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Developing empathy for others is a core value at d.tech and the humanities courses are one way we achieve that. Our English, world language, and social science courses, along with many of our intersession electives, provide students an opportunity to study the human experience. This means understanding the many ways people have documented and interpreted the human condition across time periods, cultures, and languages.
The English, world language, and social science departments will build curricula that address the standards presented in the Common Core. Both English and social science curricula will be shared through online platforms and presented to students as “playlists.” Humanities teachers will develop and curate the best resources that address development in reading and analyzing complex texts, thinking critically, writing across a variety of genres, speaking effectively and listening.
Few skills empower an individual as much as a strong command of their language. Our English curriculum -which includes four English courses - gives students a deep understanding of the English language and how it can be used effectively. This means students learn to:
- read and critically analyze complex text independently,
- write in a way that effectively communicates their thinking to a broad range of audiences and to meet a broad range of purposes, and
- speak confidently and clearly in both formal and informal settings.
The Design Tech English program is a series of four courses that are thematically organized, linked with each other, and aligned with the common core standards for English language arts. Students read fiction and non-fiction texts, as well as examine poetry, film, music, and art pieces that are thematically connected to the course units. Students are exposed to a variety of reading strategies to aid the comprehension of text as well as the deeper analysis of text.
Writing is a central focus in all d.tech classes, and especially English classes. Students learn strategies for strong composition, as well as vocabulary and technical elements of writing, in order to communicate effective. At d.tech we believe all people can become good writers with frequent practice, fast and specific feedback from authentic audiences, and multiple revisions. In addition to the personalized online materials curated by d.tech’s curriculum architects and organized through Google Apps for Education, the English classes supplement with curriculum and materials from Curriculet, Newsela, and No Red Ink.
The social science program at d.tech prepares students to take their place in our world as informed and engaged citizens. Our social science curriculum covers economics, modern world history, U.S. history, and government. Our Economics curriculum is based on the materials from Econ Alive. These materials help students to understand economic concepts within the context of real-world situations. Our modern world history and U.S. history courses will be accessed through an online platform and rely heavily on the materials developed for Stanford’s Reading Like a Historian program, which requires students to engage in historical inquiry. Topics revolve around a focus question and students apply critical reading skills such as sourcing, contextualizing, and corroborating to understand and evaluate primary source documents. They learn to make historical claims in their writing and discussion and support those claims with evidence. Our history curriculum requires students to do more than recall discrete information; they must put their knowledge into action by evaluating multiple sources and synthesizing information from those sources.
Design Tech employs Spanish teachers in addition to partnering with Skyline Community College to provide Continuing Education Classes on campus. This allows students to earn both high school and college course credit concurrently. Students can also arrange independent study: courses must be UC ratified for credit to accrue. Freshmen are encouraged to focus on their transition to High School and to explore these opportunities when they become developmentally appropriate.