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Social Science

All of the social science courses develop students' reading, writing, speaking, and powers of analysis. The requirement for College Preparatory level is ESL-level 3, except for ninth graders. Honors courses are more advanced than College Preparatory, and Advanced Placement are more advanced than Honors.

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Social Science electives

History and Human Behavior College Prep

History and Human Behavior College Prep is a one-year social science course for students in Grade 9 at CATS Academy Boston. Over two semesters, it examines cultural and historical issues, which are relevant in the world today. This course emphasizes academic skills, especially reading, writing, and note-taking. You will use statistics, maps, primary sources, images, and reference materials. Content includes an introduction to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the history of the Middle East. Activities include visits to local churches, mosques, and temples. Prerequisites: ESL Level 2 or higher; placement test results.

History and Human Behavior Honors

History and Human Behavior Honors is a one-year social science course students in Grade 9 at CATS Academy Boston. Over two semesters, it examines cultural and historical issues, which are relevant in the world today. This course emphasizes academic skills, especially reading, writing, and note-taking. You will use statistics, maps, primary sources, images, and reference materials. On this course, you will follow more advanced reading and writing assignments than in the History and Human Behavior College Prep course. Content includes an introduction to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the history of the Middle East. Activities include visits to local churches, mosques, and temples. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; placement test results.

ESL United States History

ESL History is a one-year course in American history is for students in Grade 10 or 11 who are at ESL Level 2. After one semester, if you have achieved an A in ESL US History, you may transfer to US History Survey College Prep. After passing two semesters of ESL United States History, you are not required to take US History Survey College Prep but must take a year of either Facing History College Prep or Economics College Prep in order to graduate. ESL United States History has a more basic text than the college prep courses, and its reading and writing assignments are not as advanced. 

United States History Survey College Prep

United States History Survey is a one-year social science course for students in Grade 10 or 11. Taking the course is a requirement for all CATS Academy Boston students as part of your three-year social science requirement for graduation. The course helps you to become successful at college-level social science courses or AP United States History. US History Survey takes a thematic approach to US history, surveying topics like immigration, reform, civil rights, national government, race, and gender in United States history. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher.

United States History Survey Honors

United States History Survey Honors is a one-year Honors social science course that meets the US history graduation requirement from CATS. It is open to students in Grade 10, 11 or 12. You will read more primary and secondary sources on this course and give more presentations than the US College Prep course. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; History and Human Behavior Honors with a grade of B or above; History and Human Behavior College Prep with a grade of A- or above; recommendation of instructor and social science department chair. New students must have these grades in history courses at previous school and recommendation of instructor and social science department chair.

Contemporary Issues College Prep

This course gives you an introduction, to issues that are dominating the news throughout the year. The focus is on current events and related debates in the United States and around the world. By studying social, political, and economic issues, you will gain insight into their place in history and the relevance of today’s events to historical themes. In addition to raising your awareness of world history, the course develops your analytical, reading, writing, and speaking skills. The course is offered over one or two semesters. It is also a CATS Innovation course. Prerequisite: one year of US History Survey College Prep or Honors.

Facing History College Prep

Facing History is a one-year global history course focused on Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America over the past 125 years. Topics include − nationalism, internationalism, the two world wars, post-war independence in Asia and Africa, development in Latin America, and distributions of power since the end of the Cold War. Facing History focuses on politics, economics, and social justice. You will develop research and presentation skills, in order to effectively, write, discuss, and argue about the world around us. Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher; United States History ESL, College Prep, or Honors.

Introduction to Law College Prep

This course is an introduction to trial law and litigation in the United States. You will learn to make legal arguments for cases and argue them by public speaking. You also study examples of important case law. Introduction to Law is a chance to use evidence and make arguments based on precedent, and you are introduced to the court system in Massachusetts, the federal courts and different types of legal practice. This course will strengthen your analytical, writing, and public speaking skills. This is a one-semester course offered over both semesters. It is also a CATS Innovation course. Prerequisite: one year of US History Survey College Prep or Honors.

Introduction to Philosophy College Prep

This course looks at how philosophy’s place in history is a way for humans to understand themselves and the nature of reality. It looks at both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions. You will have the opportunity on the course to examine your own philosophy and goals. This is a course that will develop your powers of analysis as well as your reading, writing, and speaking skills. This is a one-semester course offered over two semesters. Prerequisite: one year of US History Survey College Prep or Honors.

Macroeconomics College Prep

This one-semester Social Science elective (fall only) is paired with one semester of Microeconomics College Prep to make a one-year college prep course in Economics. The courses are part of the CATS Innovation Program. In Macroeconomics College Prep you will learn how economic decisions are made at a national and international level. You will examine economic systems around the world and economic policy-making in the United States. You will learn about markets, industries, trade, banking, finance, economic indicators, economic policy, and the Federal Reserve. This is a one-semester course and also a CATS Innovation course. Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher; Open to students in Grades 11 and 12.

Microeconomics College Prep

This one-semester Social Science elective (spring only) is paired with one semester of Macroeconomics CP to make a one-year college prep course in Economics. These courses are part of the CATS Innovation Program and prepare students to succeed in college-level or AP Economics. Microeconomics CP focuses on industries and companies at the local and regional level. Students learn about start-ups and Boston’s high-tech and R-and-D (research and development) fields. Each student presents a term project about a company from these or traditional New England industries like defense, paper and logging, fishing, food processing, farming, retail sales, wholesale distribution, transportation, tourism, education, and telecommunications. Students may also choose a company from the financial sector: banking, real estate, venture capital, investment banking, consulting, insurance, securities, and mutual funds. As part of Microeconomics CP, students visit companies and meet professionals from business and government. (one semester course; also a CATS Innovation course)

Advanced Placement electives

AP Macroeconomics

This one-semester Social Science elective (fall only) is paired with one semester of Macroeconomics College Prep to make a one-year college prep course in Economics. The courses are part of the CATS Innovation Program. In Macroeconomics College Prep you will learn how economic decisions are made at a national and international level. You will examine economic systems around the world and economic policy-making in the United States. You will learn about markets, industries, trade, banking, finance, economic indicators, economic policy, and the Federal Reserve. This is a one-semester course and also a CATS Innovation course. Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher; Open to students in Grades 11 and 12.

