Open House 2013

Thank you to everyone that was able to attend  Open House last night. We are all looking forward to the new school year. As discussed at Open House, students will pick two of three seminar options for each quarter of the school year. Our focus this year is on World History and World Literature. Below you will find the descriptions of all the seminar options. Please look them over with your son or daughter and talk about what choices they will make. They will be picking their seminars for the entire year the first day of school.

You will receive the user name and password for your son or daughter’s Engrade and ALEKS accounts via email today. If you need your Infinite Campus login, please contact Mrs. O’Brien at or 748-4616 ext. 3719. If your son or daughter need their Infinite Campus password they need to contact Mrs. Davis at or they can go see her in the Media Center. Please remind your son or daughter to bring in their school supplies if they haven’t already done so (especially Kleenex 🙂 ). Again, we are all looking forward to having a great 2013-14 school year!



First Quarter Blocks 1 & 2

Kings and Knights and Gangbangers, Oh My!
This seminar will investigate the problem of contemporary gang violence through the lens of the western European Middle Ages. How were medieval noblemen and their knights similar to today’s gangs? Why did violence become so prevalent during the Middle Ages, and how did society ultimately become more peaceful? From heraldry and gang colors to political and economic inequality, we will explore the similarities and differences between our two ages and use the lessons of history to explore solutions to the contemporary problem of gang violence.

The Way Back Machine: Ancient Civilizations
How was the world created? Why do people die? Why is there a lake here? These are questions that humans have asked themselves since the dawn of time. Ancient peoples from around the world developed belief systems to help explain things and put their worlds in order. These cultural stories can go a long way in explaining how our ancestors thought and felt, but they can also tell us a lot about ourselves even today. Or, as author Willa Cather put it: “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”

Comparative Religions
Our world is getting closer and more diverse. We need to have a better understanding of each other. This seminar will compare the religions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. We will trace the history of each religion and study the beliefs, practices, rituals, etc.

Second Quarter Blocks 3 & 4

Enlighten Me Ol’ Wise One
Have you ever gotten a response from a parent like: “…because I said so?” That’s not a good enough reason. This seminar will begin looking at when astronomers questioned how the universe operates and shattered the long-held views, which opened the new world of discovery. Additionally, the thinkers of the Enlightenment challenged old ideas about power and authority which led to many political revolutions between the 16th and 18th century which forever changed European and American society.

A World Waiting to be Reborn — the Renaissance and Reformation
This seminar will explore how the story of Romeo and Juliet reflects the attitudes and social relations characteristic of the Middle Ages, and how the Renaissance and Reformation remade European society. We will explore the cultural, scientific and artistic flowerings of this period and the changing role of the church in public life. Through a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (West Side Story) we will also follow up on the gang theme of the Middle Ages seminar and use the insights from this period to address the question of how we could achieve a cultural rebirth in our time.

You Found Where?? Exploration and Imperialism
Imagine a time when most of the world had no idea what was beyond the horizon. Oceans were thought to be the edge of the world and mountains were all but uncrossable. But fame and riches await for those who go exploring, and more land claimed for your country means power and glory. Columbus doesn’t even scratch the surface. In this seminar, we will explore (HA, get it?) how various countries searched around the globe to expand their country’s wealth and influence. We’ll learn about the good and not-so-good outcomes of this time period and learn how the effects of some of these actions are still felt even today.


Third Quarter Blocks 5 & 6


This is a Time for Revolution!
What conditions must exist to revolt? This seminar will evaluate the influence of political thought originated in the Enlightenment and played out on the world stage. We will look at the common causes, effects, and models of revolution and nationalism. We will look at case studies such as the French Revolution, the American Revolution and current revolutions and dissect those conditions which led to revolution. Additionally, we will evaluate nationalism throughout history.


Wars All Over the World
Early in the 1900s, the world was mostly in a period of peace. However, there was a storm of dislike and mistrust that was brewing. Leaders all over Europe were digging in and the feeling of nationalism was strong. No country wanted to be weak or seen as “lesser” than another. This seminar will explore the particularly tense period of history in the world and try to make sense of it. What can we learn from this?


A User Manual for the Transition
As Egypt erupts into a second round of protests and regime change and Syria erupts into flames and civil war, the question is urgent: How can countries transition from totalitarian regimes to democratic ones? What can be done to foster positive change, especially peaceful change? We will study several more and less successful transitions in Africa and Latin America for the lessons they hold for the countries in violent flux today.


Fourth Quarter Blocks 7 & 8


Better Angels of Our Nature
If you think the world is becoming more violent, you’re not alone! But is it really so? In fact, you are less likely to die a violent death now than at just about time in history. In this seminar we will explore the extraordinary reduction in violence — both interpersonal and political — that has occurred over time, and investigate the factors that have contributed to it. We’ll look at everything from the status of women to trade and commercial ties; from the invention of the novel to the development of law; from literacy to policing styles and warfare. Be prepared for a quirky and surprisingly optimistic sweep through world history!


Guns, Germs, and Steel
How have Europeans gone from the Dark Ages of curing the sick with leaches to dominating the 21st century in war, medicine and industry.  Jared Diamond, renown historian, examines the history of man identifying their failures and successes.  Along the way citing the intelligence and pitfalls of different societies and cultures.


The World is Flat?
Our world is continually getting smaller as we have become a global society. This seminar will examine how advances and innovations in science and technology have brought our world closer together economically and culturally. There will also be a focus on the impact of politics and economics in our world today.