Middle school socials studies materials have been recommended to the Seattle School Board for adoption, after months of work by an adoption committee.
The committee has recommended the following materials:
Sixth-grade world history: McGraw Hill's "Discovering Our Past: A History of the World – Early Ages"
Seventh-grade world history: Holt McDougal’s “World History: Ancient Civilizations through the Renaissance”
Eighth-grade U.S. history: Holt McDougal’s “United States History: Beginnings to 1914”
The adoption recommendation will be introduced at the Sept. 9 board meeting, with the full School Board scheduled to vote on Sept. 23.
An adoption committee of more than two dozen teachers, curriculum specialists, parents and community members has been meeting since March to narrow down the materials. After surveying the community and holding two separate public materials review periods, the committee made the recommendations.
Kathleen Vasquez, Literacy and Social Studies Program Manager, reviewed the recommendations with the board’s Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee in August.
“We selected the text that we believe had the most attention to diverse perspectives,” she said. That characteristic was identified as a top priority for the community. In fact, Vasquez plans to form another community-based committee to assist teachers in supplementing the recommended texts with an even wider diversity of materials to improve the balance of multicultural perspectives.
The recommended materials offer supplements and supports for a range of students, including advanced learners. Vasquez noted that the McGraw Hill materials were chosen for sixth-grade because they offer more supports for younger students, and Holt was chosen for seventh and eighth grades because those materials offer an increase in rigor.
“We were looking very closely at how the texts allowed the students to analyze, to synthesize, and to question at high levels,” she said. The committee was particularly impressed with Holt’s “Reading Like a Historian” companion materials, which teach students to go beyond finding evidence to look closely for issues such as bias.
“We’re calling this ‘disciplinary literacy,’” she said. “How do historians read and write about texts?”
If approved by the School Board in September, the texts could be available as early as December in time to be used for second semester.