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Introduction

Individuals & Societies

The study of Individuals and Societies is the search for patterns that reflect human experience. Laws, languages, institutions, arts, industries, political experiments, economic theories, religious values, military ambitions—all of these and more project the image of that experience. Individuals and Societies courses provide a glimpse of what has been, what is, and what might be, and they develop in students a curiosity about and sensitivity to the environment in which we live. All Individuals and Societies courses have been developed to raise questions. They challenge students to assess and interpret, and they provide a framework for recognizing and accepting personal and citizenship responsibility.

The study of Individuals and Societies contribute to the total Shaker Heights High School experience by encouraging students to acquire the ability to:
- Grasp a question, to gather and analyze data, to marshal pertinent arguments, and to reach sound conclusions
- Communicate, both in oral and written expression, with clarity and conviction
- Develop open-mindedness that is reflected in respect for another point of view, tolerance for ambiguity, passion for truth, and respect for facts
- Foster sensitivity to religious, racial, ethical and ethnic differences
- Make personal choices characterized by courage, dedication and moral decisiveness. 

Please NoteThe courses and grade levels below represent typical programming pathways. Shaker Heights High School's counseling staff can help direct students and their families to the courses that best fit a student's academic needs.  

  

Course Selection

Three Individuals and Societies credits are required for graduation from Shaker Heights High School. All students should take Global Studies during 9th grade and 10 Individuals & Societies or US History during 10th grade. Students are also required to take American Government as 12th graders and complete the senior Individuals and Societies requirement.

The Individuals and Societies Department offers a multitude of electives and Honors and Advanced Placement courses designed to challenge and expand the horizons of all. In addition to fulfilling basic graduation requirements, students should consider complementing their studies with electives, especially during 11th and 12th grade.

Courses

Global Studies

Grades 9/10
Full Year – 1 Unit

The primary purpose of this course is to provide an understanding and appreciation of the present in terms of the past, and to foster a global perspective. It presents an overview of human history from the Enlightenment to the present with a discussion of significant political, economic, cultural and geographic concepts. Units include the impact of Enlightenment ideals, revolutions in France and Latin America, industrialization, European imperialism, twentieth century conflict, independence movements in Asia and Africa, the Cold War and its aftermath, and modern ethnic and religious conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere. Emphasis in the course will be placed on developing students’ ability to conduct research, write effectively and think critically. 
 

US History

Grade 10
Full Year – 1 Unit

US History is an International Baccalaureate course that follows the Middle Years Programme’s assessment criteria for Individuals & Societies. The course will develop an understanding of social, political, economical, cultural, and military experiences that have played a crucial role in shaping the history of our country.
Students practice historical investigations and thinking through readings, debates, simulations, and research skills. Students will also gain experience with digital tools, video creation, informed action projects, and a multi-media  year-end creative capstone project.  Students can expect an engaging, exciting experience in the study of our nation.

10 American Experience, Individuals & Societies

Grade 10
Full Year – 1 Unit

This is a co-curricular American history and American literature course. The history is explored in greater scope and depth in addition to the standard American History curriculum, and requires independent reading of history outside of class for all students. Students taking the course will also complete additional writing and will produce a quality of writing that meets more rigorous expectations in terms of depth of analysis to the history studied from multiple perspectives. Students will explore American art history, social history, architecture, and music. Students make connections between the history studied and the American literature read. American social and cultural history will be explored through our literature, art, music and architecture. Academic emphasis is placed on essay writing and research skills. Students complete four quarterly projects, including a five- to seven-page formal research paper. Students also learn to write document-based essays and demonstrate exemplary writing skills that reflect the use of evidence and analysis. Dual enrollment in American Experience Language and Literature is required.

