Spotlight on Schools

Campbell Union High School District

Empowering Students through Informed Action Civics.

With the 2018-2019 school year, we are launching our second year of collaboration with the Campbell Union High School District H-SS teachers that will focus on strengthening the connections between academic course content and events transpiring in our contemporary world. During the initial year’s introduction to the H-SS Framework, many of the district’s teachers re-oriented their entire curriculum around significant inquiry questions and others focused on developing units and lesson plan sets to emphasize historical thinking and deeper analysis.

Supported by UCBHSSP Academic Coordinator, Devin Hess, teachers developed sets of cascading inquiry questions that unified their units and lessons with the primary themes and enduring understandings they set for their courses. Working at the district and department levels, teachers embraced a spirit of collaboration as they planned curriculum, developed lessons and reviewed student work to evaluate student learning based on their planning and integration of new instructional strategies. Of particular note was their deep exploration of the concept of  ‘Continuity and Change’, which resulted in a thoughtful revision of a rubric.

The high level of engagement did not come as a surprise. Unlike many administration-initiated PD programs, the UCBHSSP was invited to the district by the teachers themselves. Their strong leadership team, composed of department chairs plus a colleague from each site, arrived at the initial planning session with a sophisticated proposal for professional development that included not only support implementing the H-SS Framework but also a request to integrate presentations by scholars to help fill gaps in their content expertise.

Keenly aware of the significant change we are facing as a nation and a world at this historical moment, the leadership team, informed by their colleagues’, collaborated with UCBHSSP to design a second year of professional support that would allow them to increase the relevance of their instruction and empower students. This year,  participating teachers will pilot and inform the refinement of UCBHSSP’s “Informed Action Civics” model, which encourages community-based projects in response to contemporary issues that are informed by the investigation and analysis of relevant historical case studies. Extending from their earlier work on historical thinking, teachers will explore the concepts of  ‘The Ethical Dimension” and “Historical Perspectives”. Understanding that this work requires the ability to have productive discussions of contentious political topics, UCBHSSP kicked off the year’s learning by testing a new Deliberative Discourse Protocol, which had been piloted by one of the teachers last spring and scaffolds controversial conversations in the classroom.