Social Studies

Franklin High School

Social Studies Department

12000 Reisterstown Road

Reisterstown, MD 21136

Our Mission:

Our mission as a Social Studies Department is to create informed citizens who engage in critical analysis and civic discourse.  We do this by maintaining rigorous standards that encourage research, critical reading, thinking, and writing skills.  We do this so that students will be civic, career, and college ready as well as prepared to be globally engaged citizens.

Abbie Stiffler

Social Studies Department Chair

[email protected]


Required High School Courses

Students are required to earn 3.5 credits in Social Studies.  Government, World History, US History and Economics are required for graduation.  Students also need to pass the Government HSA. Courses are differentiated to meet the needs of a variety of learners. 


9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade


American Government

World History

United States History

Personal Finance and Economic Theory


Honors American Government

Honors World History

Honors US History or AP US History

Honors PFET or AP Economics


AP Government

GT World History



AP United States History

AP Economics


Grade 9

Standard/Honors American Government (1 credit): This course helps students to develop skills and acquire insights essential to an understanding of American political, economic, and  social life at the national, state, and local levels. Attention will be on political, economic, and social issues and preparation for responsible citizenship.


Advanced Placement American Government (1 credit): This course is about the American political system.  Political ideology, the development of the political system, and our democratic institutions form the basis of discussion for the course.  The main thrust of the course, however, is to be able to apply an understanding of our political system to contemporary events.



Grade 10

Standard/Honors World History (1 credit): Significant episodes from global history are investigated including global and regional development; the growth of historical ties of interdependence; the expansion of Europe its its domination of the world in a modern era; the development of Africa and Asia in the modern era; and the development of global networks of political, economic, and social inter-dependence in the contemporary world.  Historical themes are used to provide a structure of study.  Reference to a variety of perspectives and resources help students develop a comprehensive view of global development.


Gifted and Talented World History (1 credit):  This course provides opportunities to analyze history in a global setting.  Units of study are organized chronologically and emphasize regional studies, historical turning points, and interregional relationships.  The course is based upon contemporary world history scholarship and requires students to apply understandings of historiography.    




Grade 11

Standard/Honors United States History (1 credit): A thematic chronological format beginning with the Reconstruction era provides structure for this study of U.S. History that helps students understand the evolution and relevance of their national heritage.  Themes are presented chronologically emphasizing more recent U.S. History and development of historical thinking skills.  Opportunities for analysis of historical issues and for research are imbedded within this course.


Grade 12

Standard/Honors Economics and Public Issues (1/2 credit):  Economics and Public Issues will prepare students for the economic interactions they will encounter as producers, consumers, and citizens. This course will provide the students the opportunity to master the skills needed to conduct personal finances as earners, savers, borrowers, and taxpayers.



Psychology (1/2 credit):

This is a study of human behavior, examined within the context of the behavioral sciences of psychology and sociology. Fundamental to this course is a focus upon identity development, schools of psychology, normal and abnormal behaviors, and treatment.

Honors Abnormal Psychology (1/2 credit):

Students define and analyze abnormal behavior from a variety of perspectives. The major types and ranges of abnormal behavior are examined in detail, with special emphasis on causation and symptoms. The course culminates with analysis of treatment approaches and their respective techniques. Note: Completion of Psychology is recommended.

Philosophy (1/2 credit):

This course examines philosophical questions about the nature of being, the mind, ethical behavior, and life. A range of important philosophical systems and several ethical dilemmas that have consistently perplexed thoughtful people will be examined. This course should appeal to students who have a strong interest in questions rather than answers, the unknown rather than the known, ideas rather than facts, and the “why” rather than the “what.”

Facing History: The Holocaust (1/2 credit):

 This course will help students develop an appreciation for justice, a concern for interpersonal understanding, and sensitivity for those who have been wronged. Students will identify historical patterns of racism in order to connect the past with the present. Students will increase understandings of human behavior in order to recognize different forms of prejudice and discrimination.

Films and History (1/2 credit):

For many Americans, movie dramatizations are their primary source of knowledge about many events in the past. But how accurate are they? In this course, students will develop criteria for judging the accuracy of historical films. They will then view and analyze several movie classics that portray various periods of history. Research of life during historical eras and review of movie criticism will be included. Students will assess the results of research to give each film a rating for its historical accuracy. This will enable them to determine if these movies about a historical period can be viewed for educational value, as well as raise questions that they should consider whenever they again watch a film portraying the past.

Juvenile Justice (1/2 Credit): 

This course will help students develop successful patterns of behavior by making them more aware of what triggers conflict and confrontation. Juvenile Justice will improve understanding of legal terminology, provide a greater sense of self-awareness and understanding of rules, and increase skills of communication. Students will analyze the purposes and consequences of the distinctions between the juvenile and adult legal systems. While examining issues and problems which affect our society, students will develop a sense of citizenship and responsibility.

AP Courses


What are Advanced Placement (AP) Courses and why should I take them?

Advanced Placement courses provide the opportunity for students to take rigorous, college-level courses in high school and, depending upon their score on the AP exam and the college attending, receive college credit, advanced placement, or both.  Many colleges and universities grant college credit based on the AP test score a student earns and as a result, advanced academic standing may be granted to a student. Earning college credit prior to attending college may allow students to earn a college degree in fewer than four years, take lighter course loads during their freshman year, and/or complete a double major or study abroad while still graduating on time.

Students taking AP courses are better prepared for the college challenge and perform better in college than those students who have not taken AP courses. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Preventing underachievement in high school requires appropriately enriched and challenging course selections.” The United States Department of Education has provided the following statistical information regarding AP courses and student performance in college:

  • Students who take no AP courses in high school have a 33% chance of earning a Bachelor’s degree
  • Students who take 1 AP course have a 59% chance of earning a Bachelor’s degree
  • Students who take 2 or more AP courses have a 76% chance of earning a Bachelor’s degree

What Advanced Placement (AP) Courses are offered at Franklin High School?

AP Government and Politics: U. S. (Grade 9)

This course is about the American political system.  Political ideology, the development of the political system, and our democratic institutions form the basis of discussion for the course.  Student s will be able to evaluate the roll of the national government and its relationship to the concept of liberty in a pluralistic society.  The discussions will emphasize the changing political culture of American society and its effect on voting patterns, trends, and the process of government.  The main thrust of the course, however, is to be able to apply an understanding of our political system to contemporary events.  Enrollment in this course meets the graduation requirement for Government.

AP Human Geography (Grade 10, 11, or 12)

The AP Human Geography course is equivalent to an introductory college-level course in human geography. The course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications. The curriculum reflects the goals of the National Geography Standards (2012).

AP U.S. History (Grade 11)

The purpose of this course is to provide a challenging and unique study of United States History at the college level.  The course places students in the role of historians; investigating the events, personalities, conditions, and issues of the past.  Success in AP United States History requires the ability to read and analyze complex texts, and the ability to write historical arguments. Students will need to be able to apply historical knowledge when answering AP style selective response and essay questions.   Enrollment in this course meets the graduation requirements for US History.

AP Psychology (Grade 11 or 12)

The AP Psychology course introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology. Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, analyze bias, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas.

AP Microeconomics/Macroeconomics (Grade 12)

This course places students in the roll of economist: investigating economic behaviors, applying principles of economic reasoning, and making informed economic decisions in the fields of microeconomics and macroeconomics.  This course requires students to interpret data, express ideas in writing and graphically, and apply understanding to real-world conditions.  Upon completion of the course, students will take AP exams in both Micro-and Macro-Economics.  This course meets the graduation requirement for Economics. 

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