New academic opportunities are being created by expanding the humanities in high school, integrating English, social studies, and math.
In the Bellmore-Merrick High School District, some of the details of the new curriculum are emerging.
“English is a subject that is best taught in context,” said Merrick Avenue Middle School Principal Taryn Johnson. The new seventh grade curriculum calls for social studies and English to be taught together. The 20 units include a history of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“Now we’re working with the students who do not have a vivid memory of these events,” said Mary Donnelly, chair of the Grand Avenue Middle School English department. When she was a new teacher in 2001 and ever since, the events of September 11 have been a part of her life and that of her students. Now the events need to be taught to a younger generation.
According to National Public Radio, only 20 states have high school curricula that includes the events of September 11. Since local families were affected by the attacks, the subject will be approached with sensitivity.
The historical events that led up to the attacks will be taught by social studies teachers. English teachers will show how American artists and authors responded.
The district also is offering math and science acceleration, taking preliminary courses in seventh grade, and eighth grade algebra.