Course Descriptions and Numbers

The information on this page has been updated for the 2018-19 school year. Please see the 2017-18 course description catalog for this school year.

American Heritage (NCAA)
SOC307 and SOC308

(Elective 11-12) Full-Year Course
Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Writing or test-out

This interdisciplinary course integrates history, literature, and writing in an exploration of important literacy trends and themes in early and modern American literature, especially as it relates to cultural and historical events from the 17th Century forward. In this yearlong course, students will earn four (4) credits: one for each semester of U.S. History, one Modern American Literature credit, and one Intermediate Writing credit. See those course descriptions for more details regarding curricular topics.

This course, taught by one social studies teacher and one language arts teacher, meets daily for two periods (or one block period). This reading intensive and project-based course will emphasize group interaction, research projects and field trips to explore real world connections.

Students interested in working with others on group projects are well suited for the interactive and exploratory nature of this class. Because students in this course work with the same peers and teachers for both semesters, they will form deeper relationships with each other than often happens in shorter courses.

Please note: students previously enrolled in Intermediate Writing or either Early American Literature or Modern American Literature are not eligible. Additionally, students who complete this course should not schedule another semester of Early American Literature or Modern American Literature or Intermediate Writing. There may be limited availability to register for this course.

AP European History (DMACC, NCAA)
SOC501 and SOC502

(Elective 10-11-12) Full-Year Course

This full-year college-level course considers the accumulative study of European history from c. 1450, or the Renaissance, to modern times. It is an academically challenging class that covers political, social, economic, and cultural history in various European countries. Students who take AP European History will be expected to handle a rigorous curriculum as well as intensive reading assignments. In addition to covering course content, the class will emphasize the historical thinking skills and writing skills.

It is assumed that students enrolling in this course are willing to assume university-level responsibility. This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Taking the Advanced Placement Exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum. Therefore, students who choose not to take the AP exam will not have completed the course and will have the AP designation removed from their transcript. Accelerated European History will become the course designation for both semesters. AP courses receive a weighted grade when students complete BOTH semesters AND the AP exam.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student. If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.

AP Macroeconomics (NCAA)
SOC511 or SOC512

(Elective 11-12) Full-Year Course

AP Macroeconomics is an introductory college-level course that focuses on the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole. The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination; it also develops students’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. Students learn to use graphs, charts, and data to analyze, describe, and explain economic concepts.

In addition to the macroeconomics focus of this class, significant content will concentrate on Consumer Economics, Financial Literacy, and 21st-century skills. Topics include money management, credit, financial planning, and more. Due to the large quantity of material covered in this course, content will move quickly and students will be required to do extensive preparation outside of class.
This course will fulfill the Economics credit required for graduation and is required as part of the Honors and Scholars Diploma programs. AP Macroeconomics is NOT available for DMACC credit.

Taking the Advanced Placement Exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum. Therefore, students who choose not to take the AP exam will not have completed the course and will have the AP designation removed from their transcript. Advanced Economics will become the course designation. AP courses receive a weighted grade when students completes the semester AND the AP exam.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student. If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.

AP Psychology (NCAA)
SOC507 and SOC508

(Elective 11-12) Full-Year Course

AP Psychology fulfills the Psychology elective offered in Social Studies. The purpose of AP Psychology is to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology.

Taking the Advanced Placement exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum. Those students not writing the AP exam will have the course designated “Accelerated Psychology” on their transcript, and their grade will not be weighted. Both semesters of a yearlong course, plus writing the AP exam, are required for a weighted grade.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student. If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.

AP U.S. Government and Politics (DMACC, NCAA)
SOC505 or SOC506
(Required or Elective 12)* First OR Second Semester

Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics is a one-semester class designed to offer analytical perspective and enhance students’ critical view of our American governmental system. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. Students will explore, analyze, and research American political life, participatory democracy, elections and campaigns, public opinion/interest groups, and the roles and organization of our government’s branches.

This course will include rigorous study on the historical development of governmental procedures and policies; through analysis of institutions in American Government, depth of study on the role of the electorate in the American political system, the variety of theoretical perspectives, and explanations for various behaviors and outcomes. Students will do extensive reading and writing in this college-level course. Advanced writing skills and high achievement in United States History are recommended for students taking this course. This course must be taken for DMACC credit.

