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BHS History Department
The Site Council approved funding so that the English and Social Studies teachers could meet the day after school closed. The revised freshman core program was reassessed, and course planning for the fall began. History teachers spent a large portion of that day integrating the two classes to create a course outline for the new year-long core class. A number of history teachers took on curriculum development of the units involved. While a great deal of the curriculum material already exists in the ethnic studies and social living curriculums, adapting it to fit this course for these students, while providing ninth graders with a solid introduction to Berkeley High was their top priority. The ninth grade teachers will meet again in August to share the results of their summer work, and will continue to meet throughout the school year in their English/History cores as well as with other ninth grade history teachers.
Annie Johnston, History teacher, BHS
There are two new AP classes offered at BHS in the history department this coming fall, AP Government and AP Economics. Both will be offered as senior electives, with the required government and economics courses as prerequisites. Juniors particularly interested in taking these college-level courses may want to take those required courses in summer school or at Vista college.
There has been some concern expressed because many students were led to believe they could take these courses in lieu of the regular economics and government courses. The History Department, with the consent of the principal, decided to offer them as senior electives after numerous meetings in January and February. We were reluctant consider offering AP courses because we are not interested in tracking our government and economics classes. Since these classes analyze american economics and government, all students benefit from the broadest possible exposure to a wide range of experiences and perspectives, which only a heterogenous, untracked class can provide. At the same time, especially those who enjoy studying social science, to have the ability to fill their history elective requirements with such rigorous courses. But we want to offer these classes in such a way as to increase ALL students' access to rigorous coursework, rather than increasing the disparity in such access, which is now the case with most AP courses at BHS.
AP economics and government classes are, in fact, advanced courses. The required courses give students an essential foundation for success in these new AP classes. The curriculum is not the same -- the AP classes are college-level courses. The economics class, for instance, will look in-depth at macro-economics. The state curriculum standards for economics require that all students be introduced to the basics of micro-economics as well.
Our teachers were pretty unanimous in their desire to make sure the students who take these courses have the advantage of the required introductory classes offered in a heterogenous setting. We felt that this would best ensure a larger and more diverse pool of eligible students who are better able to succeed in those classes. We apologize to anyone who received conflicting information.
Annie Johnston, History teacher, BHS
Another point, one does not have to take regular chemistry before taking ap chemistry, BECAUSE THEY COVER THE SAME THING. It is pointless to take 2 diffrent gov/econ classes that teach the same things, but one goes a little deeper and does more work.
This is very unfair to the people who like history. I like history a lot more than i like science. I really wanted to get AP credit for a class that I like (not science) , because i think it would be interesting. But if I have to take AP senior year I cannot take an elective that would be fun as well. Elliot
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