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Location & Contact Details

Office Hours

Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Address:

West Catholic High School
1801 Bristol Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Events Calendar

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Social Studies

Program Goal: Students will exercise the rights and responsibilities of participatory citizenship by:

  • Possessing a comprehensive knowledge base in social studies, encompassing historical, geographic, civic, economic, psychological and sociological perspectives
  • Demonstrating the skills needed to acquire, organize and use information and be an ethical decision-maker in an ever-changing world
  • Utilizing their faith to acknowledge and respect the values of others and society through democratic and religious perspectives
  • Accepting the responsibility to see, care and act on issues in the community, nation and world

All students must earn ​3 credit hours in Social Studies and pass all required courses prior to graduation.

Please take note of the following information:

  • Students must take either US History or AP US History, Economics or AP Microeconomics or AP Macroeconomics, Government or AP Government.
  • Students must take one credit in any combination of World History, AP World History, Geography, AP Human Geography, Global Studies, or Western Civilization.
  • Note: Psychology, AP Psychology, and Sociology are electives and do not fulfill the Social Studies requirement for graduation.
  • Exceptions: Students who take the combination of AP US History, AP Government, and AP Micro/Macroeconomics will have met the World History requirement as World History topics are embedded in the course curriculum.
  • Students taking AP courses must meet the following prerequisites: Review of HSPT, PSAT 8/9, or ACT/SAT scores will accompany departmental approval for admissions to these courses. Students taking AP courses are required to take the AP Exam.

Freshman Courses

World History A/B

Course Number:  SS911
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit or 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is a general survey of historical events beginning with the origin of man and continuing through the events of modern civilization. Topics include Prehistoric Man, Ancient & Classical Civilizations of the East and West, Middle Ages, Renaissance/Reformation, Scientific Revolution, Age of Exploration and the Emergence of World Powers. Religion, art, culture and patterns of thought will be discussed. This class is highly recommended as a foundation for studies in other disciplines as well as the social studies curriculum.

AP World History

Course Number:  SS922
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  Students cultivate their understanding of world history from c. 1200 CE to the present through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation. Students are required to take the AP exam.

World Geography A/B

Course Number:  SS923
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit or 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  Foundation for the class is grounded in the five themes of Geography (location, place, region, interaction with the environment and movement), Cultural Diffusion and Global Interdependence. Strong emphasis will be placed on the characteristics of physical and cultural geography. Units studied will include the political, economic, historical, cultural, climatic and agricultural make-up of each region.

Sophomore Courses

US History

Course Number:  SS913
Open to grades: ​ 10, 11
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Required for grade 10 or grade 11)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This is a year-long course in basic American History, systematically surveying the events that led to the development of the United States. To this end, we will begin with a review of events from Christopher Columbus to the Civil War. Emphasis will then shift to the post-Reconstructive Era. The political, economic and social aspects of American life will be considered.

AP US History

Course Number:  SS920
Open to grades: ​ 10, 11
Credit Hours: 1 Credit
Prerequisite:  Departmental Approval Required
Course Description:  This is an accelerated and enriched program for highly motivated students who would like to pursue the study of American History in depth. It will be the equivalent of a full-year college history course. The students will receive a thorough treatment of the facts as well as their significance—context, causes and results. Emphasis will be placed on reading primary historical material analytically and critically,  weighing historical evidence and interpretations, and arriving at conclusions on the basis of fact rather than prejudice. Students will develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format. Students are required to take the AP exam.​

World History A/B

Course Number:  SS911
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit or 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is a general survey of historical events beginning with the origin of man and continuing through the events of modern civilization. Topics include Prehistoric Man, Ancient & Classical Civilizations of the East and West, Middle Ages, Renaissance/Reformation, Scientific Revolution, Age of Exploration and the Emergence of World Powers. Religion, art, culture and patterns of thought will be discussed. This class is highly recommended as a foundation for studies in other disciplines as well as the social studies curriculum.