AP US History

Grade 10
Full Year – 1 Unit

Advanced Placement US History accommodates the guidelines established by the College Board and is structured as a college-level survey course. This course considers the American past both chronologically and thematically, and encourages students to assess the ways in which the past informs a variety of contemporary issues. Emphasis is on the development of critical-thinking skills, analytical reading and the construction of college-level essays. Students will be expected to engage in a long-term National History Day research assignment. This course requires students to take the Advanced Placement Test in US History. To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

AP European History

Grade 11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

European History will conform to Advanced Placement guidelines. Classroom methodology will include lectures, examination of primary sources and historiography, answering document-based questions, readings, and discussions, including Socratic seminars. AP European History will cover the history of Europe from 1450 to the present, with particular attention to political, economic and cultural developments. Students will be required to take the Advanced Placement Exam, and National History Day research projects are required for all students during the first semester. To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

Recommended: US History

AP World History: Modern

Grade 11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

This full-year survey course is an examination of world history from multiple perspectives. AP World History: Modern offers a balanced, non-western global approach covering a study of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania from 1200 CE - present. This course presents an opportunity for students to study the Mali Empire, Chinese Dynasties, Mongol Empire and other civilizations that have impacted our world and culture in order to gain perspectives through analysis of first person accounts, developing a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationships in today’s world. Students will be required to read and evaluate a variety of sources, construct written products that analyze class discussions and readings, as well as participate in discussions covering significant trends throughout world history. The goal and focus of this class is as Yaa Gyasi writes in her book, Homecoming, “We believe in the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.” To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

Recommended: US History


 

History I SL/HL

Grades 11
Full Year – 1 Unit

The Diploma Programme history course is a world history course based on a comparative and multi-perspective approach to history. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, and provides a balance of structure and flexibility. The course emphasizes the importance of encouraging students to think historically and to develop historical skills as well as gaining factual knowledge. It puts a premium on developing the skills of critical thinking, and on developing an understanding of multiple interpretations of history. In this way, the course involves a challenging and demanding critical exploration of the past. The course explicitly teaches thinking and research skills such as comprehension, text analysis, transfer, and use of primary sources. In year one in Diploma Programme history, we will focus on Papers 1, Paper 2, and the Internal Assessment. To receive International Baccalaureate credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must complete IB Internal and External Assessments.

Recommended: US History

History II SL/HL

Grade 12
Full Year - 1 Unit

The Diploma Programme history course is a focus in history course based on a comparative and multi-perspective approach to history. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, and provides a balance of structure and flexibility. The course emphasizes the importance of encouraging students to think historically and to develop historical skills as well as gaining factual knowledge. It puts a premium on developing the skills of critical thinking, and on developing an understanding of multiple interpretations of history. In this way, the course involves a challenging and demanding critical exploration of the past. The course explicitly teaches thinking and research skills such as comprehension, text analysis, transfer, and use of primary sources. In year two of this in Diploma Programme history, we will focus on Paper 3: with a specific geographically focus on Asia and Oceania. To receive International Baccalaureate credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must complete IB Internal and External Assessments.

Required: IB History I SL or HL

American Government

Grade 12
Semester I – ½ Unit

The principal focus of this course is the structure and operation of the American government, including the three branches of government, the Constitution, and government at the state and local levels. The course uses a basic text and supplementary readings. Each student is required to observe and report on meetings of local governments and to participate in the political process.

AP American Government

Grade 12
Full Year - 1 Unit

AP Government is an year-long introductory college-level course in U.S. government and politics that prepares students for the AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam.  Students will study U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behavior. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to make comparisons and applications, read and interpret data, and develop evidence-based arguments. In addition, they will complete an applied civics project.   The course is designed using a project based curriculum where students will explore the content and apply the skills they are learning while creating podcasts, debating bills in a model Congress, participating in a Moot Appellate Court and more.  To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam. To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

African American History

Grades 11/12
Semester I or II – ½ Unit

This course requires intensive reading, analytical writing and historical judgment. The course begins with the study of ancient Africa and ends with the challenges of contemporary Black America. Areas of study will include Africa, slavery, Reconstruction, Civil Rights and racism in America. Students will be expected to investigate, research, interview, visit museums and cultural sites, and contact members of the African-American community to increase their awareness of and interest in an Afro-centric view of the world. Evaluation is based on a variety of tests, projects and research papers.

Recommended: 10 US History

Early Black History (Sem. I) & Contemporary Black History (Sem. II) - KAP/CCP

Grades 11/12
2 Semesters – 2 Units

This two-semester, two-unit Black History course is a College Credit Plus course offered at Shaker by Kenyon College. Through this course, students experience the intellectual challenges that enhance their pre-college education and prepare them for successful and enriching college careers. KAP seeks to create a common education ground for Ohio’s public, private, and parochial students and faculty, one that addresses students from all backgrounds and all economic levels. KAP application, including qualifying SAT, ACT or Accuplacer score is required for enrollment in KAP Early Black History and/or Contemporary Black History. This course requires intensive reading, analytical skills, and historical judgment. The first-semester course begins with the study of Ancient Africa, and the second-semester course concludes with the challenges of contemporary Black America. Evaluation is based on a variety of tests, projects, and research papers. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive 1 high school credit per semester, and 4 semester hour credits per semester from Kenyon College through College Credit Plus.

