Camden De Sanctis 0

Montgomery Social Studies Department Petition

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We, students and parents of Montgomery Township, hereby petition the Board of Education to veto the decision to not renew the contract of the current Supervisor of High School Social Studies department, a teacher and supervisor that has proven to be highly effective for the past four years. With this, we urge them to prevent any unfavorable changes to the department’s curriculum that might accompany her replacement. Such changes, we believe, would only serve to detract from the integrity of the school district and that of the curriculum, as well as limit the abilities of the highly qualified and experienced teachers of Montgomery Township School District.

  • The proposed changes to the structure of curriculum goes against Strategic Objective 1.1 to “Differentiate instructional strategies to support each student’s unique learning needs, interests, and aptitudes.”
  • The proposed non-renewal as well as possible changes to curriculum in the Social Studies Department have caused substantial concern among students, neglecting the Strategic Objective 1.3 to “Ensure students’ social-emotional needs are being addressed.”
  • The proposed changes and non-renewal also violate Objective 2.4 to “Recruit and retain high quality educators” as they risk alienating the highest quality teachers at Montgomery High School who often go above and beyond the required state standards.
  • Teachers are being, or will be, penalized for slight changes in name for the same assignment they assign. The proposed changes to curriculum also require all tests to have the exact same names, and views assignments with slightly different names as different assignments.
    • These names have been suggested to be codes rather than actual assignment names, which would create immense confusion for not just teachers, but more importantly parents and students.
  • The current Social Studies Supervisor is keen to student concerns about the functioning of the Social Studies Department, as shown through the fact that she goes above and beyond to meet with students, no matter personal inconvenience.
  • The current Social Studies Supervisor supervisor has demonstrated commitment to bettering the education of students in Social Studies classes with attempts to update and modernize curriculum.
    • The AP students now have access to online textbooks, something not available before her time as supervisor.
    • AP US History students have access to up to date and level specific textbooks, with the newest edition of American History: Connecting With the Past
    • AP Government and Politics students have access to a textbook with online resources because of the determination of the current Social Studies Supervisor to work with teachers to find the best options available.
    • The World Studies Honors curriculum was updated before the 2016-2017 school year to include more about modern day history.
  • Performance by students on AP tests have improved during the current Social Studies Supervisor’s tenure. Below are the changes in student scoring as reported in the MHS School Profiles from 2012-2016, this change occurred during the period in which the supervisor in question was actively employed by the Montgomery Township School District.
    • Art History: An increase in 11% of students scored a 4 or 5, with 71% receiving such scores (National level of 4’s or 5’s: 33.7%)
    • Macroeconomics: An increase in 4% of students scored a 4 or 5, with 83% receiving such scores (National level of 4’s or 5’s: 40.8%)
    • Microeconomics: An increase in 3% of students scored a 4 or 5, with 83% receiving such scores (National level of 4’s or 5’s: 45.3%)
    • US Government and Politics: An increase in 33% of students scored a 4 or 5, with 75% receiving such scores (National level of 4’s or 5’s: 25.8%)
    • US History: An increase in 7% of students scored a 4 or 5, with 100% receiving such scores (National level of 4’s or 5’s: 29.8%)

Looking at all of these pieces, it is clear that the current Supervisor of Social Studies at MHS is not only beneficial to the township, but in fact wholly necessary to the growth and continued level of excellence the Montgomery Township School District offers to its students. The refusal to renew her contract is a key example of administration trying to fix something that is not broken, and fit education with all its variances into something cut and dry. This fails to account for the needs of our student body, and one’s personalized learning preferences. The removal of the current supervisor would signal a fundamental shift in the ideologies of Montgomery Township, one that would harm the education of every student in the district, from elementary, to middle, to high schoolers.

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