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Social Studies

Inspiring and empowering lives by connecting students with their past, present, and future selves to become informed citizens in an ever-changing world.

Committed to excellence and continuous improvement, the Conrad Weiser Social Studies department strives to ensure all students achieve their highest potential in and out of the classroom. Students will utilize the highest levels of critical thinking and creativity through active collaboration, interdisciplinary studies, and communication with teachers, peers, and members of the community.

Faculty

Mr. Eric Balthaser
Mr. Balthaser has his Bachelors of Secondary Social Studies Education from Kutztown University and his Masters in Education from LaSalle University. Mr. Balthaser is a member of the middle school SAP team. Mr. Balthaser teaches 7th grade Social Studies. Mr. Balthaser has been at Conrad Weiser since 2011.

Email: e_balthaser@conradweiser.org

Mr. Dylan Boll
Mr. Boll has his Bachelors of Secondary Social Studies Education from Albright College. Mr. Boll is the Assistant High School Baseball Coach. Mr. Boll teaches 8th grade Social Studies. Mr. Boll has been at Conrad Weiser since 2018.

Email: d_boll@conradweiser.org

Mr. Kenneth Bright
Mr. Bright has a degree in International Relations from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, his teaching certification from Longwood University, his social studies certification from the University of Virginia, and is currently working on a degree in Educational Leadership from Penn State University. Mr. Bright is a coach for Middle School Baseball, an advisor for Ski Club, an advisor for Mock Trial, and an advisor for CW Travels Club. Mr. Bright is involved in the Conrad Weiser Lions Club. Mr. Bright teaches US Government, US History I, and Sociology. Mr. Bright has been at Conrad Weiser since 2001.

Email: k_bright@conradweiser.org

Mrs. Katie Ciemiewicz
Mrs. Ciemiewicz has her Bachelors of Arts in History and Secondary Education from Lebanon Valley College and her Masters in Education from Wilkes University. Mrs. Ciemiewicz is an advisor for National History Day, an advisor for Make It Happen Club, and plays in the faculty rock band Staff Infection. Mrs. Ciemiewicz teaches Global Studies and Western Civilization. Mrs. Ciemiewicz has been at Conrad Weiser since 2003.

Email: k_ciemiewicz@conradweiser.org

Mr. Steve Dallas
Mr. Dallas has his Bachelors of Secondary Education from Shippensburg University. Mr. Dallas coached Boys and Girls Basketball at CW Middle School and High School for 15 years. Mr. Dallas teaches 7th grade Social Studies. Mr. Dallas has been at Conrad Weiser since 2003.

Email: s_dallas@conradweiser.org

Mrs. Heidi Luckenbill
Mrs. Luckenbill has her Bachelors of Arts in History from Shepherd University and her Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Kutztown University. Mrs. Luckenbill is an advisor for Mock Trial, an advisor for Strategy Game Club, and an advisor for Magic the Gathering. Mrs. Luckenbill teaches US History 1, Global Studies, and AP US History. Mrs. Luckenbill has been at Conrad Weiser since 2010.

Email: h_luckenbill@conradweiser.org

Mr. Zach Musser
Mr. Musser has his Bachelors of Secondary Social Studies Education from East Stroudsburg University and his Masters in Education from Wilkes University. Mr. Musser is an advisor for Ski Club, and an advisor for Retro Gaming Club. Mr. Musser is the Lead Learner for the Social Studies Department. Mr. Musser teaches US History 1, US History 2, and Military History. Mr. Musser has been at Conrad Weiser since 2007.

Email: z_musser@conradweiser.org

Mr. John Rohm
Mr. Rohm has his Bachelors of Secondary Education from Shippensburg University, his Masters in Education from Alvernia University, and his Administrative Certification from Alvernia University. Mr. Rohm is an advisor for Ski Club and advisor for the Senior Class. Mr. Rohm is a member of the American Hellenic Educational Professionals Association. Mr. Rohm teaches US Government. Mr. Rohm has been at Conrad Weiser since 2000.

Email: j_rohm@conradweiser.org

Mr. Eric Rothenberger
Mr. Rothenberger has his Bachelors of Secondary Social Studies Education from Millersville University and his Masters in Education from Wilkes University. Mr. Rothenberger is an advisor for WorldQuest Team, an advisor for CW Improv Theater, an advisor for National History Day, an advisor for the CW Esports Club, and plays in the faculty rock band Staff Infection. Mr. Rothenberger teaches US History and Economics. Mr. Rothenberger has been at Conrad Weiser since 2009.

