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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

World History College Prep

World History is a one-year social science course for ninth graders at CATS Academy Boston. Over two semesters, it examines cultural and historical issues that are relevant in the world today. This course emphasizes academic skills, especially reading, writing, and note-taking.  Students use statistics, maps, primary sources, images, and reference materials. Content includes an introduction to Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and the history of the Middle East. Activities include visits to local churches, mosques, and temples. This course helps students see how individuals like themselves shape history and community. Prerequisites: ESL Level 2 or higher; placement test results

World History Honors

World History Honors is a one-year social science course for ninth graders at CATS Academy Boston. Over two semesters, it examines cultural and historical issues that are relevant in the world today. This course emphasizes academic skills, especially reading, writing, and note-taking. Students explore the relationship between themes and details, relevance, sequence, and investigation. They use statistics, maps, primary sources, images, and reference materials. In addition, World History Honors students do more advanced reading and writing assignments. Content includes an introduction to Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and the history of the Middle East. Activities include visits to local churches, mosques, and temples. This course helps students see how individuals like themselves shape history and community. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; placement test results

ESL United States History

ESL History is a one-year course in American history for students in tenth or eleventh grade who are at ESL Level 2. After one semester, students with an A in ESL US History may transfer to US History Survey CP. After passing two semesters of ESL United States History, students are not required to take US History Survey CP, but they must take a year of either Facing History CP or Economics CP 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. Like the US History Survey courses, ESL United States History focuses on themes and relevance.  

United States History Survey College Prep

United States History Survey is a one-year social science course for tenth graders or new eleventh or twelfth graders.  This course is required for all CATS Academy Boston students as part of their three-year social science requirement for graduation. It helps students be successful in 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. Events are studied for relevance to today’s issues. Excerpts from films, books, and primary sources present different perspectives on the past. United States History Survey students develop skills of note-taking, analytical reading, writing, and research. 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 qualified tenth graders and new eleventh or twelfth graders.  This course helps students be successful in college-level social science courses or AP United States History. United States History Survey Honors takes a thematic approach to US history, examining topics like immigration, race, gender, reform, civil rights, national government, imperialism, and overseas commitments in US history.  Events are studied for relevance to today’s issues. Excerpts from films, books, and primary sources present different perspectives on the past.  Students develop skills of note-taking, analytical reading, writing, and research. In addition, United States History Survey Honors students read more primary and secondary sources and make more presentations. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; History and Human Behavior Honors with a grade of B or above; History and Human Behavior CP 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 provides an introduction to the issues that dominate the news through 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, students gain insight into their own place in history and the relevance of today’s events to historical themes. In addition to raising students’ awareness of world history, the course develops their skills of analysis, reading, writing, and speaking. Prerequisite: one year of U.S. History Survey CP or Honors

World History II: Global Conflicts

Events throughout the history of humanity have shown us that there lies a dark side to human nature. This course examines specific case studies of events in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe during the 20th Century. An examination of social and political history and geography provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the events that occurred in the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Students view events through a multicultural lens in an attempt to understand the unfolding of events through a multiplicity of cultural identities involved in those events. The skills of interpreting charts, primary sources, political cartoons, and other historical documents are also developed. World History II Honors covers the same topics as the CP course but requires more academically rigorous assignments and readings. Prerequisites for CP: ESL Level 3 or higher; US History ESL, CP, or Honors. Prerequisites for Honors: ESL Level 4 or higher; US History ESL, CP, or Honors

Introduction to Law College Prep

The legal profession is practiced worldwide, and attorneys are valued for their ability to analyze and solve complex problems.  This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn and practice problem solving skills and legal analysis. Students utilize case studies, mock trial, projects, and activities to gain an understanding of the legal process, how attorneys analyze and litigate cases as well as how courts determine outcomes.  Students practice what they learn by working with a team to prepare and present a legal case in a mock trial.  In this course, students sharpen their critical thinking and oral presentation skills as well as gain an understanding about what it is like to practice law or work with lawyers in a corporate setting or law firm. Prerequisites: ESl Level 3 or higher; US History

Introduction to Philosophy College Prep

This course is a survey of Philosophy that challenges students to see how philosophy has been used in history as a way for humans to understand themselves and the nature of reality. It looks at both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions. Students also have the opportunity to examine their own philosophy and goals. This is a course that develops students’ powers of analysis, reading, writing, and speaking. Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher; one year of U.S. History Survey CP or Honors

Macroeconomics College Prep

This one-semester Social Science elective (fall only) is paired with one semester of Microeconomics 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.  In Macroeconomics CP, students learn how economic decisions are made at the national and international level. They examine economic systems around the world and economic policy-making in the United States. Students learn about markets, industries, trade, banking, finance, economic indicators, economic policy, and the Federal Reserve. Students also learn about the new economy, management, and entrepreneurship. Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher; 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.  Prerequisite: ESL Level 3 or higher; grades 11 and 12 

