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Social Studies


The Von Steuben Social Science Department envisions a rigorous college prep curriculum that prepares students to engage as global citizens in their communities. We equip students with the habits of mind, research methodology and writing skills inherent in the study of history, economics, geography, and political and social systems.


  • We develop a deep awareness of the critical thinking process inherent in social scientific investigation.
  • We produce resourceful and agile decision-makers and problem-solvers.
  • We train students to become articulate communicators of fact, argument, and interpretation, in writing, speech, and multimedia formats.
  • We inspire students to connect the intellectual legacy of past thinkers to a deeper self-awareness and to the major social, political, and economic dilemmas of the day.
  • We challenge students to become proficient researchers in history and the social sciences.
  • We guide students to develop their arguments and opinions with the support of well-chosen evidence presented according to the conventions of our discipline.
  • We encourage students to become engaged and effective advocates for themselves and for their community in the political arena.
  • We teach students to become thoughtful consumers who can manage their finances to live well within their means.
  • Timeline Theatre Company
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of Illinois History 
  • Chicago Humanities Festival
  • Chicago Metro History Fair
  • Mikva Challenge
  • Von Travelers Club
  • Dreamer's Club

Students have the opportunity to enroll in the following Advanced Placement courses within the Social Studies Department and earn college credit:
  • Human Geography
  • World History
  • US History
  • American Government

Students have the opportunity to explore their interests in a variety of electives that include:
  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • Dual Credit Humanities
  • Latin American History
  • History of Chicago

Marc Lopez, under the mentorship of Meghan Thomas, created the attached website as part of his participation in the 2017 Normandy: Sacrifice For Freedom Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute.  

Marc Lopez of Von Steuben High School has been accepted into the prestigious Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute. Along with Von Steuben High School teacher, Meghan Thomas, Lopez will embark on a year-long course of study that concludes with a journey to Normandy, France to honor a WWII Silent Hero® who died during or after the D-Day landings. Thomas and Lopez join 14 other student and teacher teams from around the country on this educational journey. Each team selects one Silent Hero from its hometown or region who is memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery. Thomas and Lopez will spend a year uncovering the life story of this Silent Hero through readings, historical research, and primary sources such as war records, draft cards, or interviews with descendants. 

Congratulations to junior Kyle Arnashus who represented Von Steuben and Illinois at the 2016 National History Day in Washington D.C. Kyle's essay on the reversal of the Chicago River was one of only TWO papers chosen from the state of Illinois.

Congratulations to Ms. Meghan Thomas for being awarded the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Institute of Illinois History Teacher of the Year Award.