Email: e_rothenberger@conradweiser.org

Mr. Scott Wert
Mr. Wert has his Bachelors of Secondary Social Studies Education from Shippensburg University, his Masters in American/European History from Millersville University, and is finishing his Doctorate in Atlantic World History at Lehigh University. Mr. Wert is an advisor for the Yearbook Club, an advisor for National History Day, and plays in the faculty rock band Staff Infection. Mr. Wert serves on the Board of Trustees for the Berks History Center. Mr. Wert teaches US History 1 and AP World History. Mr. Wert has been at Conrad Weiser since 1996.

Email: s_wert@conradweiser.org

Mr. Dane Yuengel
Mr. Yuengel has his Bachelors of Secondary Social Studies Education from Kutztown University, his Masters in Classroom Technology from Wilkes University, and is finishing his second Masters in Education from Wilkes University. Mr. Yuengel is a coach for the Middle School Track and Field. Mr. Yuengel teaches 8th grade Social Studies. Mr. Yuengel has been at Conrad Weiser since 2013.

Email: d_yuengel@conradweiser.org


Clubs and Activities

CW Travels
CW Travels is a club affiliated with the school where students have the opportunity to participate in trips around the world. The club spends time fundraising to offset the costs of the trip and prepares for the trip by learning more about the places they visit before they go. Participation helps students be more worldly citizens. Past trips have visited Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, and England.


Make it Happen
Make it Happen Club promotes a positive school environment and community as well as student activism in local, regional, national and world issues. Various events are held to promote and support the causes near and dear to students of the club. Some of the organizations supported through the efforts of the club include Potters for Peace, Conrad Weiser Food Pantry, Feeding America, Fair Trade, American Red Cross, Berks Women in Crisis, SafeBerks, Opportunity House, NEDA, the Kabala School, Make a Wish Foundation, and To Write Love on Her Arms.


Mock Trial
Mock Trial is an opportunity for students interested in debate and law to improve those skills in a co-curricular competitive environment. The statewide High School Mock Trial Competition is one of the top high school academic competitions in the Commonwealth. The competition is sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Weiser students compete at the county, district, and state level.
County Champions - 2007, 2009, 2013


National History Day
NHD is a yearlong educational program that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries, interactive websites, and research papers based on research related to an annual theme. These projects are then evaluated at the regional, state, and national competitions.
Regional Champions - 2009, 2018


Veterans Support
Since 2007, the Social Studies Department has supported the maintenance of the Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Circle in front of the High School. Students actively participate in the Veterans Day Walk to help remember and honor the former CW students who were involved in service to their country.


WorldQuest
The World Affairs Councils of America’s flagship youth education program is a fun, fast-paced team competition for high school students. Academic WorldQuest tests players’ knowledge of current international politics, geography, global economics, history, and world cultures. Students study material related to those topics to prepare for the Berks County Competition in the winter.
2008 - 2nd, 2014 - 3rd, 2016 - 2nd


Course Offerings

Course Offerings

The Social Studies Department offers a wide range of core and elective courses to expose students to the various topics of social studies. Courses are designed to enhance student knowledge of the social studies topics covered in the course, as well as develop skills that create more well-rounded students and citizens.

For more detailed information about graduation requirements and course offerings, view the High School Program of Studies.

Required Courses


World History - 7
The course examines and analyzes the history of the world and its peoples in both chronological and thematic fashion. Topics will include, but are not limited to: early man, ancient civilizations, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance and Reformation. Students will gain an understanding of why it is important to study history and how learning from history can shape the future. History will come alive in the classroom through the use of the school’s technological resources. The internet, software programs and an interactive textbook will be utilized by the students as they learn to make intelligent and informed decisions about issues that are best understood in a historical, geographic and cultural context. This will make them more prepared to meet the future in our complex world. Students will learn through the Hybrid style of teaching with direct small group instruction, individualized assignments and collaborative projects.

Western Civilizations & Early America - 8
The course focuses on Western Civilizations & Early America. The course examines and analyzes the history and geography of Europe from the Renaissance to the present day, including the establishment of the European Union. The course also explores the history and geography of the United States with a review of The First Americans, through Exploration and Life in the American Colonies, to the establishment of our Constitution. The course also focuses on the local region with a study of the history of Pennsylvania. The internet, software programs, and an interactive textbook will be utilized by the students as they examine primary and secondary sources, and analyze historical events that have impacted on the establishment of our nation.

U. S. History I - 9
The purpose of U.S. History I is to study our nation’s history from the French and Indian War (1754) to the end of the Gilded Age (1900). Students will learn to recognize and appreciate different interpretations of American heritage. The course will include the inquiry approach to the study of history. Basic study skills will also be reinforced. The student, upon completion of the course, shall have a greater understanding of American History and its complexities.

