Social Studies Department

Social Studies Program

Welcome to the Social Studies Department. We hope that this site will help you better understand our programs and course selections. Social Studies is an integral part of students’ overall educational experience in every grade level at BH-BL. Its definition is probably summarized best by the National Council for the Social Studies as:

“The integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. In essence, social studies promotes knowledge of and involvement in civic affairs. And because civic issues–such as health care, crime, and foreign policy–are multidisciplinary in nature, understanding these issues and developing resolutions to them require multidisciplinary education. These characteristics are the key defining aspects of social studies.”

New York State Educational Learning Standards for Social Studies

The New York State Education Department has established learning standards for Social Studies denoting the skills and abilities each student should attain at various levels of his or her education – elementary, middle and high school levels.

Elementary School Level

BH-BL teachers have created a continuous social studies curriculum for students that begins at the elementary school level. The curriculum follows state standards and the state curriculum. The elementary school Social Studies program is comprehensive, diverse and multicultural. Our overarching goal is that each student will demonstrate a growing knowledge of history, geography, economics, and the political process. This enables each student to recognize the rights and responsibilities of diverse cultures and realize his/her role as a citizen in various communities.

Middle School Level

Social Studies is the study of the relationships between people and the world in which they live. It brings together concepts and skills from the social sciences: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. It provides the framework through which students will acquire the basic understandings, knowledge, and skills they need to function and succeed as responsible citizens. In a democracy it is essential that students appreciate the value of participation and have the knowledge and skills to enable them to participate. Therefore, students learn to use their knowledge and concepts and to apply their skills in a variety of activities both as individuals and in cooperation with fellow students.

High School Level

High school students must complete four units of Social Studies to complete the New York State’s requirements for earning a Regents diploma, an Advanced Regents diploma, or an Advanced Regents diplomas with BH-BL Merit Seal.

Students are also required to take standardized state exams in social studies in grades 10 and 11.

Passing the state Regents exams at the end of grade 10 (Global History) and grade 11 (American History) are requirements for graduation. Also high school seniors are required to take courses in Economics and Participation in Government in order to graduate.

In addition to required year-long courses, BH-BL High School teachers also offer a number of enjoyable one-semester social studies electives, such as Psychology and Criminology.

Advanced courses are open to all qualified students. See individual course descriptions in the BH-BL High School curriculum/course guide for specifications.