Humanities Curriculum Night 2020 Overview

January 2020

Why Humanities at a STEM School?

  • According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities 2013 Survey of business and non-profit leaders:
  • Nearly all employers surveyed (93 percent) say that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.”
  • More than 75 percent of those surveyed say they want more emphasis on five key areas including: critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings.
  • 80 percent of employers agree that, regardless of their major, every college student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

Source: It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success. 2013. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities and Hart Research Associates.

English Requirements and Course Offerings

Students are REQUIRED to take four credits of English, via the following courses:

  • 9th Grade: English 9/IBET
  • 10th Grade: English 10 (as part of Hum 1)
  • 11th Grade: English 11 (as part of Hum 2)
  • 12th Grade: Either AP Literature and Composition or AP Language and Composition

English Electives (Full-year)

These do not count as a CORE course.

  • Journalism 1-4 (Newspaper)
  • Photojournalism 1-3 (Yearbook)
  • Broadcast Journalism


Social Studies Course Offerings and Requirements

Students are REQUIRED to take four credits of Social Studies, via the following courses:

  • 10th Grade: World History and Geography II (as part of Hum 1)
  • 11th Grade: AP US History or US/VA History (as part of Hum 2)
  • 12th Grade: AP US Government
  • The fourth social studies credit can be met via elective courses (one-year long course or two semester courses)

Semester Courses

  • Anthropology
  • Law and Society
  • Inquiry into Ideas
  • Religious Studies
  • 20th Century World History
  • America & the World since 1989
  • Honors Psychology
  • Ancient & Classical Civilizations*

*This is a social studies elective that is specifically designed for freshmen. The course emphasizes not only content, but also research skills that students will need for upper level history courses.

Full-year Courses

  • History of Science
  • Ancient Civilizations


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why consider taking US/VA history instead of AP US History?

A: Students should consider honors US/VA if they:

  • have an intense junior year AP schedule
  • they are slow readers
  • they want to study Humanities without the pressure of an AP exam
  • they want to cover the material at a slower pace

Q: Is World History and Geography 1 a pre-requisite for World History and Geography 2?

A:  NO!

TJ students do not take a mandatory history course in ninth grade (because of the required technology course).

WH & G 1 can meet the fourth social studies elective credit if it is taken in summer school, but it is NOT required.  If taken over the summer, it is also not an honors course.

TJ-specific electives are a rich alternative to this survey course.

Q: Why doesn’t AP Psychology count as the 4th elective social studies credit?

A: These are popular electives at our school.  We want students to take them based on genuine interest, and not overload on AP classes for an extra grade boost.


Economics and Personal Finance Requirement

Starting with the class of 2015, all Virginia students are required by the state to complete an Econ/Personal Finance credit in addition to their four social studies credits.

Students have a variety of options to meet this requirement, including an online self-paced course, the county online EPF course, or AP Macro/Microeconomics.


Additional Resources: TJ Writing Center and Academic Language

TJ Writing Center: In an attempt to foster a community of students helping one another with writing, the TJ Writing Center was established in 2011. The TJ Writing Center meets twice a week in order to provide one on one consultations as well as special student- led workshops on various topics.

Academic Language: During lunches and 8th periods, students are able to receive one-on- one academic language support from our specialist, Ms. Glotfelty.


Thank you for attending Curriculum Night.

Please let us know what questions you have!

~Suzette Henry, Humanities Division Manager, English Chair,

~Brian Field, Assistant Humanities Division Manager, Social Studies Chair,