Social Studies

Social Studies Department

Social Studies Teachers

Thomas Russell Middle School Social Studies Teachers

Steve Dutra

Ron Kopplinger

Paul Ngo

Maggie Rangel

Stephanie Woodhams

Mary Shaffer

About Social Studies

8th Grade U.S. History: Students in grade eight study the ideas, issues and events from the framing of the Constitution up to World War I, with an emphasis on America's role in the war. After reviewing the development of America's democratic institutions founded in the Judeo‑Christian heritage and English parliamentary traditions, particularly the shaping of the Constitution, students trace the development of American politics, society, culture and economy and relate them to the emergence of major regional differences. They learn about the challenges facing the new nation, with an emphasis on the causes, course and consequences of the Civil War. They make connections between the rise of industrialization and contemporary social and economic conditions.

7th Grade Social Studies: Students in grade seven study the social, cultural, and technological changes that occurred in Europe, Africa, South America ,and Asia from 500‑1789 AD. After reviewing the ancient world and the ways in which archaeologists and historians uncover the past, students study the history and geography of great civilizations that were developing concurrently throughout the world during medieval and early modern times. They examine the growing economic interaction among civilizations as well as the exchange of ideas, beliefs, technologies and commodities. They learn about the resulting growth of Enlightenment philosophy and the new examination of the concepts of reason and authority, the natural rights of human beings and the divine right of kings, experimentalism in science and the dogma of belief. Finally, students assess the political forces let loose by the Enlightenment, particularly the rise of democratic ideas, and they learn about the continuing influence of these ideas in the world today.