Taking the Advanced Placement exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum.

Those students not writing the AP exam will have the course designated “Accelerated United States Government and Politics” on their transcript, and their grade will not be weighted. Both semesters of a yearlong course, plus writing the AP exam, are required for a weighted grade.

*Satisfactory completion of AP United States Government and Politics fulfills the district requirement for American Government.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student. If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.

AP United States History (DMACC, NCAA)
SOC503 and SOC504

(Required or Elective 11-12) Full-Year Course

This is a full-year, college level course for juniors and seniors. It focuses on United States History from European exploration to the present. It is an academically challenging course that includes political, social, economic, and cultural history. Students who enroll in Advanced Placement United States History will be exposed to a college-level curriculum with continuing experiences to develop advanced writing skills, reading skills, and test preparation skills. Students are expected to participate and contribute to class discussions and debates.

This course must be taken for DMACC credit. Taking the AP exam is the culmination of the AP course. Those students not writing the AP exam will have the course designated “Accelerated United States Government and Politics” on their transcript, and their grade will not be weighted. Both semesters of a yearlong course, plus writing the AP exam, are required for a weighted grade. The student will still receive DMACC credit.

Satisfactory completion of AP United States History fulfills the district requirement for United States History.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student. If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.

AP World History (NCAA)
SOC509 and SOC510

(Elective 10-11-12) Full-Year Course

This full-year college level course studies themes of world history, covering political, social, economic, and cultural history. The course surveys 8000 BCE to the present and focuses on Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. AP World History does not emphasize year-to-year events. Instead, the course emphasizes interaction between cultures and regions, as well as the causes and consequences of global relationships. Students who take AP World History will be expected to handle a rigorous curriculum as well as intensive reading assignments. In addition to covering course content, the class will emphasize the historical thinking skills and writing skills.

It is assumed that students enrolling in this course are willing to assume university-level responsibility. This course must be taken for Des Moines Area Community College credit.

Taking the Advanced Placement Exam is the culmination of the AP course curriculum. Therefore, students who choose not to take the AP exam will not have completed the course and will have the AP designation removed from their transcript. Accelerated World History will become the course designation for both semesters. AP courses receive a weighted grade when students complete BOTH semesters AND the AP exam.

Each exam has a cost that will be incurred by the student. If students are in need of financial assistance to help with the cost of AP exams, please see your assigned counselor for information.

Current Issues (NCAA)
SOC205 or SOC206

(Elective 10-11-12) First OR Second Semester

This is a one-semester course targeting all students in grades 10-12 seeking to fulfill elective work in a social studies area other than history or the behavioral sciences. Students will investigate important national and international problems, events, and controversies that effect the modern world. The treatment of each topic will include its origin, historical development and present status. Attention will be given to vocabulary, personalities, and geography as they apply to each issue. Possible solutions to problems will be a focus of the course. Students will be expected to complete research outside of class to reinforce their understanding of the issues.

Current Issues (NCAA) (Blended Instruction)
SOC903 or SOC904

(Elective 10-11-12) First OR Second Semester

This is a one-semester course targeting all students in grades 10-12 seeking to fulfill elective work in a social studies area other than history or the behavioral sciences. Students will investigate important national and international problems, events, and controversies that effect the modern world. The treatment of each topic will include its origin, historical development and present status. Attention will be given to vocabulary, personalities, and geography as they apply to each issue. Possible solutions to problems will be a focus of the course. Students will be expected to complete research outside of class to reinforce their understanding of the issues.

Economics (NCAA)
SOC303 or SOC304

(Required 11-12) First OR Second Semester

This is a one-semester course designed to study economic principles and concepts. Students will be exposed to three areas of study within economics; consumer education, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. While the consumer portion of this course focuses on the “how tos” (how to buy a house, budget, invest, etc.), micro and macro focus on fundamental principles and theories of economics (supply and demand, opportunity costs, market structures, trade, etc.). This class is largely project-based, and has an emphasis on practical application of material covered.

A current issue research project is required to demonstrate for students that every current topic impacts the economy in some way. Local, national, and global economic implications will be considered and addressed in completion of this project.

