Social Studies and History
Mr. Patrick Mehen, Head of Department
The Social Studies and History program in the Middle School is rooted firmly in a survey of past societies and civilizations that have had a significant impact on the world. Students in Forms I-IV concentrate on both the geography and history of these civilizations. To begin, students focus broadly on the peoples, socio-political movements, and storied events of the two hemispheres of the world, taking up the West in First Form and continuing with the East in Second Form. Third and Fourth Form students carry out a two-year survey of the principal players and events that brought about the founding and subsequent growth of the United States, the first modern democracy of the West, with a significant unit on Texas History and an extended trip to Austin and San Antonio occurring during the second semester of Form III.
In the Upper School, students in Forms V-VIII learn the art of historical inquiry through the study of original source information. Throughout the four years of Upper School, students read portions or the entirety of epics, biographies, charters, letters of personal correspondence and political treatises and engage in basic historiography. In Forms V and VI students intensify their original survey of the cultural and political history of civilizations from around the world. Here, a formal study of regional artistic and musical expression is introduced. In Form VII students renew their focus on the development of the United States of America, this time with a special emphasis given to the social, political, and economic movements fomented and played out there. Finally, students in Form VIII study the political principles and basic structure of our United States regime in a college-level course on American Government.