Women in World History

This course explores the role of women from the Modern Age through the end of the 20th century on six continents.  It uses a thematic approach that surrounds the roles of gender and identity in case studies that tie into historical events.  Background is be given on the event, and the role that women played to shape the event, sometimes in the primary position and sometimes in supporting roles.  Topics include slavery, race, and gender in Africa and the Americas, the role of gender in the enlightenment and revolution, Muslim female teachers and writers, women’s roles in the Cold War in Eastern Europe, and women in the digital age in Asia. Pre-requisites: ESL: Level 3 or higher

Women in American History

This course explores the role of women from the 1600’s through the end of the twentieth century with the goal of understanding not just what women have done but also how many fundamental moments and issues in US history –including the formation of the early republic, reform movements, slavery, war, and race relations –have hinged on certain notions of gender. Studying women’s history also means being aware of the way women have been divided by class, race, ethnicity, and more, and that while the voices of white, elite women tend to predominate, the experiences of less privileged women and women of color have also had significant effects on shaping the American past. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher

Advanced Placement electives

AP Macroeconomics

AP Macroeconomics is a one-year Social Science elective that prepares students for the AP Macroeconomics exam. It is a college-level introductory course with potential for college credit.  AP Macroeconomics focuses on national economic issues and policy. Topics include national income, inflation, unemployment, the economic cycle, economic growth, fiscal and monetary policy, the financial sector, and international trade. The textbook is by Paul Krugman, supplemented by articles from The Economist, The New York Times, and other sources. 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 United States History

This is a one-year Social Science elective that prepares students for the AP United States History exam. Students have usually had at least one year of American history before taking this course.  AP United States History is a college-level course with potential for college credit. AP United States History helps prepare students for social science courses in college. Students examine historical documents and argue about social, political, and economic history from 1600 to the present. In order to manage the large number of facts, students must have a good grounding in the themes of American history. This class helps students understand evidence, relevance, cause and effect, and points of view.  After the AP exam, students present an American history research project on a topic of their choice. Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 (ESL Level 5 preferred); B or higher in US History Survey Honors or A- or higher in US History Survey CP; and recommendation of instructor and department chair

AP Human Geography

AP Human Geography course is an introductory college-level course in Human Geography.  As history is a study of time and events, human geography is a study of place and events. Students in this course focus on economic development and introduction to social science.  The course includes topics like the environment, health care, religion, and education around the world and in history.  Knowledge of geographers’ methods and tools is also part of the course. AP Human Geography emphasizes acquisition of college-level vocabulary and concepts. Students are required to take the AP Human Geography exam. Prerequisite: ESL 4 or higher; B or better in US History Survey Honors or A- or better in US History Survey CP

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. Prerequisites: ESL Level 4 (ESL Level 5 preferred); B or higher in US History Honors or A- or higher in US History 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

Christina Torns
Department Chair
World History and Philosophy
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Christina Torns

Department Chair
World History and Philosophy

Christina is the Chair of the Social Science Department at CATS Academy and currently teaches World History: Global Conflicts which focuses on acts of mass violence and genocide in the 20th Century and an Introduction to Philosophy elective course. Christina attended the State University of New York at Stony Brook and received three undergraduate degrees in the fields of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies. She then went on to study at the University of Georgia and received a Master’s Degree in History and Religion. Her graduate field research was conducted in the Middle East and she spent time as an undergraduate studying in Europe and Australia where she worked in a Vietnamese Buddhist Monastery. Before coming to teach at CATS Academy, Christina taught both high school and college for six years, and also taught English in the Czech Republic.

David O'Donnell
US History
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David O'Donnell

US History

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
AP US History
and US History Honors
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Dan Doherty

AP US History
and US History Honors

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.

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.

Brenda Bowen
AP World History
and US History & Law
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Brenda Bowen

AP World History
and US History & Law

Doctorate, Suffolk University Law School

Mary Williams
AP Human Geography
and US History
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Mary Williams

AP Human Geography
and US History

BA, Secondary Education & History, Assumption College

Michael Pantano
World History
and US History Honors
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Michael Pantano

World History
and US History Honors

Juris Doctor, Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Ryan Daniels
US History
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Ryan Daniels

US History

BA, History, Eastern Nazarene College
EdM, Eastern Nazarene College

Before his arrival at CATS Academy, Ryan worked at Northeastern University's Global Pathways Program as an ESL instructor. He was responsible for helping to prepare international students for studying subjects at collegiate level. He has also held ESL teaching positions in Chinese universities. Ryan has 15 years of ESL experience in higher educational settings. Ryan has received his BA in History and his EdM from Eastern Nazarene College.

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