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Social Studies

The Social Studies Department of Elmwood Park High School strives to provide students a well-rounded, dynamic curriculum highlighting civic engagement and responsibility.

Our standards-aligned courses equip students to think critically and historically, enabling them to place current political, cultural and social issues into a broader perspective.

By engaging with the past and grappling with the present, our students develop the analytical abilities and problem-solving skills necessary to participate effectively in their communities, the nation and the world.

Democracy School Award

In 2016, EPHS was named an Illinois Democracy School, an honor that only 54 of the state's more than 800 high schools had received at that point.

The award recognizes schools that have excelled at providing civic learning to their students — learning that prepares students to become informed and active citizens.

Candidate schools must show a commitment to five elements that research has shown to be essential for high-quality civic learning:

  • Vision & Leadership
    • A vision for the importance of civic learning, and the shared leadership to see it through.
  • Curriculum
    • A strategically designed curriculum that incorporates effective approaches to civic learning.
  • Teacher Hiring, Assessment & Professional Development
    • Hiring practices, performance reviews and professional development that assert and support the importance of effective civic learning.
  • School-Community Connections
    • Opportunities to involve the community in the school and the school in the community.
  • School Climate
    • A school climate that nurtures and models civic dispositions such as personal responsibility, student engagement in decision-making, and mutual respect and tolerance.

The EPHS Social Studies Department saw the Democracy Schools initiative as a way to infuse the entire school with an appreciation for civic learning and citizen participation. Thanks to the department's efforts, EPHS met the program's rigorous standards and was formally inducted as an Illinois Democracy School in 2017.

More information about our department's role in earning EPHS the designation of "Democracy School" is available here: