The History Department provides students with a strong academic skill set and an introduction to numerous areas of historical study. There is a conscious effort within the department to make students globally aware and engaged citizens. This objective is achieved by making students think for themselves and encouraging them to learn about major national and world events as they are happening. The specific academic skills focused on are reading, source analysis, discussion, public speaking, and writing. The department emphasizes revision and peer-editing in the writing process. Our goal is to develop independent thinkers and strong writers who are prepared to excel in the Humanities in college. Each history course is supported by the use of technology and thoughtfully designed travel assignments that allow students to meet course objectives when they are away from the classroom for athletic contests and training.
Middle School Humanities is a cross-curricular, English/Social Studies/History course designed to foster interdisciplinary thinking among high-school bound students. Over the course of the year, various 19th and 20th Century conflicts, events and movements are studied through a collection of classic and contemporary literary works including; To Kill a Mockingbird, Captains Courageous, Night and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. In large part, the central focus is on cultivating productive and healthy study habits among high school bound students. To accommodate students who attend CVA for both seventh and eighth grade, the Middle School Humanities curriculum functions on a two-year-rotating basis to prevent repetition.
World Cultures, typically taken during 9th grade, focuses on geography and covers the rise of river civilizations to the Middle Ages. The students examine how geography and religion shape each culture studied. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with aspects of history that are relevant to their lives today.
Western Civilization, typically taken during 10th grade, examines Europe and its relationship to the rest of the world beginning with the Renaissance and ending with the Second World War. It is more of a global studies course than strictly a course examining Western Civilization. The course focuses on the relationships between cultures and power dynamics both within cultures and between them. The goal of this course is for students to understand how the origins of globalization, modern democratic thought, and industry shape the world we live in today.
United States History, typically taken during 11th grade, begins with the Civil War and ends with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The department feels it is more important to have a deeper understanding of recent history than a superficial understanding of all US History; reducing the amount of material covered allows examination of the subject matter in greater depth. The course will be discussion based and focus on developing strong speaking and writing.
Contemporary History, typically senior elective, encourages students to become well informed citizens and voters. This is accomplished primarily by daily monitoring of domestic and international events through online media, specifically the New York Times, as well as others such as The Economist, Al Jazzeera and other news outlets as students discover them. An emphasis is placed on students becoming critical consumers of the news, regardless of its origin. As a result of recent world events, the focus of this class has been the Middle East. However, this course is designed to be flexible enough to shift focus almost immediately to respond to whatever events or issues arise.