AP World History

Course Number:  SS922
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  Students cultivate their understanding of world history from c. 1200 CE to the present through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation. Students are required to take the AP exam.

World Geography A/B

Course Number:  SS923
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit or 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  Foundation for the class is grounded in the five themes of Geography (location, place, region, interaction with the environment and movement), Cultural Diffusion and Global Interdependence. Strong emphasis will be placed on the characteristics of physical and cultural geography. Units studied will include the political, economic, historical, cultural, climatic and agricultural make-up of each region.

Junior Courses

US History

Course Number:  SS913
Open to grades: ​ 10, 11
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Required for grade 10 or grade 11)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This is a year-long course in basic American History, systematically surveying the events that led to the development of the United States. To this end, we will begin with a review of events from Christopher Columbus to the Civil War. Emphasis will then shift to the post-Reconstructive Era. The political, economic and social aspects of American life will be considered.

AP US History

Course Number:  SS920
Open to grades: ​ 10, 11
Credit Hours: 1 Credit
Prerequisite:  Departmental Approval Required
Course Description:  This is an accelerated and enriched program for highly motivated students who would like to pursue the study of American History in depth. It will be the equivalent of a full-year college history course. The students will receive a thorough treatment of the facts as well as their significance—context, causes and results. Emphasis will be placed on reading primary historical material analytically and critically, weighing historical evidence and interpretations, and arriving at conclusions on the basis of fact rather than prejudice. Students will develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format. Students are required to take the AP exam.​

Government

Course Number:  SS916
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Required in 11th or 12th grade)
Prerequisite:  US History
Course Description:  This course is a study of the foundation of the American governmental system. It is intended to provide students with a basic understanding of the organization and functions of government and the rights and responsibilities of participatory citizens. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of federal, state and local government are studied. Students will also engage in comparative economic and social systems as part of the course.

AP Government & Politics

Course Number:  SS541
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills 11th or 12th-grade requirement)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History, Departmental Approval Required. May be taken with strong scores in regular Government.
Course Description:  This is an accelerated and enriched program to help motivated students study American government in depth. This course studies the general concepts of government and American politics with an emphasis on critical thinking and analytical writing. Students are required to take the AP exam.​

Economics

Course Number:  SS918
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Required in 11th or 12th grade)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History
Course Description:  This course surveys the basic concepts found in microeconomics, macroeconomics, money and banking, and international economics. We will explore how these concepts affect everyday life.

Macroeconomics

Course Number:  SS543
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Fulfills 11th or 12th-grade requirement)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History, Strong Math Skills required, Departmental Approval Required. May be taken with strong scores in regular Economics.
Course Description:  This course offers an accelerated, college-level study of macroeconomic principles. Using laws of supply and demand, students will explore classical, neo-classical and Keynesian theory as it relates to fiscal and monetary policy and its effects in the international marketplace. Basic economic concepts, measurements of performance, growth and productivity, national income and price determination, the financial sector, inflation, unemployment, stabilization policies, and international trade and balance of payments are covered in depth. Students are required to take the AP exam.​

AP Macroeconomics

Course Number:  SS917
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Fulfills 11th or 12th-grade requirement)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History, Strong Math Skills, Department Approval Required. May be taken with strong scores in regular Economics.
Course Description:  This course provides a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the larger economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets and includes the study of factor markets and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. Basic concepts such as scarcity, supply, demand and resource allocation, various market and industry structures, shortages, controls, social costs and benefits, international trade and comparative systems will be covered. Students are required to take the AP exam. Micro and Macro AP may be taken individually, but it is strongly suggested that if you have not completed regular economics, you take both.​

World History A/B

Course Number:  SS911
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit or 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is a general survey of historical events beginning with the origin of man and continuing through the events of modern civilization. Topics include Prehistoric Man, Ancient & Classical Civilizations of the East and West, Middle Ages, Renaissance/Reformation, Scientific Revolution, Age of Exploration and the Emergence of World Powers. Religion, art, culture and patterns of thought will be discussed. This class is highly recommended as a foundation for studies in other disciplines as well as the social studies curriculum.

