Greetings SWA Social Studies Family,
It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to a new and exciting year at Southwest Academy Magnet School for Science and Engineering. We had a successful and productive past school year. As my third year as your department chair, I am fortunate to have a strong department of committed teachers that truly care about our student population and our school community. We are strong due to our content knowledge, our pedagogical practices, our dedication, and the additional endeavors that we’ve undertaken to further our school culture.
This year Ms. Barrera (who taught 8th grade last year) will teach 6th Grade alongside our veteran 6th grade teacher Ms. Richardson. This coming year will be very interesting considering that our 6th graders will be using devices. Our department will be navigating the many initiatives and standards of BCPS lighthouse Schools. Mr. Thompson will be in great company with our veteran 8th grade team leader Ms. Edmond. Mr. Joseph and Ms. Gross will continue teaching our middle group, our 7th graders. We have a busy year and know that we will work collaboratively to navigate the many initiatives established by our school leaders.
As your department chair, I am looking forward to collaborating with you to develop lessons that embrace the Charlotte Danielson framework of a research-based, constructivist view of teaching that reflects rigor, relevance, and responsive teaching for our students.
Grade 6 Curricular Changes:
We are moving to a world history model for grades 6 and 7 beginning districtwide in the fall of 2017. Materials will be available in BETA form before the start of the 2016-2017 for teachers to preview. Grade 6 content will begin with prehistory and end with the fall of Rome in approximately 500 CE. The new grade 6 curriculum will feature a set of reoccurring skill and thematic standards that teachers can use to track student progress on a particular standard or theme throughout the year. Skills will include argumentative and explanatory writing, historical context, historical causation, change over time, and use of sources/multiple perspectives. The themes will use the SPICE format (social, political, interaction, culture, economics) with specific language for what it means to master each of those themes in sixth grade. Each county-level unit assessment will measure 4-6 of these skills and themes. The course will be designed to allow students more opportunity for choice, inquiry and research.
Grade 7 Curricular Changes:
There will be no changes until the release of a BETA curriculum in the fall of 2017. The new 7th grade curriculum will be available in the fall of 2018. Grade 7 content will begin after the fall of Rome (c. 500 CE) and end with the start of the Renaissance in approximately 1500 CE. Grade 7 will follow the same format as Grade 6 with the use of reoccurring skills and themes. It will also use the SPICE themes.
Grade 8 Curricular Changes:
Currently the plan is to roll out a new Grade 8 curriculum this fall. The materials have been available in BETA form for the last year and will be tweaked during curriculum writing this July. The content is largely the same, the first half of US history. The new Grade 8 will feature the same reoccurring skill/theme model as grades 6 and 7. It will also use the same SPICE themes to allow for consistency.
I believe that we have the potential each day to reach and inspire the next generation of high achievers at Southwest Academy. Let me know if you need anything so that I can sit down with you at some point during the week of August 17th to discuss your needs for this upcoming school year.
Mr. Iterny Joseph
Social Studies Department Chair
Southwest Academy Magnet