U. S. History I College Prep - 9
The purpose of U. S. History I CP is to study our nation's history from the French and Indian War (1754) to the end of the Gilded Age (1900). Students will learn to recognize and appreciate different interpretations of American heritage. By mastering basic study skills and using analytic skills of inquiry and critical thinking, the student will become aware of the intellectual, social, political and economic changes within history. Library and research skills will be examined and the writing of essays and research papers will challenge the student preparing for college.

U. S. History I Honors- (weighted 1.1 ) - 9
Honors United States History I is an opportunity for the truly dedicated Social Studies student to explore, interpret, critically review, analyze, and evaluate key topics, events, themes, and issues in the Social Studies curriculum. Students will study our nation’s history from the French and Indian War (1754) to the end of the Gilded Age (1900). The student will critically review and analyze themes and issues, using primary sources as well as professional articles, covering the political, social, economic, geographical, and intellectual ideas of the time periods. The course will require additional and more challenging reading, writing, and historical research, including summer reading assignments, to prepare the student for a more competitive environment and job market. Students will be selected for United States History I Honors based on their achievement of an “A” average in Social Studies and a reading comprehension/writing assessment. The honors student must maintain a “B” average U.S. History I Honors and passing grades in all other courses to remain in the honors program. The Social Studies Department will make recommendations yearly during the course selection process.

U. S. History II - 10
The purpose of U. S. History II is to study our nation's history from the Progressive Era (1900) to present day. Students will learn to recognize and appreciate different interpretations of recent American history. Economic, social, and political issues will be a constant theme, as will the problems of a dynamic society in an increasingly complex and technology- oriented world. Basic study skills will also be reinforced. The student, upon completion of the course, shall have a greater understanding of recent American History and how it impacts the America of today.

U. S. History II College Prep - 10
The purpose of U. S. History II CP is to study our nation's history from the Progressive Era (1900) to present day. Students will learn to recognize and appreciate different interpretations of recent American history. Economic, social, and political issues will be a constant theme and explored in depth, as will the problems of a dynamic society in an increasingly complex and technology-oriented world. Emphasis is placed upon the development of historical and critical thinking skills. The student, upon completion of the course, shall have a greater understanding of recent American History and how it impacts the America of today.

U. S. History II Honors – (weighted 1.1 ) - 10
United States History II Honors is an opportunity for the truly dedicated Social Studies student to explore, interpret, critically review, analyze, and evaluate key topics, events, themes, and issues to study our nation's history from the Progressive Era (1900) to present day. The student will critically review and analyze themes and issues using primary sources as well as professional articles, covering the political, social, economic, geographical, and intellectual ideas of the time periods. The course will require additional and more challenging reading, writing, and historical research, including reading of two historical non-fiction works of the student’s choice, and an oral history project.

AP U.S. History - 10 through 12 - (weighted 1.2)
The purpose of the Advanced Placement U.S. History course is to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. History. Students will learn to assess historical materials and weigh evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship based on reoccurring themes in U.S. history. The AP U.S. History course will develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively.

Global Studies - 11
The purpose of Global Studies is to help the student understand the cultural, political, economic, geographical and historical forces which help to shape and influence their lives and the lives of other people around the world. Students will realize that differences in culture are the result of these forces which vary from country to country.

Global Studies College Prep - 11
The purpose of Global Studies is to help the student understand the cultural, political, economic, geographical and historical forces which help to shape and influence the lives of other people around the world. Students will realize that the differences in culture are a result of these forces which vary from region to region. This course will include more in depth and varied supplemental readings on topics relevant to the cultures being studies and to issues of global concern. Research activities and critical thinking skills will be emphasized in the study of non-Western cultures.

Global Studies Honors (weighted 1.1) - 11
Honors Global Studies is an opportunity for the truly dedicated Social Studies student to explore, interpret, critically review, analyze, and evaluate key topics, events, themes, and issues in the Social Studies curriculum. Students will examine non-Western cultures, with a major emphasis on East Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. The student will critically review and analyze themes and issues, using primary sources as well as professional articles, covering the political, social, economic, geographical, and intellectual ideas of the time periods. Students will relate historical events and concepts to today. The course will require additional and more challenging reading, writing, and historical research, including summer reading assignments, to prepare the student for a more competitive environment and job market.

Advanced Placement World History (weighted 1.2) - 11 and 12
“The purpose of the Advanced Placement World History course is to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, in interaction with different types of human societies. This understanding is advanced through a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. The course highlights the nature of the changes in international frameworks and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies.” (College Board)

Government and Politics - 12
The basic purpose of this course is to analyze the social, political, and economic problems of the United States. Particular emphasis is given to the political system and its operation, as well as the correlating of current events into the curriculum. Upon completion of this course, students should have a sense and knowledge of their rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society.