AP World History

Course Number:  SS922
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  Students cultivate their understanding of world history from c. 1200 CE to the present through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation. Students are required to take the AP exam.

Global Issues

Course Number:  SS910
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This semester-long class is an introduction to current, world-wide issues such as terrorism, poverty, genocide, dictators and immigration. Global Issues is designed to introduce the student to numerous current issues confronting the globe’s policymakers and populations. Specifically, the course provides information that fosters community responsibility and global understanding.

Psychology

Course Number:  SS914
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Does NOT Fulfill Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is designed to survey the basic principles underlying the science of human behavior with emphasis on heredity and environment and the various factors that affect the emotional, social and mental development of a person. It examines the different types of modern psychology, such as Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism and Humanism, and then considers their enduring influence upon modern American culture. Additionally, it considers how psychologists seek to explain and treat disorders of modern American life, such as depression, substance abuse, stress and eating disorders. This course is recommended for students who desire to pursue a career in working with people.

AP Psychology

Course Number:  SS925
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Does NOT Fulfill Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  Honors English Department Recommendation Required
Course Description:  This is an accelerated and enriched program for self-directed and intrinsically motivated students who would like to examine the major core concepts and theories of psychology. It will be the equivalent of a college Psychology course. Course content emphasizes preparation for the AP Psychology exam in May. Students should learn the basic skills of psychological research, apply psychological concepts to their own lives, develop critical thinking skills and build their reading, writing and discussion skills. Students are required to take the AP Psychology exam in May.​

Sociology

Course Number:  SS915
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Does NOT Fulfill Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is a comprehensive examination of the basic concepts of the scientific study of sociology. An emphasis will be placed on understanding the sociological perspective and its application to social and personal issues of everyday life. The five basic sociological units (individuals, groups, organizations, cultures and societies) and their interrelationships will be studied. Key topics will include age groups, ethnic and racial groups, social class, cultures, norms, roles and social structures.

AP European History

Course Number:  SS926
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  Departmental Approval Required
Course Description:  This course focuses on developing students’ understanding of European history from approximately 1450 to the present. Students will investigate the content of European history for significant events, individuals, developments and processes in four historical periods, developing and using the same thinking skills and methods employed by historians when they study the past. The course also provides five themes (interaction of Europe and the world, poverty and prosperity, objective knowledge and subjective visions, states and other institutions of power, and individual and society) that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places. Students are required to take the AP European History exam in May.​

Senior Courses

Government

Course Number:  SS916
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Required in 11th or 12th grade)
Prerequisite:  US History
Course Description:  This course is a study of the foundation of the American governmental system. It is intended to provide students with a basic understanding of the organization and functions of government and the rights and responsibilities of participatory citizens. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of federal, state and local government are studied. Students will also engage in comparative economic and social systems as part of the course.

AP Government & Politics

Course Number:  SS541
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills 11th or 12th-grade requirement)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History, Departmental Approval Required. May be taken with strong scores in regular Government.
Course Description:  This is an accelerated and enriched program to help motivated students study American government in depth. This course studies the general concepts of government and American politics with an emphasis on critical thinking and analytical writing. Students are required to take the AP exam.​

Economics

Course Number:  SS918
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Required in 11th or 12th grade)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History
Course Description:  This course surveys the basic concepts found in microeconomics, macroeconomics, money and banking, and international economics. We will explore how these concepts affect everyday life.

