How the New History Curriculum Change Is Affecting Teachers

Photo Credit: Radoslaw Wisniewski

During the 2019-2020 school year, the government and U.S. History classes swapped grade levels. U.S. History is now a 10th-grade requirement. This has resulted in teachers having to teach several classes for one course. This change has affected teachers. Ms. Kerri Cannavaro, a history teacher at EHHS, provided much insight into how this change has particularly affected her. Ms. Cannavaro, now teaching sophomores, rather than her usual juniors and seniors, has had to adapt to a new grade level. Ms. Cannavaro stated, “It’s a big shift, and I have to say I didn’t think it would be as challenging as it is.” Ms. Cannavaro stated that she is unable to reference content from the Global Issues class students usually took sophomore year. One of the bigger changes Ms. Cannavaro talked about is getting used to the different environment of having both sophomores and juniors rather than just juniors.

Her colleague, Mr. Anthony Vasaspiano, said, “Let’s put it this way, I don’t think it really matters.” Mr. Vaspasiano’s views were all positive and focused on students. Mr. Joseph Marangell, EHPS’ Social Studies instructional leader, explains that this change is happening all over Connecticut. He has talked to many people about making this change. He believes that as long as the teachers follow the curriculum and teach in a comfortable manner, there should be no problems. Marangell stated, “Every teacher needs to administer the same summative assessments for the course, so that’s kind of non-negotiable. That every student that is taking U.S History needs to take to be exposed to the same standards and be assessed in the same way. But teaching styles, it’s okay for teachers to still use whatever style they are most comfortable with to deliver their content.” Cooperation is key between students and teachers to ensure a smooth transition. While all teachers had different views on this change, one common theme became apparent: in the end, they think this will be a positive change in the academic, social, and even stress levels throughout EHHS.