Social Science

Department: Social Science

The Social Science Department develops students who are informed consumers of media and use their critical thinking skills to balance logic and empathy. Students will examine both primary and secondary sources in a variety of media, consider their validity, authority, and bias, and synthesize key details with critical judgments of their own. They will practice the skills of source interpretation and document-based analysis and will encounter multiple perspectives to understand the impact of identity on our sense of self and community, our universe of obligation, and our access to personal freedoms.

Course Listings

List of 20 items.

  • Grade 6: Ancient Civilizations

    Through the study of civilizations of the ancient world, students will learn how human societies emerged and evolved. Students will develop skills in historical, geographic, and anthropological disciplines, in order to answer fundamental questions about the nature of human societies in the past and of today.
  • Grade 7: Comparative Government

    In this class, students will study various forms of government established throughout the world and throughout history. This study of government, its purpose, foundation, challenges, and impact, examines literature, historical documents, writing, art, and media. Key topics include democracy, fascism, communism, and theocracy.
  • Grade 8: American Studies

    This course provides students the opportunity to explore key moments in American history, focusing on how different groups of people have sought to make America their home as well as the obstacles they have faced in achieving equity and the American Dream. Key topics include national expansion and division, the Progressive Era, and the Civil Rights Era.
  • Grade 9: Modern World/Jewish History I (College Prep and Honors)

    Modern World and Jewish History I is part of a two-year world history sequence. Together we will explore how powerful political, social, religious, cultural and economic forces throughout history have shaped the complex world in which we live. As an integrated world/Jewish history course, students will consistently explore the relationship between Jewish texts, identity, community, and values in their interaction with the above historical context. In addition to content, major emphasis will be placed on developing students’ academic skills, including understanding cause and effect, identifying fact from opinion, developing critical and analytical thinking, honing writing and research skills, and using technology to enhance learning. Further, students will improve their reading, note-taking, oral presentation, geography and writing skills. Writing skills include the ability to write a clear and arguable thesis and to defend that thesis in an essay format.
  • Grade 10: Modern World/Jewish History II (College Prep and Honors)

    Students continue to explore the political, social, cultural, intellectual, economic and religious aspects of world history—with Jewish history as the ongoing point of reference—from the late 19th century to the present. Critical thinking, media literacy, historiography, writing, research, and the use of primary and secondary source materials are key. Students craft persuasive written arguments using historical evidence; reason through an understanding of cause and effect; compare and contrast societies’ reactions to global phenomena; and connect world history to contemporary developments. In the Honors course, students read supplemental texts such as Things Fall Apart and Maus.
  • Grade 11: AP US History

    Students develop analytic skills and knowledge to deal critically with the problems and materials of American history and present-day issues. Students learn to assess materials— their relevance to a given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. Students arrive at conclusions on the basis of informed judgment, and present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively.
  • Grade 11: US History (College Prep and Honors)

    Students undertake a survey of US history with an emphasis on the 20th century. A thematic approach gives students a broad view of the development of democracy in the US and of the growing role of the US in world affairs. Focus is on themes of reaction and revolt, reform movements, national character, nationalism, and the many causes and consequences of American political, economic, and social change. The honors course emphasizes developing writing skills, and students analyze various sources and develop the ability to argue and defend a point of view.
  • AP Comparative Government

    AP Comparative Government and Politics is a year-long introductory college-level course in comparative government and politics. The course uses a comparative approach to examine the political structures; policies; and political, economic, and social challenges of six selected countries: China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Students cultivate their understanding of comparative government and politics through analysis of data and text-based sources as they explore topics like power and authority, legitimacy and stability, democratization, internal and external forces, and methods of political analysis.
  • AP Government

    This course provides a detailed view of the Constitution and the political process of the United States. Emphasis is placed on contemporary political issues through class discussions of current events. The class focuses on the necessary skills to understand contemporary political issues and events and to make students into informed, active participants in the American democratic process.
  • AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics

    Students explore college-level macroeconomic and microeconomic principles and how to apply them to today’s complex society. Students explore economic decision-making and how these decisions shape society. Students analyze and interpret data, solve complex problems, and analyze primary and secondary source material. The ultimate goal is to develop an “economic way of thinking” in order to address the complexities of the 21st century and to generate a sense of enthusiasm for Economics. In Microeconomics, students examine how these decisions affect industries, firms, and individuals. In Macroeconomics, students analyze macroeconomic measuring tools and explore decisions related to the costs and benefits of economic policy. Macro and Microeconomics are taught in alternating years.
  • AP Psychology

    Students learn core psychological concepts and theories and apply them to our everyday lives to better understand human behavior. Students are exposed to facts, perspectives, principles, historical figures, experiments and research findings, methodology, and ethical practices of psychology’s major subfields.
  • AP World History

    Students develop a greater understanding of the interconnected world in which they live. This understanding is advanced through a combination of conceptual knowledge and historical thinking skills. The course offers balanced global coverage with Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania all represented. 
  • Economics in a Changing World (College Prep)

    Students study the American free enterprise system and consider their role as global citizens facing complex decisions in a rapidly changing world. Students study the economic decision making of individuals, businesses and governments and how these decisions shape our economic system and public policy. Students analyze current issues in our nation’s economy and in the global marketplace. They use basic micro and macroeconomic theory to engage more deeply with relevant economic issues.
  • Government (College Prep)

