The History Department believes we study the past to understand and shape the present. Using a process that includes examining evidence and experience, discussion, and interpretation, the history curriculum exposes students to both western and non-western historical traditions while grounding them in the history of the United States.

Courses embody the values and mission of Westtown School by fostering in students a deepening sense of civic understanding, involvement, and social activism. In addition, the lens of history is viewed with attention to including and highlighting diverse perspectives that are foundational to developing an inclusive, anti-racist society.

The history curriculum includes the following core experiences: 

  • Simulations and debates in which students articulate a critical stance on an issue of civic importance
  • Careful analysis of primary and secondary texts, with emphasis on the historical essay and thesis-driven writing
  • Peace and Justice Social Action Project in grades 9 or 10 blends research and action, challenging students to consider their role in creating a society that is equitable and just
  • U.S. History includes a Personal Histories Project that switches the lens of history to cover the war inclusive of gender, race, and socioeconomic status.
  • Research projects and presentations, required in grades 11 and 12, prepare students to develop the analytical skills and persuasive practice to propose solutions to significant challenges in the world.
  • Semester-length electives incorporate contemporary issues including an in-depth exploration of economic, sustainability and racial justice topics.