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Social Studies

Social Studies Department at Mercer Island High School offers a variety of courses that inform students
and empower them to be active citizens. The social studies curriculum prepares students to be life-long learners,
readers and writers, thinkers and doers. Students will study in the fields of history, geography, philosophy,
government, anthropology, and economics. Students will build skills in analysis, critical reading, use of primary
and secondary sources, rhetoric and argumentation, historical thinking, research, persuasive writing, and
academic discourse.

Honors and Advanced Placement options are available. They are designed for the highly motivated, independent
learner who has a strong affinity for the material presented in the Social Studies curriculum. These students are
eager to complete the readings, pursue outside research on their own, and have strong writing skills. They are
adept at using synthesis and analysis, in writing and discussion, and they can grasp complex concepts related to
history, politics, and economics. Most courses use both a traditional text and supplemental readings, including
historical primary source documents, academic articles, and literary selections from and about the time period.
Daily preparation for these courses can be double that of regular courses, and assessments typically cover
larger amounts of material. Standards for well-written, polished essays and expectations of daily contributions
to classroom discussion are higher than in non-honors sections. Full participation in an AP course includes an
expectation the student will take the AP examination, for which the student will be prepared throughout the

Social Studies Department Statement of Student Responsibility: The Social Studies are reading and writing
disciplines, and students are expected to do extensive reading and writing in all courses. Students must work
outside of school to prepare for daily discussion, quizzes and tests, oral presentations, individual and group
projects, role-playing exercises and simulations, short writing pieces, formal essays, and public speaking.

Washington State History/Government Note: For most students, the state’s requirement for Washington State History will be fulfilled through course work completed in middle school. For students who have not taken a Washington State History course in middle school, online options will be available during the school year to fulfill the state requirement. See your counselor to apply to take an online course.