AP United States History

This is a one-year social science elective, which prepares you for the Advanced Placement (AP) United States History exam. AP United States History is a college-level course with potential for college credit. You will examine historical documents and argue about social, political, and economic history from 1600 to the present. In order to manage a large number of facts, you must have a good grounding in the themes of American history. After the AP exam, you will present a research project on a topic of your choice. Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 (ESL Level 5 preferred); B or higher in American History Survey Honors, or A- or higher in American History Survey College Prep; and recommendation of instructor and department chair.

AP Human Geography

This is a one-year social science elective, which prepares you for the Advanced Placement (AP) United States History exam. AP United States History is a college-level course with potential for college credit. You will examine historical documents and argue about social, political, and economic history from 1600 to the present. In order to manage a large number of facts, you must have a good grounding in the themes of American history. After the AP exam, you will present a research project on a topic of your choice. Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 (ESL Level 5 preferred); B or higher in American History Survey Honors, or A- or higher in American History Survey College Prep; and recommendation of instructor and department chair.

AP Microeconomics

AP Microeconomics is a one-year Social Science elective that prepares students for the AP Microeconomics exam. It is a college-level introductory course with potential for college credit. 

AP Microeconomics focuses on supply and demand, elasticity, markets, and the economic gains or losses of households, firms, and industries. The textbook is by Paul Krugman, supplemented by articles from The Economist, The New York Times, and other sources. (year-long course offered in alternate years with AP Macroeconomics 2018-2019)

Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 (ESL Level 5 preferred); B or higher in American History Survey Honors or A- or higher in American History Survey CP; recommendation of instructor and department chair; completion of Pre-Calculus and Algebra II with grades of B or higher. 

AP World History

This is a one-year Social Science elective that prepares students for the AP World History exam. Students study ancient civilizations, world religions, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, global imperialism, and world conflicts. AP World History is a college-level course with potential for college credit. AP World History helps prepare students for social science courses in college. Students are assessed through rigorous quizzes and tests, oral presentations, and midterm and final examinations.  In addition, students write a ten-page research paper and present their findings in a public setting.  The course requires seven hours of homework per week and is open to juniors and seniors.

Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 (ESL Level 5 preferred); B or higher in American History Survey Honors or A- or higher in American History College Prep; and recommendation of instructor and department chair.

Faculty

David O'Donnell
Social Science Department Chair
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David O'Donnell

Social Science Department Chair

BA, History, Boston College
MA, Modern History, Oxford University
Higher Diploma in Education from Trinity College Dublin

David O’Donnell is dedicated to helping each student prepare for university. He supports entrepreneurship and learning outside the classroom, serving as advisor to the CATS DECA club for business, and the CATS Scholars Program for outstanding students. David came to CATS Academy after three years in China as an exchange teacher and education consultant; he has ten years’ experience teaching at US high schools and 13 years’ experience as a stock market researcher. David says “Students at CATS Academy Boston have a real warmth and generosity with each other. Teachers are committed to challenging and supporting students.” A graduate of Noble and Greenough School, David received his BA in History from Boston College, Massachusetts, an MA in Modern History from Oxford University and a Higher Diploma in Education from Trinity College Dublin.

Dan Doherty
History Teacher
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Dan Doherty

History Teacher

BA, History & American Studies, Connecticut College
MSC, History, University of Edinburgh

Before joining CATS Boston, Dan Doherty worked for a large communications organization in Washington, DC and as a volunteer teacher and athletic coach at a primary day school in Quilmes, Argentina. This is Dan’s third year at CATS academy and he teaches AP World History as well as AP US History and US History Survey Honors. Dan also serves as a part-time dorm parent as well as helping to manage the student rock band and coaching of the JV soccer team. He received his BA in History & American Studies from Connecticut College in 2010 and just completed his Master of Science (MSc) degree in History from the University of Edinburgh.

Nicholas Lashway
Social Sciences Teacher
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Nicholas Lashway

Social Sciences Teacher

BA, Archaeological Studies & Classical Civilizations,Oberlin College
MA, Archaeology, Cornell University

Nick Lashway instructs courses in US history and financial management. Nick provides students with alternative perspectives to history, promoting critical thinking and the concise expression of students’ thoughts and ideas in English. Nick has conducted research in Romania, Italy, and Jordan. He worked for the UNESCO Amman office, and published his thesis; “Resettlement of the Bdul and its effect on Preservation Initiatives at Petra, Jordan.” Nick also conducted research in the Northeastern US and he served as a park ranger for the United States National Park Service, where he regularly presented United States history education programs to the public.

Berta Nahra Harb
Health & Wellness Teacher
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Berta Nahra Harb

Health & Wellness Teacher

BA, Early Childhood Education, Boston University
MA, Physical Education & Major in History, Central Michigan

Before joining CATS Academy, Berta Nahra Harb worked for nine years at Newton Country Day School as the Physical Education teacher. Prior to that she lived in Australia for three years where she taught several different subjects at St.Catherine's school in Sydney. Being born in Beirut Lebanon, Berta has a great understanding of how it feels to be an international student. Berta has a Master’s in Physical Education and a Major in History from Central Michigan. She also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Boston University.