Keeping History Up to Date

Keeping History Up to Date in CPSD
Posted on 02/06/2024
One male and one female student in a classroom read social studies books and smile at the camera.History is constantly happening all around us. Each election, world event and discovery can fundamentally change the way we view life on this planet. Unfortunately, history classes have traditionally had a hard time adapting to these changes. As history happens, paper textbooks creep more and more out of date with each passing day.

CPSD’s new middle and high school social studies curriculum tackles this problem head on by incorporating a dynamic online textbook that updates yearly to ensure students are learning about history even as they’re living it.

The district’s Teaching and Learning department began the process of updating all social studies curriculum for grades 6-12 last year. After extensive pilots, new textbooks were chosen for 22 different classes, including social studies electives such as psychology and economics.

CPSD last updated its secondary social studies curriculum in 2014. Each textbook includes an online text that students can view using their district-issued laptop. The search for new textbooks focused on finding materials that offered high levels of rigor and engagement for students.

“Because every student in CPSD has a district-issued laptop, they have access to more dynamic curriculum than what you’d find in a textbook alone,” said CPSD Supervisor of Social Studies Jan Lonsway. “These texts are interactive and adaptive in ways that keep students engaged no matter what topic they are learning about.”

The online textbooks also include different versions depending on a student’s language and reading level. This ensures access for each student no matter the educational or cultural barriers they may face.

Many of the new materials selected come from the National Geographic textbook brand, Cengage. These textbooks focus on high-quality imagery and detailed maps that can help history come to life on the digital or paper page.

“National Geographic has become an industry leader in social studies textbooks,” Lonsway said. “They have an amazing archive of photographs that give the textbooks the feeling of browsing a museum.”