Government and Politics College Prep - 12
The purpose of this course is to analyze the social, political, and economic problems of the United States in greater detail than Government and Politics. Particular emphasis will be placed on library research skills and supplementary readings to produce a research paper on contemporary issues. Upon completion of this course students should have a sense and knowledge of their rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society.

Government and Politics Honors (weighted 1.1) – 12
Students will examine topics including, “The American System, Opinions, Interests, and Organizations, Institutions of Government, The Politics of Public Policy, and The Nature of American Democracy”. The reading and study of the Constitution, and additional primary and secondary source readings will help the student critically review and analyze themes, issues, and policies pertinent to the understanding of government and politics. Students will relate historical events and concepts to current events and concepts. The course will require additional and more challenging reading, writing, and historical research to prepare our students for a more competitive educational environment and job market. Upon completion of this course students should have a sense and knowledge of their rights and responsibilities as citizens in a democratic society.

Advanced Placement Government and Politics (weighted 1.2) - 12
“Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics is the study of general concepts used to interpret United States politics, and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute United States politics. The topics to be covered include: Constitutional Underpinnings of United States History; Political Beliefs and Behaviors; Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media; Institutions of National Government; Public Policy; and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.”





Elective Courses

Western Civilization - 11 through 12 - (weighted 1.1)
This course in an elective designed to understand the development of Western Civilization, from its origins to modern Western society. Foundations in Greek and Roman empires will stretch through to the feudal Europe and the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, exploration and Enlightenment, nationalism and imperialism, to the new western world. Both a thematic and chronological approach will be taken to discuss the major periods of development, as well as individual country case studies. Political, economic, philosophical and social approaches to history will be employed as well to gain a better perspective into the influences of Western society on the world. Social studies teacher signature required for admittance.

Colonial Pennsylvania and the Native Northeast - 10 through 12 - (weighted 1.1)
This course is the study of early history of Pennsylvania as local, regional, and national history. With its dynamic economy, political freedom, and cultural and religious diversity, this mid-Atlantic region has been cited by many historians as the source of later United States culture. The scope of the class includes prehistoric Native cultures and the earliest European settlements along the Delaware River in the 1600's up to 1800 and the Early Republic Period. Topics will include European settlements and Native trade, Atlantic World economy, colonial Philadelphia, Native American diplomacy and Conrad Weiser, French and Indian War, American Revolution, and early republic. Students will complete extensive readings of both primary and secondary sources, as well as learn important historiographical questions of the period.

Intro to Economics - 11 through 12 - (weighted 1.1)
The purpose of this course is to give students a thorough understanding of the basic principles of economics, more specifically as it applies to microeconomics and macroeconomics. The course covers: how individual decision makers affect markets, how and why economies within the world system make certain choices and decisions, and basic concepts applicable to both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Students will learn how to think like an economist, and will become literate in the current events and issues in the field of economics.

Sociology - 11 through 12 - (weighted 1.1)
Sociology is the study of individuals, groups, organizations, cultures, and societies and their inter-relationships. The concentration of the course will be in the discussion and analysis of culture and social structure, socialization, political sociology, stratification, social inequality, race and ethnicity, the development of society and institutions, and social change. Acceptance into this course will be limited to those students who have maintained an "A" average in social studies. The student must also have the written consent of the social studies chairperson/sociology teacher. Exceptions to the above criteria may be made on a case-by-case basis by the social studies department/administration. The course is weighted and has an academic college level curriculum.

Military History – 10 through 12
This course is designed to educate and inform students about our Military history. It will take a brief look at important battles that shaped the world. We will start with modern advances during the Greek and Roman empires. It will then take a more in-depth look at America’s military role throughout the process of becoming the United States of America that we know today. We will focus on the background and set-up for conflict, tactics, military personnel, technological advances, and government’s role in military.

Social Studies Internship– 10 through 12 - (Prerequisite – Approved by Lead Learner)
A Social Studies internship course is offered to any senior as an alternative to service learning. This “independent” course is intended to give seniors hands-on experience in the civic arena. Internships are the bridge between academia and the professional world and present an opportunity for the development of effective citizens and the potential for future employment. Internships may be found in government offices, social service agencies, and on the staff of elected officials. The goal is to be involved working with a community organization that is related to the Social Studies field. The emphasis is on community outreach and learning about the application of Social Studies content. Students will be required to submit a project proposal (prior to the semester), a time sheet of activities, a reflection paper each marking period and a ‘focus’ grade on the social studies internship process itself. A student is also required to complete a culminating research project in a particular social studies subject area that is of interest to the intern. (e.g. Organizing a symposium on the Peace Corps or World War II Re-enactment Day) If traveling off-site, the student must provide their own transportation.


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