Social Studies Program


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Consistent with the school’s mission and 21st Century Learning Skills, students enrolled in all Social Studies courses are presented with the opportunity to develop skills that teach them accountability, adaptability and tenacity in their academic, social, and civic interactions. Through participating in the Social Studies curriculum, students will be taught to generate their own questions regarding the content of each course, including, but not limited to, the themes of personal and public identities; concern for sources and their relevance; change over time; cause and effect; hypothesizing; compare and contrast; and local, state, national and global challenges. Students will be provided with opportunities to investigate independent topics of interest relating to history, geography, civics and economics. Students will work both independently and collaboratively to solve problems. Lastly, students will be held to high standards of both personal and academic behavior, which will serve to encourage them to act with integrity in all academic endeavors and to exhibit respect for themselves and empathy for others.

In keeping with an approach that fosters these skills and values, and in order to encourage students to take intellectual risks in an environment that provides an equitable field of assessment, the Social Studies Department is undertaking a pilot program of a grade floor for how teachers grade assignments. For the 21-22 and 22-23 school year, students in Social Studies classes shall not receive a mark that is lower than a 50% for failing an assignment or for not handing in an assignment. Students are encouraged to revise or re-do assignments in order to demonstrate that they have grasped the skills or the content, and teachers are encouraged to offer students a path to improve their mark on those assignments through a process of revision or re-submission. In short, the department is piloting this program because we believe that grades are not a form of punishment; that it is not mathematically valid to weight failing grades at 59% of the grade range; that it is not equitable to make assumptions about the reasons why assignments are not turned in that assume the worst of those possibilities; and finally that if grades are a measure of what a student can know and do, then the absence of assignments means that teachers cannot accurately assess what students can know and do, not that students cannot know and do those things.

Burlington High School students are required to take three years of Social Studies. The required course sequence is as follows:

- Grade 9 – U.S. History I
- Grade 10 – U.S. History II
- Grade 11 – World History II 

CP = College Preparatory