    Students describe, analyze, and explain the American system of government at the federal, state, and local levels, in order to participate intelligently in that process as American citizens. Students analyze primary and secondary source material that addresses the American democratic system, its origins, and basic principles. Students are encouraged to participate in the electoral process through letter writing and involvement with a political party or issue. Research skills and current events are emphasized.
  • Israel and the Middle East

    Students explore the geo-political relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. Students learn and explore the origins and nature of these relationships using multiple perspectives. This is not an Israel advocacy course, but an academic course that will increase your understanding of the complexities underlying our topic. Israel and the Middle East is a vehicle for students to refine their ability to dissect arguments, develop media literacy and detect bias so that they are inspired to continue to learn about Israel and strengthen their personal connection to the Jewish state after they graduate. Primary and secondary source documents, Israeli literature and music, geography, demographics, and film promote thoughtful questions, dialogue, and informed debate among students.
  • Israel Literature and Film

    Students in Israeli Literature and Film employ empathy and analysis to understand Israel from the point of view of writers representing a spectrum of experiences, both celebratory and critical. Exploring Israeli voices that criticize Israel without delegitimizing it as a state allows students to wrestle with conflicting arguments and information about Israel in a safe environment. A secondary aim of the course explores the ways authors and filmmakers create meaning through both message and medium (imagery, music, symbolism, tone, etc.).
  • Law and Society (College Prep)

    This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to teaching a practical understanding of the law. Emphasis will be placed on understanding specific cases and scenarios that take place in our legal system, while also focusing on the day-to-day applications of the law. Certain themes will run through the course: 1) Rights vs. Responsibilities, 2) Legality, Morality, and Ethics, 3) Proper Assertion of Rights, and 4) The Legal System’s Role in Everyday Life. This opportunity to learn will blend many different disciplines, including History, Government, Economics, Technology, Religion, and Sociology. Students will learn about the law, learn how to read cases, and examine current events from a legal perspective. Ultimately, the course is designed to support our students becoming more informed and active citizens.
  • Positive Psychology (Elective)

    Students explore the academic field of positive psychology, the study of optimal human functioning. Positive psychology concentrates on building what is right in people by scientifically studying strengths and values. Students explore current research into the dimensions of happiness and subjective well-being, and acquire the skills to implement positive psychology concepts in one’s life. Topics include happiness, self-esteem, empathy, friendship, love, achievement, creativity, music, spirituality, and humor. 
  • Positive Psychology and Judaism

    The study of human happiness has intrigued philosophers, religious leaders, and psychologists throughout history. Our Jewish texts and traditions serve as a guide to living a happy and flourishing life. By pairing positive psychology themes with Jewish practices and values of gratitude, tikkun olam, optimism, joy, resilience, Mussar/strengths, and simchot, students will learn how ancient Jewish practices can stimulate meaning and purpose in our modern world. Being happy is a mitzvah and we will explore how Jewish texts, holidays, and rituals contribute to the science of well-being. This fusion between Positive Psychology and Judaism will celebrate all the unique ways our tradition helps equip us with a guide to happiness. T
  • Race, Class & Gender (College Prep)

    Students explore race, class and gender across time and space in the US. Students engage in diverse experiences and are able to contribute their findings to the larger group setting. Critical consideration of multiple lenses and perspectives, empathic development and action, media literacy, writing, research and citation form key components of this course.

Social Science Department Faculty

List of 13 members.

  • Photo of Carolyn Collins

    Carolyn Collins 

    Social Science Teacher
  • Photo of Ellen Dooley

    Dr. Ellen Dooley 

    Social Science Instructional Leader
  • Photo of Maxime Gibert

    Maxime Gibert 

    Social Science Teacher
  • Photo of Johanna Greene

    Johanna Greene 

    Social Science Teacher
  • Photo of Ingrid Guth

    Ingrid Guth 

    Social Science Teacher
    310.440.3500 x3016
  • Photo of Margo Karlin

    Margo Karlin 

    Social Science Teacher
  • Photo of Ira Madnikoff

    Ira Madnikoff 

    Social Science Teacher & Division 9-10 House Leader
  • Photo of Alexander Mendez

    Alexander Mendez 

    Social Science Teacher
  • Photo of Gabriel Meyerson

    Mr. Gabriel Meyerson 

    Israel Education Coordinator
  • Photo of Robert Painter

    Robert Painter 

    Social Science Teacher
    310.440.3500 x3026
  • Photo of Sirida Terk

    Sirida Terk 

    Coordinator of Diversity & Inclusion
  • Photo of Zachary Miller

    Zachary Miller 

    Social Science Teacher
  • Photo of Isabella Teague

    Isabella Teague 

    Israel Programs Coordinator

Connect With Us

At Milken Community School, we think education is more than what you know. Our School, founded on Jewish values, is about who our children can become and how they can help others become who they might be. Because the world our children will create tomorrow is born in the School we build today, our mission is to educate our children so they can surpass us.
Non-discrimination Policy: Milken Community School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, athletic, and other school-administered programs.