Required: Acceptance to Kenyon College KAP Program through CCP

Asian Studies

Grades 9/10/11/12
Full Year – 1 Unit

This course offers an opportunity for students to expand their global understanding through the history and culture of China, Japan, Korea, or India. The course includes visits to the Cleveland Museum of Art as well as guest speakers and performers in addition to lectures, discussions and activities. Students are required to complete weekly homework assignments, in-class work and quarterly projects. Travel to China, Japan, Korea or India and hosting students from these countries are available to students who take the class. This course satisfies the Senior Language and Literature Elective requirement or can be used for a Language and Literature Elective credit or Individuals and Societies Elective credit. (Projected Schedule - Japan 2023-2024, China 2024-2025, Japan 2025-2026, Korea 2026-2027)

History of Popular American Music

Grades 11/12
Semester I or II – ½ Unit

History of Popular American Music is an examination of the evolution of American popular music by making connections with historical themes.  It includes the exploration of music and musicians from the beginnings of jazz and rock and roll through artists and styles of today. In addition to the above description, this course includes a detailed examination of the influences and development of folk/roots music of other parts of the Americas.

Human Rights & Conflict

Grade 11/12
Semester I or II – ½ Unit

“People make choices. Choices make history.” This is the motto of Facing History and Ourselves, an organization devoted to analyzing the human—and the humane—side of history. In this course, inspired by the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum, we will examine the choices made by leaders, ordinary people, bystanders, upstanders and even the choices we make, to ground our understanding of the potential for both good and evil in all people. While this class will devote considerable time to the study of both historical and contemporary human rights issues around the globe, our starting point of analysis will be with ourselves. If we are to understand societal forces that shape history and stand up in the face of injustice, we must understand the forces that motivate our own actions as individuals who are necessarily part of a larger society. In this way, our study of human rights and conflict will not merely be a study of external circumstances and far-away issues, but it will be a study of the ingredients of evil, the dangers of indifference and the strength of humanity—all of which are reflected in the past and present of our history. This course is project-based; students will complete five unit projects, including a culminating activity that requires students to actively engage and address an important social issue in the community.  Additional evidence of learning will be  conveyed through reflective writing assignments and group discussions.

Business Management SL

Grades 11/12

Full Year – 1 Unit


This is a one-year course that aims to have junior and senior students explore the point of view of businesses and social enterprises through their decision-making process. The course is designed to give future employees, business leaders, entrepreneurs, or social entrepreneurs the tools to be creative and gain the decision making skills necessary for success. This is done through real-world case studies that cover strategic decision-making on the topics of the business functions of human resource management, finance and accounts, marketing, and operations management. The culmination of the course will focus on a research project about a real business issue or problem facing a particular organization using a conceptual lens.
To receive International Baccalaureate credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must complete the IB Internal and External Assessments.

AP Micro-Economics

This one-semester course introduces students to the principles of economics that apply to the behavior of individual decision-makers within the larger economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and function of product markets, factor markets, and the role of government in the economy. To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

AP Macro-Economics

Grades 11/12
Semester II – ½ Unit

This one-semester course requires students to develop a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to a total economic system. It places particular emphasis on national income and price determination, measurement of economic performances, government response to changes in the business cycle, policies for economic growth, and international trade and finance. To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

Intro to Psychology

Grade 11 or 12

Full Year – 1 Unit


Ever want to try to understand why you and others think and behave the way they do? Understanding humans has been an adventure spanning only the most recent of times. Psychology looks to understand why we think and behave in the way that we do. Through the analysis and application of psychological experimentation, we can progress toward a better understanding of the people in our lives. In the Intro to Psychology course, students will explore various perspectives to understanding human behaviors and mental processes based on psychological research and theories of understanding. Main course topics include, but are not limited to: psychological experimentation and ethics, biological bases of behavior through functions of the brain, theories of memory, thinking, and decision-making, investigating the influence of cultures and social groups, biomedical treatments, therapies, reliability and validity of clinical diagnosis, psychological disorders, and mental health. Honors Psychology students also participate in the planning and execution of a real psychological experiment. This course aims to provide hands-on real-world applicable experiences each day. Students who take this course will also have the optional opportunity to take the IB SL Psychology exam to earn an IB Certificate in Psychology.  

