All tenth-grade students and eleventh grade students, who have yet to take a year of US history, are required to engage one of the following offerings in American History.
US History 1 followed by US History 2 fulfills the US history requirement.
US History 1
This semester-length required US History course is the starting point for all future historical inquiry at Holderness. The course focuses on the events leading to the drafting of the Constitution and the Reconstruction era. These foundational topics introduce a theme of civil liberties, but notably emphasize an evolving definition of freedom and political efficacy. The essential question: What does it mean to be a US citizen? Leads to reflection on civics to ground studies in the second semester. Students also work to develop an understanding that historians have various interpretations, and there is a history of debate among historians.
US History 2
This semester-length, required, US History course in the second semester is offered with 6-9 rotating topics each year. With the foundational base provided by US History 1, students delve into a specific topic they are interested in that highlights the 20th century, but eschews the notion of a full survey. Rather, students work to first understand a specific period or theme in American history, and then progress to grappling with the various historiographical questions about that period. See the options for 2017-2018 here
AP United States History
Open to qualified 10th and 11th graders, this advanced course follows the development of American government, economics, culture, and thought from pre-Columbian Native American societies to the recent events such as the attacks of September 11th or the subprime mortgage crisis. Readings from primary and secondary sources, as well as class discussions, offer students the opportunity to deeply immerse themselves into the origins and values of an evolving and complex American society. The course focuses on those aspects of the field of American history that have both served to build national identity as well as those that have created disunion. Understanding that reading and writing are the foundations of communication within the field, the course utilizes frequent essay assignments to encourage students to clarify and define their thoughts on selected topics and works in an ordered, well-defended fashion.
Advanced History of the West
This two year course, beginning in the 10th or 11th grade year, will prepare students for both the Advanced Placement European History Exam and the Advanced Placement US History Exam. Students must submit an application and will be vetted for admission. This course will employ a broader lens to explore historical phenomena on both sides of the Atlantic embracing the globalized approach of modern historical research. Study of the American constitution, for example, will be endowed with prior study of the Enlightenment. Students will be expected to engage in a project in the summer between the two years of the course. This course will be team taught.