St. John’s Social Studies Department, through a wide variety of academic disciplines, strengthens students’ knowledge of the past and their understanding of their place in the world today. Whether studying human behavior through psychology and economics, gaining an appreciation for art and music, or studying the history of the world from the earliest civilizations to current political debates, students observe, analyze, and evaluate the many connections across time, place, and subject matter, both in and outside of the classroom. 

Students develop strong critical-thinking skills and the ability to express their ideas in a variety of ways. Through informal class discussions to individual and group presentations, essay writing, and research papers, students are expected to articulate their interpretations of the historical past and the modern world around them. 

Course Offerings

  • World History and Geography 1
  • World History and Geography 2 
  • US History 
  • US Government
  • Global Issues in Context
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Global Issues in Contact
  • AP Art History
  • AP World History
  • AP US History 
  • AP European History 
  • AP Psychology 
  • AP US Government and Politics 
  • Introduction to Psychology 
  • Introduction to Sociology

Course Requirements

Students must complete three credits of social studies to graduate. Requirements include:
  • World History
  • Geography 1
  • US History
  • More than 80% of seniors complete a fourth social studies elective. 


  • 9th Grade: World History and Geography 1
  • 10th Grade: World History and Geography 2 or AP World History 
  • 11th Grade: US History or AP US History and additional elective
  • 12th Grade: Optional elective year 

Extracurricular Opportunities

  • Model UN: Students research and debate current or theoretical issues facing the UN from the perspective of one or more nations involved. Club members are expected to conduct research regarding these issues and develop position papers that detail the specific position their nation might take on those issues. St. John's participates in conferences at St. Anselm’s, George C. Marshall High School, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, Columbia University, and Georgetown University. 
  • It's Academic: Students meet weekly to participate in trivia contests for fun or to join the club in preparation for competition in the televised It's Academic program on WETA.

  • Debate Team: Speech and debate are consistently recognized as fundamental activities in promoting student leadership, raising standardized test scores, and distinguishing applicants to elite universities. This club focuses on policy debate and student congress. Events that emphasize knowledge of governmental policy and action on both the domestic and international levels are also hot topics.

  • The Sabre Student News: An online platform for student news at St. John's, students work in a state-of-the-art facility to produce weekly news shows and maintain the online platform to publish multimedia news stories.

Social Studies Faculty

List of 14 members.

  • Photo of Jason Smith

    Jason Smith 

    Department Chair, Social Studies; AP World History, History and Principles of Journalism
    202-363-2316 x1962
    University of Mississippi - B.A.
    Christian Brothers University, Memphis - M.A.
  • Photo of Thomas Ballenger

    Thomas Ballenger 

    Benilde Teacher; AP US History
    202-363-2316 x1921
    University of Maryland, Baltimore - B.A.
  • Photo of Tara Cameron

    Tara Cameron 

    World History and Geography 2, Global Studies
    202-363-2316 x1968
    American University - B.A.
  • Photo of Colin Crawford

    Colin Crawford 

    AP Government, Contemporary Thought and Political Issues; Jazz Inst
    202-363-2316 x1969
    University of Scranton - B.A.
    Manhattanville College - M.A.T.
  • Photo of Jay Egan

    Jay Egan 

    AP US History, World History and Geography 1
    202-363-2316 x1966
    State University of New York, Cortland - B.A.
    Touro College - M.S.
  • Photo of Trey Halstead

    Trey Halstead 

    Economics, Economics and Econ Decision Making
    202-363-2316 x1103
    Lehigh University - B.S.
    University of Wisconsin - M.S.
  • Photo of Pat Hodge

    Pat Hodge 

    World History and Geography 1; Test Center Coordinator
    202-363-2316 x1828
  • Photo of Kristen Logan

    Kristen Logan 

    Director of the De La Salle Scholars Program; World History and Geography 1, Senior Seminar
    202-363-2316 x1092
    Harvard College - B.A.
    Johns Hopkins University - M.S.
  • Photo of Chris Maloney

    Chris Maloney 

    Justice in Modern American History, World History and Geography 2
    202-363-2316 x1933
    Purdue University - B.A.
    College of William and Mary - M.A.
    American University - M.A.T.
  • Photo of Jacob Plott

    Jacob Plott 

    AP US History, AP World History
    202-363-2316 x1109
    University of Richmond - B.A.
  • Photo of Kellie Prendiville

    Kellie Prendiville 

    AP Psychology
    202-363-2316 x1971
    University of Maryland - B.A.
  • Photo of Leah Richier

    Leah Richier 

    US Government, World History and Geography 1
    202-363-2316 x1916
  • Photo of Caryn Rossiter

    Caryn Rossiter 

    Psychology, Sociology
    202-363-2316 x1970
  • Photo of Matthew Zacher

    Matthew Zacher 

    AP European History, US History
    202-363-2316 x1965
    University of Florida - B.A.
    University of Florida - M.Ed.