Our mission is to provide an environment that enables students to grow academically, intellectually, socially, emotionally and culturally. Students will be engaged in 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, technology, group work and problem solving. We will promote and encourage citizenship in the school and community by emphasizing social responsibility in our classrooms and reconnect to the culture of the school and the “gator” way. As a staff, we will provide this environment by encouraging risk-taking, mutual support, collaboration and self-discovery. This will be achieved by having an atmosphere of high academic expectations and mutual understanding of those expectations by students and staff.
As Social Studies is fluid and full of grey areas that are open to interpretation it is essential that students are present in class, ready to learn and ready to participate in class discussion. When students are away for medical reasons we will ensure that the student is caught up and any missing work is completed as fast as possible. Parents, please be cognizant of holidays, vacation time and other out of school events. Any time a student misses a class for reasons other than medical, it affects their learning as well as the rest of the class as a significant portion of what we do in our classes is group orientated, collaborative learning. It is impossible for teachers to recreate lessons and the learning that happens in the classroom. If it is unavoidable that a vacation has to take place during school time please be aware that teachers in social studies will likely NOT give packages to take, will likely write quizzes or tests before they leave and if there is a project or group assignment due while they are away it will be up to the student leaving to organize the group to come in on their own time to present to the teacher and other audience members.
In the future students and parents can expect to see a common practice platform that will enable more transparency between the classroom, teachers, the school and the home. Topics will include marking rubrics, expectations, reporting procedures, feedback surveys and alternative final assessment models. Please remember that teachers will modify original documents to suit their needs and classroom expectations but Social Studies teachers will be participating in these common practice processes. More to come on this topic in the near future.
The majority of the department has chosen to switch to an alternative final assessment model for grade 8-10. This format was created last year during collaboration time to allow students to show their understanding of course concepts in a variety of creative ways. The commonality of the assessment is the use of technology to present their portfolio (Prezi, website, Powerpoint etc.). Some teachers are doing a blended model as well, using a multiple choice final exam and portfolio components to assess their students. Students should discuss final assessment models with their teacher.