Historical Methods  •  Year

This yearlong, required course is an introduction to the study of history - not just what happened in the world of the recent past, but how to think like an historian. The aim of this class is to give students the skills they need to conduct their own authentic historical investigations. Students will practice these skills through a variety of thinking, reflecting and critiquing activities, through problem-solving and project design, and yes, through reading and writing. There is no core text - rather, the class will be using online resources and a variety of written materials to practice research and close reading skills as we examine major events from the recent past. This course is required for incoming 9th grade students.


Global Citizenship  •  Year

Global Citizenship provides students with the opportunity to examine contemporary issues in the modern global community and how the ideas of citizenship can be used to address major present day scenarios while preparing for the future. Global Citizenship will also challenge students to understand the interconnected nature of our planet and how history, culture, economics and political forces shape our world. Through this understanding, students will develop a greater sense of their responsibility as citizens of the earth.


United States History  •  Year

United States History is a yearlong, in-depth study of the nation’s history built around a close examination of three central episodes of American history through the interpretive lens of the broadly-defined concept of “revolution.” These three episodes are the American Revolution (eighteenth century), the Civil War and Reconstruction (nineteenth century), and the Civil Rights Movement (twentieth century). We will approach our investigation of these transformative periods as historians, exploring relevant primary source material, comparing perspectives, analyzing factors such as bias, causation and correlation, undertaking collaborative projects, and conducting original historical research, all with the goal of building up a nuanced, balanced and authentic understanding of why and how these pivotal changes occurred, and what they meant at that time and now for the evolution of the American nation and society.


BIG History  •  Fall

Big History is an interdisciplinary course that examines the place of humanity in the universe, for the entire 13.8 billion year existence of the known universe, and far ahead into its possible futures. “The concept arose from a desire to go beyond specialized and self-contained fields of study to grasp history as a whole. Big History explores how we are connected to everything around us and where we may be heading. It provides a foundation for thinking about the future and the changes that are reshaping our world.”
(“Introduction to BHP 2016”)

This course is cross-listed with Science. Students will need to choose which department to receive credit in.

Prerequisites: Biology and Global Citizenship (or equivalent). Department Chair permission required.


Social Animals? The Rise and Fall of Community in the 21st Century  •  Fall

In the 1950’s, civic engagement was at an all-time high…but what were the social implications? The class will read excerpts from Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam to discuss the dissolution of social attendance, coupled with the rise of technological achievements. The course will also have a civic engagement experiential element, consisting of the creation of a social compact regarding participation in government. We will also examine the Darrow community: its components, its mission, and its identity. We will collaborate as a group to create a visual representation of our conclusions.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.


Debate  •  Fall

In this class, you will learn how to debate effectively about controversial topics in a civil, engaged, and thoughtful way. Debate topics will be of your and/or your teacher’s choosing. You will utilize Lincoln-Douglas debate format, in order to appropriately organize and structure the debate process. In addition, you will learn logical fallacies, practice finding them in televised debates such as Presidential debates, as well as utilizing them in your own debates (as debaters) and in your feedback and decision-making as judges (when your classmates are debating). Further, you will conduct research not only to support your argument, but anticipate counter arguments from your opponent.

Course Goals:

  • To learn how to engage in debate around controversial topics in a civil, respectful, and thoughtful manner.
  • To conduct research in a rigorous and substantive way.
  • To provide constructive feedback to your peers and be able to learn from and improve from their feedback.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.


Psychology  •  spring

From Freud's classic Interpretation of Dreams a staple for students interested in the psychological field, to Charles M. Duhigg's The Power of Habit, students will gain insight into the processes that produced Freud the psychoanalyst, and consider the evolution since then of the id, ego, and superego. Students will analyze the ways we habitually act on our most desirable -- but sometimes most undesirable -- actions, addictions, and thoughts, and study how behavioral principles apply to our everyday behaviors. This course caters both to students who are interested in potentially majoring or minoring in psychology in college, as well as those who simply want to gain useful insight for understanding themselves and others.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.


Photojournalism  •  Spring

This course will develop both the art and practice of communicating important news and socially compelling stories primarily through photography complemented by journalistic writing. Each photojournalist will select one topic to investigate, conduct field work on, and research in depth. The resulting photo-essay will live on a website that each student will craft, publish, publicize and manage as part of the semester-long project. Photojournalism is a fascinating and influential occupation that is multidisciplinary by nature. The independent photojournalist is a hybrid photographer-storyteller-reporter-social scientist-activist-publicist who conducts a good deal of fieldwork, balancing thorough preparation with creative improvisation. A powerful and well-publicized photograph has changed the course of history many times. Yours can too.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.


Introduction to Philosophy  •  Spring

This course will delve into attempts to answer the Big Questions of existence, knowledge, and morality from the perspective of human reason rather than faith (or, as the Greeks had it, logos instead of mythos). Students will learn about major philosophical thinkers and ideas to encourage critical thinking, self-reflection, and the examination of ideas often taken for granted. They will begin by exploring the way major topics of inquiry were identified in classical Greece, and how those topics came to dominate the western philosophical tradition. The course will then delve into the philosophy of religion, including the various attempts to prove the existence of God, and the explanations for the existence of evil in the world. Students will then move to the study of moral philosophy, in particular the ideas of Mill and Kant, as well as the various critiques of their ideas, in order to better understand the development of moral and political frameworks that inform our lives, both on an individual and societal level. After analyzing the response to Kant by German idealists, primarily Hegel, students will dive into the Marxian tradition, and conclude the course with the major trends of late 19th century and 20th century philosophy, primarily existentialism.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.


Race: Reality and Fiction  •  Spring

If race has no genetic or biological basis, why does it matter so much? How has the notion of race been created and maintained over the last 300 years of American history? What are the impacts of racial categories in society? This course will explore the development of the idea of race through anthropological and historical research, and will apply these insights to works of fiction. Students will gain valuable tools for interpreting and discussing a very thorny and problematic topic and for analyzing current events and everyday interactions. Students will choose whether to earn History or English credit through varied assignments, but all students will read the major assigned texts.  

*This course is cross-listed with English. Students will need to choose which department to receive credit in.

Open to all seniors and to juniors with permission of Department Chair.

Back to Curriculum


Hi! We’re Glad You're Here.

Click here to go on a virtual tour of our campus, or click below to have someone from our team contact you.