The humanities program at Synapse is developed around the concept of cultural literacy. Synapse values depth in understanding over breadth in knowledge, and has identified core moments or periods in history for deeper exploration. The humanities curriculum rotates in a two year cycle of World History and U.S. History, and is often fueled by the lens of the annual change maker and theme. As students grow through the program, additional perspectives and layers provide an opportunity for students to reevaluate their background knowledge and assumptions.
Students are encouraged to build awareness of not just the world around them, but of their place in it as citizens and agents of change. Synapse aims to educate empathetic, critical and creative thinkers who consider people, events and milestones in order to inform and choose their own path to cultural literacy.
Synapse Humanities Program Highlights
  • Inquiry-based creative projects that allow students to draw on personal experiences.
  • Cross-curricular integration, inspiring connections and student-driven inquiry.
  • Simulations that provide an opportunity to experience various perspectives and understand the driving factors of decisions (e.g. motivations, thoughts, feelings, etc).
  • Exploration of ethical and moral dilemmas.
  • Explicit active reading strategies with an emphasis on analysis of primary and secondary sources as well as supporting literature for each topic.
  • Students are encouraged to utilize Synapse’s EQ language and competencies to reflect on and communicate their experiences.


Middle School Program Overview


Humanities HEARTS: Investigating Core Moments or Periods in History

Grades 5/6 -- European History and Social Movements & Change 

  • Medieval Europe, Enlightenment & Renaissance in Europe, Colonialism
  • Abolition of Slavery, Gilded Age & Labor Rights, Civil Rights

Grades 7/8 -- Contemporary World History and U.S. Government 

  • 20th Century Events and Globalization
  • Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches 


Writer’s Workshop: Integrating Cross-Curricular Writing
  • Throughout the year, students focus on three types of writing: expository, persuasive, and narrative.
Literature Circle
  • Electives for small-group, theme-based discussions around a shared text.