AP Macroeconomics

Course Number:  SS917
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Fulfills 11th or 12th-grade requirement)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History, Strong Math Skills, Department Approval Required. May be taken with strong scores in regular Economics.
Course Description:  This course provides a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the larger economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets and includes the study of factor markets and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. Basic concepts such as scarcity, supply, demand and resource allocation, various market and industry structures, shortages, controls, social costs and benefits, international trade and comparative systems will be covered. Students are required to take the AP exam. Micro and Macro AP may be taken individually, but it is strongly suggested that if you have not completed regular economics, you take both.​

AP Macroeconomics

Course Number:  SS543
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Fulfills 11th or 12th-grade requirement)
Prerequisite:  US History or AP US History, Strong Math Skills required, Departmental Approval Required. May be taken with strong scores in regular Economics.
Course Description:  This course offers an accelerated, college-level study of macroeconomic principles. Using laws of supply and demand, students will explore classical, neo-classical and Keynesian theory as it relates to fiscal and monetary policy and its effects in the international marketplace. Basic economic concepts, measurements of performance, growth and productivity, national income and price determination, the financial sector, inflation, unemployment, stabilization policies, and international trade and balance of payments are covered in depth. Students are required to take the AP exam.​

World History A/B

Course Number:  SS911
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit or 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is a general survey of historical events beginning with the origin of man and continuing through the events of modern civilization. Topics include Prehistoric Man, Ancient & Classical Civilizations of the East and West, Middle Ages, Renaissance/Reformation, Scientific Revolution, Age of Exploration and the Emergence of World Powers. Religion, art, culture and patterns of thought will be discussed. This class is highly recommended as a foundation for studies in other disciplines as well as the social studies curriculum.

AP World History

Course Number:  SS922
Open to grades: ​ 9, 10, 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  Students cultivate their understanding of world history from c. 1200 CE to the present through analyzing historical sources and learning to make connections and craft historical arguments as they explore concepts like humans and the environment, cultural developments and interactions, governance, economic systems, social interactions and organization, and technology and innovation. Students are required to take the AP exam.

Global Issues

Course Number:  SS910
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This semester-long class is an introduction to current, world-wide issues such as terrorism, poverty, genocide, dictators and immigration. Global Issues is designed to introduce the student to numerous current issues confronting the globe’s policymakers and populations. Specifically, the course provides information that fosters community responsibility and global understanding.

Psychology

Course Number:  SS914
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Does NOT Fulfill Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is designed to survey the basic principles underlying the science of human behavior with emphasis on heredity and environment and the various factors that affect the emotional, social and mental development of a person. It examines the different types of modern psychology, such as Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism and Humanism, and then considers their enduring influence upon modern American culture. Additionally, it considers how psychologists seek to explain and treat disorders of modern American life, such as depression, substance abuse, stress and eating disorders. This course is recommended for students who desire to pursue a career in working with people.

AP Psychology

Course Number:  SS925
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Does NOT Fulfill Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  Honors English Department Recommendation Required
Course Description:  This is an accelerated and enriched program for self-directed and intrinsically motivated students who would like to examine the major core concepts and theories of psychology. It will be the equivalent of a college Psychology course. Course content emphasizes preparation for the AP Psychology exam in May. Students should learn the basic skills of psychological research, apply psychological concepts to their own lives, develop critical thinking skills and build their reading, writing and discussion skills. Students are required to take the AP Psychology exam in May.​

Sociology

Course Number:  SS915
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1/2 Credit (Does NOT Fulfill Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  None
Course Description:  This course is a comprehensive examination of the basic concepts of the scientific study of sociology. An emphasis will be placed on understanding the sociological perspective and its application to social and personal issues of everyday life. The five basic sociological units (individuals, groups, organizations, cultures and societies) and their interrelationships will be studied. Key topics will include age groups, ethnic and racial groups, social class, cultures, norms, roles and social structures.

AP European History

Course Number:  SS926
Open to grades: ​ 11, 12
Credit Hours: 1 Credit (Fulfills Social Studies Graduation Requirement)
Prerequisite:  Departmental Approval Required
Course Description:  This course focuses on developing students’ understanding of European history from approximately 1450 to the present. Students will investigate the content of European history for significant events, individuals, developments and processes in four historical periods, developing and using the same thinking skills and methods employed by historians when they study the past. The course also provides five themes (interaction of Europe and the world, poverty and prosperity, objective knowledge and subjective visions, states and other institutions of power, and individual and society) that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places. Students are required to take the AP European History exam in May.​