Report to the School Board

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1 Report to the School Board Social Studies Curriculum Review Phase III Kathryn Anderson and Diane Schimelpfenig, Ed.D. Overview Social Studies is the multidisciplinary study of the humanities and the social sciences to prepare young people to become responsible, engaged citizens through disciplinary knowledge, disciplinary skills, commitment to democratic values and citizen participation. This report provides an update on year three of the curriculum review process. Primary Issues to Consider Elementary Areas of Focus Junior High Areas of Focus High School Areas of Focus Supporting Documents The full report begins on the next page. Draft of Minnesota Revised Social Studies Standards can be found at:

2 2 Report to the School Board Review of Phase II Report During phase two of the review cycle, the Social Studies department completed research and exploration through widespread surveys of three major constituents of our school community: parents, students and staff; research of both current best instructional practices; and national and statewide trends. Specifically, Phase II examined how the Hopkins Social Studies Department aligns with National and State standards, as well as 21 st Century Skills as outlined by the National Council of Social Studies (NCSS). We confirmed our Social Studies program has benefitted from the progressive position our district has taken on instructional technology. Finally, survey results indicated Hopkins School District s Social Studies program has the respect of the school district community, as well as a high satisfaction level, overall. Specifically referenced as positive program elements were the attention given to: the teaching of citizenship, global competency, associating current connections to historical events, cultivating critical thinking skills in students from elementary school through high school. The surveys also allowed us to further investigate identified weaknesses of our program, and make recommendations to work on these areas. Section II of the report will focus on providing information regarding the status of each recommendation as it relates to content, instructional and assessment standards. Section II: Phase III Status Update Elementary Areas of Focus The scope and sequence of our social studies department will be revisited throughout our elementary grades, in order to clearly align with the new Minnesota state standards in Social Studies. We anticipate that the most significant curricular changes, based on new Minnesota standards, will be in Grades 4 and 6. Fourth grade will focus on Geography of North America, rather than Minnesota studies; and Sixth grade content will focus on Minnesota studies, rather than Ancient Civilizations.

3 Report to the School Board 3 At this time our elementary committee members have not identified the power standards, as intended, due to the substantially delayed release by the Minnesota Department of Education of the new social studies Minnesota standards. The final draft of the proposed revision of the 2004 standards was posted on February 21, This draft is currently proceeding through the administrative rule-making process. The identification of power standards by the social studies committee members will begin in late April and continue into the summer, with the intent of this process being completed by the end of the first semester. The motivation behind this is threefold: In the subsequent year we will be gathering materials and resources that allow our teachers to teach units utilizing 21 st skills and instruction. We will be looking more for technological and current event resources rather than traditional textbooks. Our District is participating in the shared development of online curriculum materials for Minnesota Studies, along with other District 287 member districts. This curriculum will be available for early pilots during the school year. We will also be looking for reading and writing materials that embed the literacy skills found in the 2010 Minnesota K-12 Common Core Standards. In order to properly support our teachers to meet the new Minnesota K-12 Social Studies Standards and Minnesota K-12 Common Core Standards adoptions, we recommend that a common amount of instructional time be devoted to elementary Social Studies instruction. Specific recommendations per grade level will be developed upon completion of grade level units during the school year. We anticipate that departmental committee meetings and Professional Learning Communities will assist teachers, as we develop curricular units based on the new Minnesota state standards. Recommendations for Phase III Secondary Areas of Focus The secondary Social Studies department has an explicit, standards- Excellence. Every School. Every Student. Every Day

