Official briefs board on social studies curriculum changes

Independent School District 834 Executive Director of Secondary Schools Mike Redmond updated the school board Thursday on 2013-2014 changes in the district’s social studies curriculum.

Work on social studies curriculum changes resumed in November after the Social Studies Curriculum Committee that began meeting last year suspended work in April without completing implementation of new state standards.

“The new state standards have a more integrated approach to teaching Social Studies. In the past, standards were often discrete components. The new standards purposefully bring the elements of Social Studies together. For example, in the U.S. Studies course in seventh grade, U.S History is the lead standard, but there are also required standards in Citizenship and Government, Economics, and Geography.” Redmond said after the meeting.

Redmond said Civics is no longer a stand-alone class in eighth grade under the new standards. The former Civics standards, now labeled Citizenship and Government, are found integrated in grades four through eight, and then again as a semester-length high school class. The remaining current curriculum stays the same.

Attention now shifts to phase two of implementation that involves including 21st century skills in to the curriculum.

“Phase Two will be the course design and curriculum writing processes. We are eagerly awaiting the results of our current strategic planning, as we will be incorporating the actions from this planning into our new curriculum. The new curriculum will also include literacy standards in grades six through 12 to allow our students opportunities to develop important college and career readiness skills in the areas of reading, writing and communicating,” Redmond said.

Also at the 7:15 p.m. board business meeting, the board:

  • Held a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
  • Honored outgoing school board chairman George Dierberger for his service on the board.
  • Accepted a land donation from a family valued at $260,000. Director of Operations Dennis Bloom said there were no stipulations from the family about how the land must be used going forward.