AP Psychology

Grade 12
Full Year – 1 Unit

This AP College Board audited course “is designed to introduce 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 subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.” All students enrolled in this course are required to take the Advanced Placement Psychology examination in May. No students are permitted to take the course pass/fail. To receive Advanced Placement Credit on a Shaker Heights High School transcript, the student must take the Advanced Placement Exam.

Psychology SL/ I HL

Grade 11 or 12
Full Year – 1 Unit

Understanding why humans behave and think the way they do has puzzled society for centuries. Through the analysis and application of psychological experimentation, we can progress toward a better understanding of the people in our lives. In the International Baccalaureate SL (Standard Level)/ HL (Higher Level) Year one Psychology course, students will explore various perspectives to understanding human behaviors and mental processes based on psychological research. Main course topics include, but are not limited to: psychological experimentation and ethics, biological bases of behavior through functions of the brain, theories of memory, thinking, and decision-making, investigating the influence of cultures and social groups, biomedical treatments, therapies, reliability and validity of clinical diagnosis, psychological disorders, and mental health. SL/HL year one Psychology students also participate in the completion of an Internal Assessment (IA) where they plan, organize, and implement a psychological experiment as a group, collect data, and create individual reports of their findings. This course examines relevant psychological studies to provide hands-on real-world applicable experiences each day. SL Students are expected to take the IB SL Psychology exam at the end of the year in order to earn Diploma Program or Medallion Certificate credit.


IB Psychology II HL

Grade 12
Full Year - 1 Unit

Were you ever curious as to why humans and animals behave the way that they do? Psychologists have explored these curiosities in recent centuries and through the analysis and application of psychological experimentation, we can progress toward a better understanding of the people and animals in our lives. In the International Baccalaureate HL (Higher Level) Psychology course, students will explore various perspectives to understanding human behaviors and mental processes based on current psychological research. Main course topics include, but are not limited to: psychological experimentation and ethics, biological bases of behavior through functions of the brain, theories of memory, thinking, and decision-making, investigating the influence of cultures and social groups, biomedical treatments, therapies, reliability and validity of clinical diagnosis, psychological disorders, mental health, and developmental psychology. HL Psychology students will also participate in the completion of an Internal Assessment (IA) where they plan, organize, and implement a psychological experiment as a group, collect data, and create individual reports of their findings. At the HL level, students will explore additional core topics above such as influences of animal research, technology in the modern world, and the influence of globalization on behaviors. This course examines relevant psychological studies to provide hands-on real-world applicable experiences each day. Students are expected to take the IB HL Psychology exam at the end of the year in order to earn Diploma Program or Medallion Certificate credit. 


Recommended: IB Psychology I HL (or equivalent)

Financial Literacy

Grades 11/12
Semester I or Semester II – ½ Unit

Financial Literacy incorporates the following topics: financial responsibility and decision-making, planning and money management, informed consumer, investing, credit and debt, and risk management and insurance. Within these topics, students will: develop the ability to make informed and reasoned financial decisions; become prepared for their role as decision-makers as consumers; and act responsibly as consumers and investors and best utilize their limited resources.  

Criminology

Grade 12
Semester I or II – ½ Unit

Criminology will deal primarily with the study of crime typologies, social justice, crime causation, the study of capital punishment, and our criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts and corrections (prisons). Course procedures will include guest speakers, a possible Shaker Heights Police Department field trip, videos and independent research.

Sociology

Grade 11/12
Semester I or II – ½ Unit

This course introduces the sociological perspective to students who are curious about the impact of human behavior on society. It is a perfect complement to students who are interested in psychology. Topics include: personality development, societal norms, sexuality, morality, deviance, racism, culture, family, peer groups, the media and how to conduct a sociological investigation. The major emphasis of this course is to promote understanding through the use of facts, statistics and scientific data, and to reject the use of baseless stereotypes and generalizations. The discussions are lively and you will be surprised at how much you learn about yourself. This course will serve as an excellent introduction to any freshman college sociology class.