Skip To Main Content

History and Social Sciences

Image of course catalog


Juniors visit Gettysburg Battlefield

photo of scene from Gettysburg

When asked what they wanted to learn more about, students in Robert von Glahn's Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Lost Cause elective chose the Battle of Gettysburg, noting that, if possible, they would like to visit the battlefield. They wrote up a field trip proposal, researched different tour options, and utilized our library to identify additional readings to inform their visit. 


The overarching purpose of the History Department is to prepare students to become knowledgeable and responsible citizens of their community, state, nation, and world through the study of past and current events.

Thinking like an historian

What does it mean to think historically? Students learn to ask questions, evaluate sources, corroborate evidence, and make connections. By considering multiple perspectives and connections between past and present, our Potomac historians learn naturally - especially when Washington, DC serves as a close extension of the classroom.


Three years of history, Early Civilizations and Global Contact (ninth grade), The Modern World (tenth grade), and United States History (eleventh grade), are required. 

Course Spotlights

This one-semester course introduces students to key microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts, basic business principles, and the workings of financial markets and institutions.

Modern World History examines global events from 1760 to the present under the umbrella of the essential question: What is “modernity”? Students will analyze from multiple perspectives the various revolutions that shook the Atlantic Basin at the end of the 18th century, industrialization, the growth and contraction of political and colonial empires, the experience of indigenous peoples, and war in the age of global interdependence.

The United States incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any other country in the world. The design of this course is two-fold: for students to analyze and understand the origins and rise of the modern-day mass incarceration phenomenon through the lens of United States history while simultaneously paying particular attention to the distinct experiences that various population groups have been subjected to throughout this rise.