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Social Studies

Humanities is the study of being human – what people think, feel, do, and create. Humanities One,Humanities Two, Humanities Three and Senior Humanities are required courses that integrate what istypically taught in high school English and social studies courses. These courses are team-taught by one English teacher and one social studies teacher. Each section meets every day, all year long. Each year, students develop their reading, writing, research and presentation skills through expeditionary units that include vital, emblematic historical case studies and a range of classic and contemporary literature.


Humanities One
In Humanities One, we will spend the year investigating the idea and nature of community, including how intentional communities are formed and how communities make decisions. Our studies will begin in the fall with a close look at how communities are built. This study will include both an introspective look at the community of CBHS and the new Class of 2022, highlighted by a four-day retreat to Cow Island, and a broader study of various local and global communities. Following this, we will explore the role belief plays for individuals and communities and we will investigate governmental systems and policies that influence communities and their individual members. We will also look at the role and construction of narrative and story. In the spring, we will shift from our study of the foundational components of ommunity to a close examination of how communities and individuals make important decisions and the factors that influence policy creation and decision-making. We will closely study some of the complex scientific decisions facing our communities today and the social impact that these decisions can have on our communities. Each expedition or learning experience will have its own texts, writings, activities, field work, case studies, expert guidance, and culmination. Learning standards in the disciplines of both social studies and English language arts will be rigorously assessed to provide each 9th grade student with a relevant and holistic Humanities education. Humanities One is worth four UPs, two in English and two in social studies.

Humanities Two
This four UPs course integrates the study of social studies with English language arts. The first trimester begins with consideration of two essential questions, "What are the historical roots of inequality?" and "How can our community effectively help other communities?" These questions will guide the first trimester's expedition, “Africa Rising.” In this expedition, we will investigate the impact of colonization in creating the modern conditions of poverty and inequality that exist throughout the developing world, and the ethics and efficacy of using international aid to address those issues. In addition, we will investigate the cultural and political history of an African country, discover how it has shaped the country as it exists today and consider the ethics of decision making and the issues of equity at play in the access to, and use of, global resources. In our second trimester, students will use dramatic skills to express their understandings and interpretations of a work of Shakespeare through performance. In the third trimester, we will embark upon our final expedition, "The Arc Towards Justice." This expedition consists of a close look at the history of the Civil Rights Movement, leading into the present Black Lives Matter movement. We will kick off by reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me in order to better understand the experiences of Black Americans in the 20th and 21st century. Following this close read, we will investigate the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century through the lens of both historical events and music, poetry, literature, and art. We will then investigate how the present echoes the past through analysis of the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement and more modern manifestations of protest and struggle seen in the arts. Our expedition will culminate with students creating podcasts that can be shared with the larger community and represent a deep understanding of the ways in which history influences the present.

                             **9th and 10th Grade Exceeds Reading Seminar**                                  

Students have the opportunity to “exceed” the standards in all courses. This often means taking on
additional or more sophisticated challenges. For 9th and 10th graders, there is an Exceeds Reading
Seminar. During this weekly offering, students will explore literary theories, devices and philosophical ideas in conjunction with reading literature above and beyond what's required in Humanities courses. Students will be expected to attend weekly and keep up with the syllabus. Students who achieve a "3" or above in all of the standards in this seminar will automatically receive a .25 increase in their over-all grade for English standards in their Humanities course. Each trimester will be a new literary adventure, so students may attend one, two or all three trimesters for academic enrichment. 


Humanities Three
This four UPs course continues the integrated study of social studies with English language arts, with a focus on the historical development and current implementation of US public policy. The year is driven by the questions, "How do we as a capitalist democracy ensure prosperity, opportunity and equality for all?” and "How do we live a moral life in a capitalist economy?” with an emphasis on how to effect change through policy, active citizenship, and the power of human story. We will open with a short immersion study of the Weimar Republic and reading Brecht, comparing Germany's conditions then with the current US economy and politics. We will then launch an expedition focused on how we can use public policy to address the widening gap between rich and poor in this country. To build background knowledge, students will study the Industrial Era, the US system of government, and basic economics. Students will then choose policy issues to research related to economic inequality (e.g. housing, access to health care and higher education, immigration, and tax law), each ultimately crafting a policy proposal that they will present and defend before a panel of experts. For the second trimester, we will shift to look at the potential power of human stories. Students will work in teams to interview people in the Portland area affected by these same policy issues. They will write oral histories and create original theater that works to bring these stories to life as well as to provoke thinking about the larger social concerns. Finally, in April we will study and travel to Millinocket on Junior Journey in order to experience first-hand a region grappling with its future after losing its central employer: the paper industry. We hope to build an ongoing peer exchange with the region while exploring its natural beauty, joining community development efforts, and listening to different perspectives of those living in the Katahdin region. We hope to close the year with a forum with community members from Portland and Millinocket together addressing our essential questions about finding equity and morality in the face of economic disparity. Throughout, we will also read literature (e.g.: Brecht, Wood, Faulkner, Wright, and Hurston), and focus on close reading and literary analysis. The Junior Humanities program emphasizes a variety of skills, including: researching, reading informational texts, drafting evidence-based claims, writing for a variety of purposes, mastering rhetoric, inferring, synthesizing, and interviewing.

Senior Humanities
This course (four UPs) continues the integrated study of English and social studies. Our focus for the year is leadership. The year will be a rich exploration of the hero’s journey, engaged citizenship, and personal voice.
Trimester 1
As a culmination of four years working toward our school-wide goal of ‘getting smart to do good,’ each CBHS senior will design a Senior Expedition in which they choose and research a social or environmental need and design a “slice of the solution.” As part of Senior Expedition students grapple with a pair of essential questions: What is my passion and how can it meet a need in the world? In social studies, students will research their chosen issue, interview experts and analyze the solutions others have attempted. The product of the research will be an expert paper due at the end of the trimester. In English, students will draft and complete a college application essay. We will explore models of solutionary thinking, and connect with local mentors to deepen our understanding of how positive change is most effectively made. The fall trimester in English will culminate in a new two-day Leadership Launch where seniors pitch their action plans to panels of expert innovators and leaders.
Trimester 2
In English seniors improve our local and global community through their Senior Expedition culminating events, campaigns, and products. In February, seniors will give a Casco Talk to the school: a TED-style talk about their senior expedition journey as a change maker. In social studies students will begin an exploration of the U.S. legal system. We will start with a review of the overall legal system, then move to a more in-depth study of constitutional law.
Trimester 3
In English, students will explore three artistic genres: poetry/spoken word, short story and memoir to develop and revise a publication-quality piece in the genre of their choice to read at our Café Night culmination. In social studies, students will continue their study of the U.S legal system with comprehensive explorations of criminal and civil law. At the end of the trimester, students will write and present their "Final Word" (p 65).


Advanced Placement (AP) United States History

During this survey United States history course, students will chronologically explore America's past, from exploration and early colonization to today. We will use a college level text in order to prepare students for the reading, writing and thinking they will need to do once they enter a college setting.  We will use a mix of rich primary and secondary sources.  Throughout the year students will explore historical evidence and investigate multiple historical perspectives. Class discussions and activities will be designed to help students analyze the past through the lens of historians. A primary objective is to prepare students for successful performance on the Advanced Placement United States History Test administered in May. It will be assumed that students who sign up for this course are self-directed and independent learners who have an intense interest in the study of history. In order to prepare for the A.P. U.S. History Exam in May, students will be asked throughout the year to respond to document-based and free response question essays, take historical era unit tests as well as practice multiple choice questions from past A.P. Exams.