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Social Studies

Social Studies



The ultimate goal of Social Studies coursework at Arlington Catholic is for students to make positive contributions, based on knowledge and faith, to the world in which they live. Students gain a foundational understanding of various cultures in the ninth and tenth grade which allows them to have a greater understanding of the modern world. In the eleventh grade, students understand our own country and how they can be better citizens by studying themes of US History that extend across time periods. In the senior year students are able to choose from a variety of electives that allow them to develop a greater understanding of economic, legal, and psychological concepts that can inform their lives and help them think critically through the various lenses. We see the student’s positive contributions to the world as beginning in high school and encourage students to immediately apply their learning to their lives by getting involved in politics and service projects that make the United States and the world a better place for all to live.

The Social Studies Department seeks, in accordance with the philosophy of Arlington Catholic High School, to prepare our students for active participation in lifelong learning; to use that knowledge to stimulate social awareness from a Christian perspective; and to provide a solid foundation for future learning.

The Department fosters the development of critical thinking, discussion and writing skills on all levels. The use of technology is integral to our teaching and we are excited about the digital initiative and ways to use the iPad and Google Classroom.

The Social Studies Department also sponsors the school’s participation in National History Day. All freshman students are required to participate, with optional participation at other levels.

Students are required to take either Western Civilization or Honors World History I in their freshman year and United States History in their junior year. Students are required to take 3 years of Social Studies, therefore they must choose to take an elective Social Studies course in either their sophomore or senior years. Many students take advantage of the variety of electives and take a Social Studies course all four years. The AP Seminar course will fulfill one year of Social Studies.

The department offers Advanced Placement courses in World History, US History and Psychology. Our students consistently score above the national average on these exams, which allow them to earn college credit, higher course placement, or both.



Robert Sarmiento, Social Studies Department Chair,
BA Political Science, University of Washington
MEd, University of Washington
William Cobb,
BA History & Education, Emmanuel College
Michael Foley,
BA Sociology, Boston College
MA History, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Christian Guarino,
BA, History- Suffolk University
MA Ed (in progress)- Lesley University
Elizabeth Heston,
BA English and History, College of the Holy Cross
M. Ed. Secondary Education, Providence College
Nathaniel Naughton, ’90,
BA History, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
MA History, Salem State College
CAGS Educational Administration, Cambridge College
Nicole Praetorius,
BA History, Siena College
MA Social Studies Education, SUNY, Albany
CAGS, Moderate Disabilities, Lesley University
Hayley Samperi,
BA, History & Psychology- Indiana University,
MEd- Curriculum & Instruction (in progress)- Western New England University

Course Offerings

All students are required to take three years of Social Studies, including a history course in Grade 9 and US History in Grade 11. The AP Seminar course will count towards this requirement, but may not replace US History.

Western Civilization


1 Credit

This course is a survey of the great civilizations of the western world. Beginning with pre-history, and ancient cultures, students will then discover the histories and culture of Greece and Rome; the rise of the Islamic World; and the development of Europe through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The course concludes with a study of Absolutism. Students develop skills in geography and writing, as well as in document reading and analysis.  

Grade: 9
Honors World History


1 Credit

 This course is a study of the great civilizations of the world, beginning with Prehistory through the Reformation and Renaissance. Students will study The Middle East, China, India, Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Europe.  The main aspects of a civilization are covered: government structure, culture, belief systems, societal structure, and geography. Emphasis will be placed on critical reading and writing as well as the development of a student’s analytical skills.

 Grade: 9

Honors Modern World History


1 Credit

 This honors course explores major themes in world history from the time of the Scientific Revolution until the present day. Students will examine political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of history. Significant topics include the Enlightenment, Nationalism, Imperialism, Wars of the 20th century, Popular Culture and significant revolutions (both violent and nonviolent). Great emphasis will be placed on analysis of issues and writing. Students are required to complete a written research project for this course. Completion of a history course in the sophomore year is required for admission to AP U.S. History.

