GAINESVILLE - The Hall County School Board Monday night approved a Social Studies Curriculum Review Committee made up of educators, elected officials, parents and business people to 'determine whether current social studies standards adequately equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be productive and responsible citizens'.
School Superintendent Will Schofield said over the past 25 years during the era of 'No Child Left Behind' and the fascination with low level tests, the focus has been on reading and mathematics in schools.
"As a parent I have a real concern that we've forgotten one of the fundamental reasons we ever had public schools and that was to prepare the next generation of citizens," Schofield said. "We just think it's very timely to take a look at what it is we're teaching our children in terms of preparing them to be the next generation and leaders in this country."
Schofield said it is not that math and reading are not important, but 'knowing what it means to be a United States citizen is important also'.
The team will review the current K-12 social studies standards being taught in the Hall County School District (Georgia Performance Standards for Social Studies).They will determine if the content aligns with the intended purposes and are students exposed to the key ideals, principles and historical events that are critical to becoming an engaged and informed citizen.
The committee will make recommendations to the board of education on what content should be emphasized, what content should be de-emphasized or eliminated, and what content is missing and should be introduced. In the areas of Government/Civics and Economics, the committee will determine what concrete activities would support students in better understanding individual roles and responsibilities.
The school district will then assemble an internal team to develop an action plan for consideration by the school board members with emphasis on learning history, geography, government and economics.
Committee members include: Senator Butch Miller, Committee Chairman, State Representative Lee Hawkins, Eloise Barron, Assistant Superintendent, Sam Chapman, Board Member, Kit Dunlap, President of Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Sam Evans, Oakwood City Council, Arlene Hernandez, Parent, Marla Lear, Social Studies Teacher at the World Language Academy, Frank Lock, retired professor, Alana Rochester, parent, Will Schofield, Superintendent, Brian Sorohan, Brenau University, Linda Thompson, HCSD Administrator/Former Social Studies Teacher, and Dan Walker, business representative (CPA).
INTERNATIONAL TRIP GUIDELINES
Board members said they wanted guidelines placed on international trips for students headed for England and Italy in the coming months.
Assistant School Superintendent Dr. Eloise Barron said its time to meet with school principals and make guideline decisions.
"I think what we need to do now is pull a group of principals together and talk about some of the areas we could include in guidelines," Dr. Barron said.
Board members suggested having the proper number of chaperones, limiting overseas trips to high school students only, and taking trips that do not cost students class room time.