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Thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Waterville Senior High School’s social studies curriculum will be revamped over the next three years to include a broad, global perspective in history and civilization courses. Colby College and Waterville Senior High School received the three-year professional development grant through the foundations’ Secondary Education Program to collaborate on the project.
A key goal is to revise significantly the introductory world history course at the high school, moving from one that focuses largely on European history to one that is global in scope. In addition, the project will provide valuable enhancements for the school’s recently created advanced-placement world history course. The grant will help to enrich and update all courses in the school’s social studies department.
“This will put Waterville’s social studies curriculum at the forefront in the state of Maine,” said WSHS Principal Chris Hollingsworth. “Most of our courses have been focused on Maine, U.S. and European history, but we’re living in a society that is so much more international that it makes sense to give students a broader base of knowledge about the world. This collaboration has given us a better understanding of the depth of the international program at Colby,” Hollingsworth said. “The changes will encourage our students to see international studies as a major in college and as a career path.”
Six high school social studies teachers will have the opportunity to take Colby courses related to their disciplines and, during their time at the college, will work with faculty members there on revising their curriculum and on integrating technology and new software into their courses. The grant will provide for a replacement teacher at the high school for three years to permit the intensive professional development.
The project will have statewide impact. Travel stipends are provided so that the teachers may share the results of the Waterville High School project with other Maine teachers. This collaboration will foster long-term professional connections between faculties of the high school and Colby, will increase sharing of international events and will produce a deeper curriculum for Waterville High School students.
Colby history professor James Webb, the project director, said the collaboration is part and parcel of Colby’s ongoing community outreach and civic engagement initiatives. Colby is noted for a strong program in international studies, he said, adding, “this program will help meet a rather fundamental need in the high schools in the state of Maine — globalizing the curriculum.”
Additional contact: Chris Hollingsworth, Principal, Waterville Senior High School, 873-2751