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.

AP Opportunities

The social studies curriculum ranges from Civics, a one-semester course that satisfies the State of Illinois civics requirement, to Advanced Placement classes in history and social sciences.

Our AP classes provide students with college-level introductions to the academic disciplines central to understanding the complex interactions of human beings within social systems:

This course, typically for 9th graders, introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use and alteration of Earth's surface.

This course, typically for 10th graders, is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university world history class.

This course, typically for 11th graders, is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university U.S. history course.

This course, typically for 12th graders, gives students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States.

This course, open to grades 10-12, parallels college-level comparative government and politics courses, offering an understanding of the world’s diverse political structures and practices.

This course, open to grades 10-12, parallels a college-level psychology course, introducing students to the scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals.

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.

To Learn More

Descriptions of our courses as well as a directory of our faculty can be found here:

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