going to a car dealership and producing a “Car Buying” project.
  • Music History - The Jazz Age

    Grades 9 -12
    One Semester 
    ½ credit
    This course seeks to introduce students to the major movements and artistic innovators of the jazz music tradition, from African and African-American folk origins through blues, ragtime, early jazz, swing, bebop, hard bop, cool jazz, free jazz, avant-garde, jazz-rock and fusion, to postmodern and contemporary developments in the jazz mainstream and beyond. In addition to musical issues, we will examine critical issues related to the social and cultural progress of African-Americans and other minority groups, and discuss how that history influenced the development of jazz.
  • World History II Honors

    Students in World History II Honors build upon the skills and content of World History I through an exploration of European and African histories. While covering significant historical movements and periods, World History II Honors focuses primarily on the analysis of case studies and emphasizes historical analysis through the study of primary and scholarly secondary sources. Students will be assessed primarily on their ability to construct sophisticated written and oral arguments that are supported with evidence.
  • AP Human Geography

    AP Human Geography introduces high school students to college-level introductory human geography or cultural geography. The content is presented thematically rather than regionally and is organized around the discipline’s main subfields: economic geography, cultural geography, political geography, and urban geography. The approach is spatial and problem-oriented. Case studies are drawn from all world regions, with an emphasis on understanding the world in which we live today. Historical information serves to enrich analysis of the impacts of phenomena such as globalization, colonialism, and human-environment relationships on places, regions, cultural landscapes, and patterns of interaction. Specific topics with which students engage include the following:
    • problems of economic development and cultural change
    • consequences of population growth, changing fertility rates, and international migration
    • impacts of technological innovation on transportation, communication, industrialization, and other aspects of human life
    • struggles over political power and control of territory
    • conflicts over the demands of ethnic minorities, the role of women in society, and the inequalities between developed and developing economies
    • explanations of why location matters to agricultural land use, industrial development, and urban problems
    • the role of climate change and environmental abuses in shaping the human landscapes on Earth

Department Faculty

  • Photo of Katherine Hardwick
    Katherine Hardwick
    History Department Chair
    703-212-2940
    The George Washington University - B.A.
    Vanderbilt University - M.Ed
  • Photo of Sourosh Amani
    Sourosh Amani
    History Teacher
    703-212-2794
    Berry College - Bachelor of Arts
  • Photo of Steven Ebner
    Steven Ebner
    History Teacher
    (703) 212-2791
    University of Virginia - B.A.
    American University's Washington College of Law - J.D.
    Old Dominion University - M.S. Ed.
  • Photo of George Garikes
    George Garikes
    History Teacher
    (703) 212-2911
    University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL - J.D.
    University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL - B.A.
  • Photo of Trae Humphreys
    Trae Humphreys
    History Teacher
    703-212-2886
    Susquehanna University - BA
  • Photo of Jean Hunt
    Jean Hunt
    Art History Teacher
    (703) 212-2785
    Amherst College - B.A.
    University of Massachusetts - Amherst - M.A.
  • Photo of William McNiel
    William McNiel
    History Teacher
    (703) 212-2916
    University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL - B.A.
    University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - M.A.
    Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada - Ph.D.
  • Photo of Kara Sandoval
    Kara Sandoval
    Art History Teacher and Yearbook Advisor
    (703) 212-2908
    James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA - B.A.
    George Mason University, Fairfax, VA - M.Ed.
  • Photo of Kevin York-Simmons
    Kevin York-Simmons
    History Teacher
    703-212-2958
    Duke University - A.B.
    Yale University - M.A.R.
    Vanderbilt University - Ph.D.
Age 3-Grade 12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia

Campuses

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Age 3-Grade 5
    400 Fontaine Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22302
  • Middle School

    Grades: 6-8
    4401 West Braddock Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304
  • Upper School

    Grades: 9-12
    1000 St. Stephen's Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304