Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Letter from the Global Studies Department

Our High School Global Studies team has made some exciting changes to the structure of their courses.  Below is a letter that will be going home with all High School Global Studies students this week.  Please have a read!

Dear Parents and Guardians,

What a great start to the year! We are very excited this year to implement some positive changes in the High School Global Studies department. The first change is our name. We were formerly know as the History Department. These changes are in alignment with current directives from the Vermont Agency of Education.  The content that we teach in the courses will directly coincide with sample graduation proficiencies outline by the state. As a department we have embraced the new changes this year. The benefit of this alignment allows us to increase flexibility in student schedules while implementing current best practices in the field of education.

Changes include combining students in grades 9 and 10 into one classroom at times. Also, honors students will now be intermingled in these sections. The graduation proficiencies are outlined in a way that requires us to have rubrics for each learning level. Here is an example of an economics proficiency rubric that could be used in the US 9/10 classroom:

Not Meeting the proficiency
9th Grade
Honors 9th  &
10th Grade
Honors 10th
0-Level 1
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3

(Level 1)
(Level 2)
(Level 3)
Examine how producers in the U.S. and/or world have used natural, human, and capital resources to produce goods and services, and predict the long-term effects of these uses.
I can identify the economic structures in the United States at/around the 1850s.


Summative Assignment & Rubric
I can compare the economic systems in the United States at/around the 1850s.

I can show the impact each economic system had on our government and society.


Summative Assignment & Rubric
I can predict/connect how economic systems and decisions circa 1850 may have contributed to the American Civil War (1861-1865).

I can analyze and compare how other nations treated slavery during the 1850s..


Summative Assignment & Rubric

Each level;  9, 9 Honors/10, or 10 Honors have a specific expectation to demonstrate proficiency. The content delivered will be similar, however, the expectation of what the student needs to demonstrate will be different, and the required resources may differ in complexity depending on the material being taught. In many ways this is not a drastic departure from what has already been going on in the class. We have been using a differentiated model for several years.  As teachers, we are skilled at meeting the needs of a variety of learners in the classroom. A differentiated classroom accomplishes this goal by utilizing a wide variety of teaching techniques and lesson adaptations for a diverse group of students.

Our primary goal is that your student(s) will be able to demonstrate proficiency in skill areas that pertain to Global Studies. This year the lens used to focus on these proficiencies is United States History. Next year the model will continue for grades 9 and 10. For the current 9th grade and the incoming freshman of next year, the focus will be on World History.

Attached is a letter that pertains to the acquisition of honors credit in Humanities classes here at Hazen. This was developed to provide parents and students with the information necessary to be informed on how to acquire honors credit. We encourage you to come to our Open House September 16th.


The High School Global Studies Department

Nicole Foster Corey Maskell

As Hazen Union begins to institute a common grading system, the members of the English/Language Arts and Social Studies (Global Citizenship) departments have taken the opportunity to redesign the Honors accrediting system in the high school.

As a learning community, we wish to see our students take control of their own learning, and succeed when they take on educational challenges. We also want to be able to provide all of our students with such educational opportunities.  As with all aspects of life, there should be a reward for hard work and high achievement. With our new grading system based on the State of Vermont’s Graduation Proficiencies, we thought it appropriate to align our Honors accrediting system with the proficiencies as well.

This year, in all high school English/Language Arts and Global Citizenship courses, Honors credit will be available to all students. Students will have opportunities throughout the length of their courses to strive to achieve Proficiency with Distinction on their summative assessments. As the course transpires, students will compile a portfolio of the evidence of their learning and achievement based on the learning targets and proficiencies set for the specific course. At the end of the course, students wishing to earn Honors credit for the course will present their portfolio to the respective department team for review.

If all conditions are met and the evidence is deemed sufficient, the student will then receive Honors credit for the course on their transcript.

The conditions that must be met within the portfolio are:
  • 80% of summative assessments for the course must be deemed Proficient with Distinction according to established rubrics provided to students
  • Revisions and edits of assessments must be made in a timely manner
  • Portfolio must be turned in by submission date during exam period
  • Previously completed summer work may be applied to portfolio, if found Proficient with Distinction. Students who have not completed assigned summer work must do so independently to apply it to their portfolios
  • The portfolio review panel will determine whether the portfolio meets all requirements
It should be noted that being presently enrolled in an Honors labeled course does not automatically grant the student Honors credit at the completion of the course. All students must submit a portfolio and meet the requirements if they wish to receive Honors credit.

As we undergo these significant changes to our school, we hope that you can share our vision of students who take ownership of their learning, perform at a high level academically, and receive due reward for their hard work and effort. Throughout a course, important announcements and updates for the Honors level work will be communicated in an electronic format that is to be determined.