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Social Studies

Purpose and Objectives

Learning a simple chain of chronological events does not help prepare students for the increasingly fast, diverse, and challenging world they will be entering upon graduation. To enable them to do so, students need to master basic skills: critical thought, researching, interpreting documents and data, effective communication, and reading & expository writing. In any given Social Studies class at Belmont High School you can see students engaged in discussions, encountering different viewpoints or experiences, and developing their own ideas from curriculum that is explored, not simply covered. Throughout all of their Social Studies coursework, students are consistently reminded how history is relevant to their lives. 

Department Contact
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Phone: (617) 993-5985

email: Deborah McDevitt, Director 

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The Belmont High School Social Studies Department offers 14-18 courses in a given academic year that seek to encourage informed, responsible and active participants in democratic society. Through the study of World History, American History, and the social sciences, students become better prepared to live in an increasingly global and interconnected society.

Students are required to take World History in grade nine, a year of American History in grade ten, and Modern World History in grade eleven .

Required Courses:

  • World History
  • American Studies / AP United States History
  • Modern World History / AP European History

who have completed required coursework may choose from a variety of elective offerings in the social sciences. Electives:

  • Community Service
  • Global Leadership
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Modern World Issues
  • Psychology
  • You & The Law

For a complete list of Social Studies Department course offerings, click here

Belmont High School Program of Studies, please click here.

Programs

Community Service Program (Grades 9-12)

All students who attend Belmont High School are required to complete 40 hours of Community Service over the course of their four years in order to graduate. In addition to many opportunities at school through Mrs. Melnikoff’s office such as the Community Service Club, Working to Help the Homeless (WTHH) or Best Buddies/People All Love Smiles (PALS), students may also elect to enroll in the Community Service elective course. This course is designed as a practicum for students who want an opportunity to contribute directly to the community in which they live which includes a field placement 4 hours per week in a wide range of opportunities in Belmont and beyond, including schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and shelters. Students who complete 50, 75 or 100 hours of Community Service are eligible to receive a bronze, silver, or gold President’s Volunteer Service Award. The Social Studies department is proud to have many students each year qualify for the President’s Award. For more information on the President’s Volunteer Service Award, check out www.presidentialserviceawards.gov

Global Certificate Program

The Global Certificate Program provides students with an opportunity to distinguish themselves by demonstrating global competency. During their four years at Belmont High School, students will complete specific coursework, an interdisciplinary portfolio of projects and reflections, and a summative global action project. The program is voluntary and open to all students. It will help them develop 21st century skills and global awareness, preparing students for life after BHS.

The Global Certificate Program seeks to:

  • better prepare students for an interconnected world
  • give students the opportunity to develop an interest and expertise in a global issue or culture
  • provide interdisciplinary learning experiences
  • create experiential and real world learning opportunities
  • reinforce the development of 21st century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, research and analysis, as well as oral and written communication

Requirements

  • Coursework:
    • Four years of Foreign Language
    • A globally oriented elective (for example: AP Environmental Science, Global Leadership, Economics, Modern World Issues, World Music, Independent Study)
  • Portfolio:
    • Four Globally Oriented Projects from the standard BHS curriculum
    • Reflections for each project
  • Global Action Project:
    • Students must research, design, and implement a project that positively impacts a community

Recognition: A student's transcript will denote completion of this program.

Economics Challenge (Extra-Curricular Program)

Every year the AP Economics class participates in the National Economics Challenge. Competing against other schools such as Boston Latin, Lexington High School, and Brookline High School students answer challenging questions on microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international economics, culminating in final round known as the “quiz-bowl.” First place teams from each division advance to compete in one of four regional contests. Winning divisional teams receive an all-expense paid trip to compete for the national championship title in New York City. The Social Studies department is proud to have sent a team to the National Final in 2007. For more information on the Economics Challenge program, check out economicschallenge.ncee.net

Mock Trial Team (Extra-Curricular Program)

Every year the Social Studies department sponsors a Mock Trial Team. Generously supported by volunteer teacher-advisors and local lawyers from the Belmont community, students participate in a trial arbitrated by actual judges from the Massachusetts Bar Association in actual courtrooms from around the Commonwealth. The competition begins in January 2008 when the state board releases a new set of Mock Trial materials based on an important issue facing America's youth. The materials include a hypothetical criminal case or a civil case. With the assistance of their teacher-advisor and attorney coaches, students study the case and preparing strategies and arguments for trial, competing in local competitions against teams such as Newton-North and Lexington.

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To excuse a student’s absence, the parent/guardian must call the high school attendance office the night before, or the day of the student’s absence.

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