Social Studies

Social Studies

Bryan Sarandrea
Supervisor of Social Studies & Home & Careers
(516) 733-2148

Social Studies Department Social Studies is the integrated study of history, geography, economics, government and civics. More importantly it is the study of humanity, of people and events that individually and collectively have affected the world. A strong and effective Social Studies program helps students make sense of the world in which they live, it allows them to make connections between major ideas and their own lives, and it helps them see themselves as members of the world community. It offers students the knowledge and skills necessary to become active and informed participants on a local, national and global level.

The Social Studies program must also help students understand, respect and appreciate the commonalities and differences that give the U.S. character and identity. The complexities of history can only be fully understood within an appreciation and analysis of persity, multiple perspectives, and interconnectedness of people and places across time and cultures. Thus, the goal of the Social Studies program is help our students become critical and empathic thinkers as they make their way in our globally interdependent world. At the high school level, the Social Studies department offers many elective courses to capture the interests of our students. Below is a list and description of our High School electives.

AP Psychology

This one year course covers the behavior and mental processes of human beings. Students will study the following topics: neuroscience and biology, personality and psychological disorders. Research will be a very important component of this class and students will learn how psychologists use the scientific method to study behavior and mental processes. Acceptance in this course is based on several criteria: academic achievement and a strong work ethic which includes an 85 average or above in social studies honor classes or a 93 average or above in regular social studies classes. In addition, teacher recommendation is very important. Students are expected to register for and take the AP exam in May. Enrollment is open to 10-12th grade students.

New York State of Mind

We have lived all our lives on Long Island and yet we know little about the place we call home. Why for example does the north shore look different from the south shore? Do Native Americans still live on Long Island? Did you know that George Washington fought the British on Long Island? Why is Mitchell Field considered an important landmark for aviation? How has Hicksville changed in the last 100 years? If you want to know the answers to these questions and many more then take New York State of Mind social studies elective. Enrollment: 9-12thstudents.

Youth & the Law

Do your rights end at the school house door? Why do teens join gangs? Should minors be considered for the death penalty? MDMA,PCP,THC- What do these mean to you? If you want to know the answers to these questions then Youth & the Law is the right social studies elective for you! You will learn about gangs, students' rights, different and dangerous drugs, drug laws and many other issues that affect teens today. Enrollment:10-12th students.


Psychology helps us to understand why we do the things we do. Have you even wondered about the meaning of your dreams? Are those strangers in your dreams really strangers? Why are anxiety and depression the most common mental issues? What are you most afraid of and why? How come men and women have trouble communicating? Explore the answers to these questions and many more. Learn about gender differences, consciousness, personality theories and behavior disorders. Take psychology and learn about yourself. Enrollment: 10-12th students.

Roots of Oppression

Why do we hate? Why do we exclude different groups of people? Why does prejudice exist? These are just some of the questions you will answer when you study Nazi Germany, Ancient Rome and modern day Afghanistan. Oppression means the unjust or cruel exercise of power over another group of people. You will also learn how history often repeats itself and what you can do to make this world a better place. Enrollment: 9-12th students.

Historical Research

Would you like to participate in National History Day? Do you enjoy writing about various topics in history, psychology, economics and politics? Are you self-motivated? This class is for you. With guidance from your teacher, you will participate in many different contest opportunities. You can work alone or in groups and pursue the many topics that interests you. Enrollment:9-12th students

Criminal Law

This course will introduce you to the American judicial system: How does our court system work? What is the purpose of juries? You will discuss controversial issues such as right to die- when should life support be removed and who has the right to make this decision: the government or the family. The class will look at sentencing procedures for drug crimes. There is also a field trip to theSuffolk County jail, but you have to be sixteen to participate. Take this elective if you want to learn more about the criminal law and want to debate controversial issues. Enrollment: 10-12th grade students.

International Law

Are you interested in world politics and debating issues such as the war on terrorism and improving human rights? Then this elective is for you. You will learn about the birth of the United Nations and debate issues heard by the International Court of Justice. You will also be pided into delegations to represent the interest of a particular country to participate in a mock United Nations. The class will help you to understand the world from the many different perspectives of world citizens. Enrollment: 11th-12th grade students.

Lessons for Life: Moral Dilemmas at the Movies

In 1971, Alexandria,Virginia, the courts ordered the integration of the public schools. This meant the integration of the high school football team, The Titans. Tensions ran high between black and white players on the team, as well as between black and white members of the coaching staff. In the case of the Titans, can differences be put aside and friendships forged? How would you react in a similar situation? You will explore these and other moral dilemmas or choices that test your values. Remember the Titans, Apollo 13, Fat Man and Little Boy, and Mr. Holland's Opus- are just a few of the films that show characters facing moral choices. If you enjoy movies and exploring moral issues then this class is for you. This class is open to 11th& 12th grade students.