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Course Offerings


In this semester course, students will examine specific world regions: Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Within each region, students will examine the complex relationships between history, politics, development and the environment.  Students will examine how various regions continue to influence current events.  Students will explore the concept of globalization, and see how the actions of cultures across the globe are increasingly affecting the world’s physical and human environment.  Students will use case studies to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges posed within each region.  Examples of specific case studies may include Latin America- Migration and Asia-Development. In an effort to support their future success in high school and develop college readiness and academic literacy, students will demonstrate their understanding of World Cultures through researching, reading, reflecting, expository writing, critical thinking and collaboration.


In this bilingual course, we will examine specific world regions:  Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  We will focus on the culture, geography, modern history and governmental and economic systems of these regions.


Honors World Cultures students will complete coursework at an accelerated pace.  Topics covered will contain more depth and breadth.  Students will be expected to interpret complex texts, participate in analytical discussions, and write papers that synthesize multiple sources and perspectives.


In this course, students will examine the major turning points in the shaping of the modern world, from the late eighteenth century to the present.  They will also review what they learned in the sixth and seventh grades about world history.  Students will learn the source of the ideas by which we judge ourselves as a political system and a society.  Close attention will be paid to the evolution of democratic principles in our nation by connecting us to the past.  Attention will be focused on the methods used by totalitarian states to suppress freedoms and human rights; Hitler’s “Final Solution” and the policies of the former Soviet Union and China are just some examples used.  Students will be presented with different perspectives on issues and events in order to develop the critical thinking skills of an informed citizen in the contemporary world.  Researching skills will be taught resulting in a research paper, which is a requirement of this class. 


AP European History covers major historical events, ideas, and trends beginning with the period of the High Renaissance in 1450 up through the present, culminating with modern issues such as the end of the Cold War, the formation of the European Union, and the rise of radical Islam.  Students will examine these time periods and events through various themes including social, economic, intellectual, diplomatic, political and cultural history.  It is important to note that often times in history many of the above themes overlap and can have critical impacts on one another.  In addition to providing a basic narrative of events and movements, the goals of AP European History are to develop (a) an understanding of some of the principal in Modern European history, (b) an ability to analyze historical evidence and historical interpretation, and (c) an ability to express historical understanding in writing.


Media Academy is a two-year academy program for juniors and seniors that combines English Language Arts, Social Studies and Media Technology curriculum.  Each quarter, student production teams create videos, websites, and online magazines that explore themes presented to them in their English and Social Studies classes.  Students in Media Academy also study the media itself, as well as conduct their own marketing, public relations and advertising campaigns.  Academy students benefit from extended opportunities to work with professional mentors and partners.  Media Academy is a blended, looped program that rotates the 11th and 12th grade curriculum over a two-year cycle.  During their two years in the academy, students satisfy the requirements for English 11 P, English 12 P, U.S. History P, Economics P, U.S. Government P, and Digital Media Productions.


The major objectives of the course are to develop an appreciation of our heritage and the need for individual

responsibility in our democratic society, to promote an understanding of the role of the United States in an interdependent world, and to develop a knowledge and understanding of the people who have influenced the formulation of past and present national policies.  This class briefly reviews what was learned in fifth and eighth grade history (up to post-Civil war) and examines more fully America’s role in the Twentieth Century.  A research paper is required to pass this class.


This is a comprehensive course equivalent to college freshman American history at the University of California or any other university.  It is a two-semester sequence.  It concludes with the students prepared to take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination administered by Educational Testing Service in May.  The course covers:  political, diplomatic, military, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual history of the United States from 1492-1989.  The required research paper will be done in the time after the AP Examination and before the end of the school year.


This semester long course is dedicated to the study of the system of government in the United States. Emphasis is placed on the concept of democracy and basic principles of the Constitution. Units of study include Foundations of American Government, Political Behavior and the Branches of Government. Students learn about their role as a citizen of a democracy and are encouraged to be effective and active participants in the local community. Community involvement hours and a research paper are required to pass the class. This class is paired with Economics P.


This one semester course is a study of federal, state, local and tribal governments designed to give students a critical perspective on government and politics in the United States.  This course will involve the study of general concepts and analyses of specific case studies as they pertain to the interpretation of American government and politics.  Students will become familiar with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that comprise the American political reality.  A major emphasis of the course will be preparation for the College Board examination in May.  This course will also fulfill San Rafael High School’s United States Government credit required for graduation.


This course includes the study of traditional economic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity cost, supply and demand, and comparative advantage.  The focus is on the economic system of the United States, but issues in comparative economic systems, international trade, and the development of poor countries are also included.  A research paper is required to pass this class.  This class is paired with Government P. (This is a semester course required for graduation.)