Social Studies Department
The National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (NCSSS) identifies 10 themes critical to the teaching and study of Social Studies. They are: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; People, Places, and Environments; Individual Development and Identity; Individuals, Groups, and Institutions; Power, Authority, and Governance; Production, Distribution, and Consumption; Science, Technology, and Society; Global Connections; and Civic Ideals and Practices.
The East Catholic School Social Studies course is designed to capture the essentials of these important themes because we recognize that while formal education is intended to develop a student into a competent member of the overall workforce, how that student functions within that workforce, as a responsible, thoughtful and productive member of a larger community, depends on their value and understanding of, and appreciation for, their role within that workforce. To understand this role requires a more than cursory understanding of America – our people, our culture, the land (environment), political, justice and economic systems, among others. We do not teach these themes in abstraction; rather, we reference historical and current information, and use that information to explain in practical ways, connections between what the student is learning and life in general.
We also recognize the increasingly global nature of the world. We believe that interacting better with other cultures outside of America, depends on how well we understand other parts of the world through the NCSSS themes outlined above. This is why our curriculum exposes our students to cultures that are different than the American way of life.
Throughout your child’s education at East Catholic School, the student will learn and understand, among others:
- The history of America’s founding (The American Revolution and the land)
- American Government
- American System of Justice
- The Economic System (Market Economy)
A recent assessment by the National Assessment on Educational Progress (NAEP), paints a very disturbing trend in the way students perform in the general area of Social Studies, but specifically, in Civics Education.
“Today’s NAEP results confirm that we have a crisis on our hands when it comes to civic education, and that action must be taken. I believe that we can revive civic education through innovative programs … which make[s] civics relevant to students’ lives. To do this, action must be taken to reinstate civics as a robust part of the curriculum.”
SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR, Former Supreme Court Justice; NY Times – May 4, 2011.
“The results confirm an alarming and continuing trend that civics in America is in decline…. Particularly disturbing are NAEP results which show that only about three-quarters of our students at the fourth and eighth grades scored at the Basic or above levels of achievement, while less than two-thirds of our 12th graders did.”
CHARLES N. QUIGLEY, Exec. Director, Center for Civic Education; NY Times – May 4, 2011.
The NAEP assessments are a wake-up call to which East Catholic School is responding. As a policy, we assess, on an on-going basis, the roles our curricula structure play in the education of our students as a technically competent workforce, and as individual students, who understand and take civic education and responsibilities very seriously.