By Katrina Milbocker
A new history elective is expected to run as part of the Holliston High School (HHS) curriculum next school year and will be the first history elective open to students that will not be leveled.
U.S. on the World Stage: 1970-Present will be offered to upperclassmen interested in current events and the impact they have on today’s society.
There was a, “curriculum review five years ago” and a “recommendation” was given that more history classes dealing with world “economies, humanity, and the Middle East” be created, said Ms. Paula O’Brien, the history department head.
“I had the idea of having a course that’s more modern but would also incorporate…economies from the Middle East,” Ms. O’Brien said. It will be, “a class where students who love history can come together and share their love for history.”
The elective will be a mix of Honors and CP1 level students, clarified Ms. O’Brien. The hope is that such integration will enhance class discussions.
Students will be able to decide what level of credit they would like for taking the class. “[Those enrolled] will be given two weeks of time to look at what the expectations will be to earn honors credit,” said Ms. Katherine Stackpole, the designated history teacher for the new class.
“I think that’s cool because…if you’re just learning current events then the leveling won’t matter as much,” but, “if [students] have that freedom [to choose levels], they’re going to have to use it responsibly,” said Adam Mooney, an eleventh grader at HHS.
The goal is for students to “challenge themselves” with the optional course loads while being in a multi-leveled class, said Ms. Stackpole.
“There will be some different assignments and different assessments” for those at the Honors level, Ms. Stackpole added. Those who declare themselves as honors students will have a heavier workload outside of the classroom.
This elective will enable students to explore what happens in the world after World War II. Unlike other subjects, history classes do not have an endpoint. This elective will cover as many recent historical events as possible.
“When you look up what has been going on you find that…the U.S. has changed [from what students currently learn in history]…always ending [with] the Cold War,” said Ms. Stackpole. It is important for students to understand foreign relationships in the present as well.
“We get to talk about things that happened while I was alive!” Ms. Stackpole said. “We hope it will be interesting for [students].”
Ms. O’Brien said students need this, “global awareness” before going off to college. It is essential because, “if you go into business, you are going to travel the world.”
Ultimately the success of this elective is up to the students themselves. It is expected that those who take the class next year will enjoy it enough to recommend it to their peers, said Ms. O’Brien.
“We’re gonna see if it works,” Ms. Stackpole said. The curriculum for the new elective will be finalized this summer.