New Course, “Global Studies,” Approved in BOE Meeting

New Course, “Global Studies,” Approved in BOE Meeting

Superintendent Elliott Landon stands at the BOE meeting Oct. 25. | Photo by Melanie Mignucci '12

On Mon., Oct. 25, the Board of Education met to discuss important action items, including trends in standardized testing, and the addition of a new Social Studies course, beginning in the ’11-’12 school year.

The Board also accepted the gift of a Boston baby grand piano to Bedford Middle School, and approved its goals and budget calendar for the upcoming fiscal year.

Brian Fagan, the assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum, began the meeting by presenting a report on Staples’ performance in “universal tests” compared to surrounding towns. In terms of gender equity, in the past two years, the gap between male and female achievement on the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) decreased in all but the third grade, in which the gap increased.

“There is a gap in the beginning, not so much at the end,” Board member Michael McGovern said of the trend.

After the presentation, Social Studies Department Chair James D’Amico addressed the minutes of the Oct. 12 meeting, at which he described the proposed social studies course to replace Western Humanities, the current freshman history requirement.

The course, as D’Amico described, would “bring us into greater alignment” with state and federal social studies curricula. The course, called Global Studies, would aim to broaden students’ horizons beyond the scope of the Western world. This course would also incorporate the new school goals into its curriculum.

D’Amico said that the course would “adhere to 21st century goals—moving towards a continuous learning model.”

After a brief question and answer session, Vice Chairman James Marpe motioned to approve the course for the ’11-’12 school year, which carried unanimously.

The motion also removed Western Humanities from the Social Studies curriculum.

This change marks the acceptance of the new school goals in a large way. This is the first course of its kind to address the scheme of global history, instead of addressing a specialized facet of world history.