 Grade: 10

Modern World History


1 Credit

 This course examines the major turning points of the modern world from approximately 1700 to contemporary time. Components of this class include: Historical Linkage, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, Nationalism and the growth of Democracy, the Rise of Imperialism and Colonialism, World War I, Totalitarianism, World War II and the Cold War. Students should develop an understanding of the historic as well as contemporary geographic, social, political and economic consequences of the various areas and problems they review. Completion of a history course in the sophomore year is required for admission to AP U.S. History.

Grade: 10

AP World History

1 Credit

This course allows students to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, in interaction with different types of human societies. Students examine and compare changes and the consequences of these changes throughout world history; it is these changes that, over time, have resulted in the knitting of the world into the tightly integrated whole it is today. The AP World History Exam covers material from approximately 8000 B.C. through the present day. Given the time frame for the course, preference will be given to students who have completed Honors World History, although the Department Chair/course instructor may allow students who did exceptionally well in Western Civilization to select this course with the understanding that additional reading may be required. Students are required to take the AP exam in May.            

 Grade: 10

United States History


1 Credit

 This course provides a one year survey of American history by exploring the themes  of  democracy, war, immigration, and social change. Examination of primary/secondary sources, critical thinking skills, cooperative learning, and discussion will be used to allow students to understand how the past relates to the present and the future.

 Grade: 11

Honors United States History


1 Credit

This course provides a one year survey of American history by exploring the themes of democracy, war, immigration, and social change. Examination of primary/secondary sources, critical thinking skills, cooperative learning, and discussion will be used to allow students to understand how the past relates to the present and the future. While essentially the same content as US History, instruction is at an accelerated pace and more independent work is required. 

Grade:  11

Requirement: Completion of history or AP Seminar in the sophomore year and Departmental approval.
AP United States History


1 Credit

This course is a single academic year survey of the history of the USA from first discovery to the present day. The course examines the geographic, political, diplomatic, cultural, social and economic forces that converged over time to forge a unique and dynamic entity that continues to impact the evolution of world society. The course involves extensive reading assignments and written work to prepare for class. Students must take the AP Exam in May.

Grade: 11

Requirement: Completion of history or AP Seminar in the sophomore year and departmental approval.
AP Psychology


1 Credit

Advanced Placement Psychology introduces 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 sub-fields within psychology (neuroscience, development, learning, personality, etc.). Students also learn about the ethics and methods that psychologists use in their study. This course requires nightly reading assignments, numerous writing assignments, and extensive class participation. There is also a summer assignment for this course. Emphasis is placed on the ability to think, read, and write in a critical fashion. Students are required to take the AP examination.

This course will have open enrollment: any student who is willing to do the work equivalent to a first-year college level course is invited to enroll. Students must obtain an enrollment contract before registering for this course. No student will be permitted to withdraw from the course after the first full cycle of classes in September.

Grade: 12
American Law & Society



1 Credit

This course examines American Law in our judicial system today. Subject matter covered during the course of the year includes: The Constitution;  Bill of Rights; other amendments, United States Supreme Court decisions; due process of law; lawmaking; the legal profession; crime in America; the criminal justice process; torts; contracts; and consumer law. Students are required to complete a written research project in this course.

 Grade: 12



1 Credit

This course is designed to promote economics as a way of thinking.  Through this course, students will gain an understanding of economic systems and activities to participate as a citizen in the system of American Free Enterprise.  This course will also focus on basic economic principles such as supply and demand, production and consumption, and competition in markets.  Students are required to complete a multitude of projects in this course ranging from their own personal finance portfolio to creating a small business plan.

Grade: 12


1 Credit

This course examines human behavior and thought processes. Among the topics that will be covered are: research methods; social psychology; how our brain and nervous system affects our behavior; perception; learning and memory; development across the lifespan; sleeping; hypnosis; and drug use; intelligence and personality and psychological disorders.  Students will apply their study of psychology to their lives and will examine how the various perspectives, within this discipline, interpret the topics discussed.  Students will be required to do independent reading to prepare for class, actively participate and complete outside class projects.

Grade: 12