After completing five history courses prior to 12th grade, students are ready to engage each other and the world in an unconventional way through their World Cultures course. Acting in the role of “Assistant Secretaries of State," students adopt the role of a Department of State official representing one of six of the major regional assistant secretaries. Students rotate roles every six weeks or half-trimester so that they encounter cultural problems and issues from each of the State Department regions throughout the course of the year.
In their role as “Assistant Secretary,” students track current cultural issues from around the globe, research pressing cultural trends within their assigned region that relate to issues such as urbanization, religious devotion, patriarchy, and migration, among a host of other concerns, and acquire specialized knowledge in the study of one of these controversies for which they will develop a major presentation every six weeks. Students consult news and academic journals and government agency and non-governmental organization reports to facilitate their analysis.
Students use The Economist magazine as a weekly source to follow global current events and also access print and online sources in their quest to investigate, ruminate, communicate, and create. As part of a team with representatives drawn from each of the sections of World Cultures, students will interact in person and online and will formulate strategies for confronting everyday events and crises. Every day, students will be ready to provide briefings for their fellow regional undersecretaries. As part of a team, each student contributes to regional blog essays that will analyze various cultural controversies and develop annotated bibliographies that will inform the public about sources crucial to understanding evolving controversies. At the end of the course, students will have a broader and deeper understanding of the world and its cultures, and be ready to take well-honed academic skills to college and beyond.