4 4 Report to the School Board based scope and sequence. The minor inconsistencies in alignment within each grade level need various degrees of attention; we are striving for students to have a consistent curricular experience, regardless of classroom teacher. Further, our grade level teams will address curriculum selections in all courses, to be sure we are using the most engaging, up-to-date materials. We will continue piloting curriculum that reflects the technological, academic, and rigorous needs of our students in order to develop responsible, educated citizens, who are knowledgeable and engaged in our diverse democratic society and our dynamic global community. Junior High School Areas of Focus Specific to the junior high program, the most evident survey feedback we received was related to a perception by many students and parents that our Social Studies curriculum lacked the appropriate level of rigor. Eighty percent of both parents and students expressed concern about being prepared for high school rigor and expressed interest in the idea of advanced classes in the junior high. The junior high rigor study has allowed us some exciting options to address the concerns revealed through the feedback in last year s Social Studies curriculum review surveys. The Honors Civics 9 courses were developed last summer, and were implemented during the school year. We were pleased to note that three or four sections of students at each junior high school selected this rigorous coursework during the current school year. This course and concept was new to Hopkins junior high schools, and was regularly assessed and adjusted throughout the school year. Informal feedback that we have acquired so far has been positive. At the end of the school year we will be acquiring more detailed data to enable us to continue to assess the rigor level in this advanced class, and to ensure that it prepares students for Advanced Placement classes at the sophomore level. Our focus will be to incrementally prepare students for challenging high school social studies experiences by increasing expectations at each grade level, especially at transition points such as 8 th to 9 th grades and 9 th to 10 th grades. We will continue to develop a scope

5 Report to the School Board 5 and sequence, along with performance benchmarks, based upon the new Minnesota State Standards and the Minnesota K-12 Common Core Standards. During the school year we have added common academic writing skills, along with academic vocabulary, that will enhance student college readiness skills, and better prepare junior high students for advanced classes at the high school level. We created common formative assessments to gather data on our students current academic writing and vocabulary skills, and analyzed how we can better instruct and assess these skills in grades High School Areas of Focus We will be revising our integrated Faces of Conflict class, to ensure that the course meets the rigor level that students are requesting, and to update the curriculum to encompass Modern U.S. History. We will continue the work that we have begun in the last two years of piloting curriculum that better incorporates our District and State standards at the sophomore and junior levels. We will also seek to find ways in which to collaborate, so that the teaching of social studies will be more consistent across teachers. Although our senior elective courses are well aligned, due to revisions made earlier this year in offerings and curricular changes, we will review current courses and those courses that are in their first and second pilot year. During the school year we revised the Faces of Conflict curriculum to address the U.S. history from , and chose novels that improved upon the interdisciplinary connection between U.S. History and American Literature. We increased student academic writing and academic vocabulary instruction in order to better prepare students for the Advanced Placement opportunities in both Social Studies and Language Arts in the junior year of high school. We fully implemented the Modern U.S. History TCI (Teacher s Curriculum Institute) digital curriculum that had been piloted for two years in the sophomore year. We will continue to look for technological resources that compliment our curriculum, as we identify the Power Standards for U.S. history, based on the adoption Excellence. Every School. Every Student. Every Day

6 6 Report to the School Board of the new Minnesota state standards. In the junior year we will be piloting the TCI digital curriculum, along with other technological resources, for World History in the school year. We anticipate with excitement the increased presence of digital content for use in our instruction. Amid the fourth term, grades 7-12 teachers will be identifying their Power Standards. These standards will then determine the curricular resources that will be used in grades Based on the new Minnesota standards, U.S. Studies from present will be taught in the seventh grade and Global Studies will be taught in the 8 th grade. In order to prepare our teachers to meet the implementation goal set forth by the state of Minnesota for the school year, we have decided to begin piloting these changes in the school year. In order to properly support our teachers to meet the new Minnesota 7-12 Social Studies Standards and Minnesota 7-12 Common Core Standards adoptions, teachers will be provided with summer curriculum writing hours to create new curriculum that meet our District and State content goals. Ongoing curriculum alignment, both vertically and horizontally, will remain a priority. Areas of further curriculum review focus will also include a focus on rigorous instruction for all students, Power Standards, Common Formative Assessments, and data analysis of student learning. Next Steps in the Review Process We will continue to ensure that the Hopkins Social Studies curriculum enhances the learning of our students in grades K-12. The alignment of this curriculum to new Minnesota Social Studies standards must be fully implemented by the school year. The new standards focus on four major areas: Citizenship and Government, History, Geography, and Economics. Our efforts over the next several years will be to ensure that Social Studies content, instruction, and assessment provides rigorous, high quality learning experiences in each area.

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