EL Economics
SOC103

(Required 11-12) First Semester
Prerequisite: All students must be enrolled in and qualify for the English Learners (EL) Program.

This one-semester course is designed to insure the proficiency of the key Iowa Core concepts regarding the study of Economics to English Learners. EL Economics will cover the same themes and maintain required standards as the Economics course, while incorporating heavy emphasis on vocabulary and life skills, and promoting a linguistic neutral environment. This course will also allow all students to explore the economies of their heritages in comparison to that of the United States.

EL Government
SOC106

(Required 11-12) Second Semester
Prerequisite: All students must be enrolled in and qualify for the English Learners (EL) Program.

This one-semester course is designed to insure the proficiency of the key Iowa Core concepts regarding the study of government to English Learners. ELL Government will cover the same themes and maintain required standards as the Government course, while incorporating heavy emphasis on vocabulary and life skills, and promoting a linguistic neutral environment. This course will also allow all students to explore the governments of their heritages in comparison to that of the United States.

EL United States History (USEL)
SOC101 and SOC102

(Required 10-11-12) Full-Year Course
Prerequisite: All students must be enrolled in and qualify for the English Learners (EL) Program.

USEL is a course that provides a general survey of United States history to students who use English as a second language in an environmentally appropriate setting. It covers the most well-known events, settings, and people from 1763 through the present administration and fulfills the requirement of United States History for graduation.

Government (NCAA)
SOC401 or SOC402

(Required 12) First OR Second Semester

This is a one-semester course that presents an introduction to American government. This course emphasizes the operation and mechanics of our government—including, but not limited to, the following: the U.S. Constitution, civil and personal rights, political parties and campaigning, Congress, the presidency, and the court system. A special research project or community service project is required to demonstrate lifelong civic action through participatory citizenship.

Psychology (NCAA)
SOC305 or SOC306

(Elective 11-12) First OR Second Semester

A one-semester course which provides a general introduction to some facets of human behavior including: workings of the mind, learning behavior, human relations, group behavior, social attitudes, personality formation, and abnormal behavior. Recommended for students who have shown an interest in the behavioral sciences.

Sociology (NCAA)
SOC201 or SOC202

(Elective 10-11-12) First OR Second Semester

This is a one-semester course designed to explore sociology, the study of society’s groups. Through this course, it is hoped the student will develop basic understandings of how and why we behave as we do in our social environment. It is also hoped that the students will develop an understanding of their place in our complex society, as well as the diversity of others.

There are three basic goals in the course: to understand the basic structure, functions, and processes in our society; to understand the problems of American society; and to examine our values in terms of our pluralistic society.

Emphasis will be placed on small- and large-group discussion. This course is recommended for 10th-grade students, but is also open to 11th- and 12th-grade students.

United States History (NCAA)
SOC301 and SOC302

(Required 10*-11) Full-Year Course

This one-year course will give students a good foundation in United States History. Students will complete a brief survey of the forming of our government to the Civil War. The course will then emphasize the Reconstruction era to the present.

*To take U.S. History as a sophomore, a student must have a 323 National Standard Score (NSS) in social studies on the Iowa Assessments and an A in Geographic Cultural Studies or a B in Global Understanding and a 3.5 GPA.

United States History (Blended Instruction) (NCAA)
SOC901 and SOC902

(Required 10*-11) Full-Year Course

This one-year course will give students a good foundation in United States History. Students will complete a brief survey of the forming of our government to the Civil War. The course will then emphasize the Reconstruction era to the present. The course will be set-up in a fashion that requires the student to receive the delivery of instruction in the classroom and through a digital online media.

*To take U.S. History as a sophomore, a student must have a 323 National Standard Score (NSS) in social studies on the Iowa Assessments and an A in Geographic Cultural Studies or a B in Global Understanding and a 3.5 GPA.

World Civilizations (NCAA)
SOC203 and SOC204

(Elective 10-11) Full-Year Course

World Civilizations is a full-year course designed for college-bound students. It surveys the history of the world from ca. 3000 BCE to ca. 1920 CE. Students can expect to learn about political leadership, conflicts and war, art and architecture, belief structures and world religions, and how people lived throughout history. Students who take World Civilizations will be expected to handle a slightly advanced curriculum and reading level as well as weekly reading assignments.