Board approves new social studies courses

Mehlville Board of Education approves three new social studies courses
Posted on 11/29/2018
Social Studies CurriculumAt their Nov. 19, 2018, meeting, the Mehlville Board of Education approved updates to the high school social studies curriculum, including the creation of three new courses: African American Studies, Explorations in Social Studies and MyPath.

"These three courses were created based on student need and interest," said Brian Smith, assistant superintendent for curriculum, assessment and professional development. Additionally, the curriculum for 15 social studies courses has been updated to align with state learning standards and Advanced Placement course expectations, Smith said.

African American Studies is a one-semester elective social studies course that covers pre-colonial Africa and the history of African civilizations and the forced migration of African peoples into the Americas. Students will research and discuss the African-American political, cultural and personal experience from slavery through the Civil War, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement. Students will also learn about local issues in St. Louis, from Dred Scott to housing segregation to Ferguson. Students will analyze the many contributions of African-Americans to our country with emphasis on the exploration of black culture through music and art.

Explorations in Social Studies, a one-semester course, is a research-based course that features maximum student choice in learning. Working within an organized framework, students will explore interest-based, self-directed inquiry centered on various social studies topics. Some examples of possible topics include military history, sports and culture, women's studies and St. Louis History.

The MyPath course in social studies allows students to create their own class around a project or topic of interest related to a student’s interests and goals. Students will work with an instructor to collaboratively create a project management plan. Within this plan, the student will identify topics to be covered, curricular standards to be met, learning goals, activities and a timeline. Students will create periodic presentations on their learning and progress, culminating in a capstone presentation to a public audience.

"The changes and additions to our social studies curriculum reflect the need and the desire to teach students about areas of interest, including those that reflect diversity, research and personalized learning," Smith said. "Courses such as these continue to add to a high school curriculum which provides multiple opportunities for students to have a voice in what they learn and how they learn."
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