GFPS approves new secondary social studies materials
The Great Falls Public Schools board approved new secondary social studies materials during their June 12 meeting.
The new materials from McGraw Hill are, according to the staff report:
- 7th grade: Networks World Geography
- 8th grade: U.S. History– Voices and Perspectives: Early Years; Exploring Civics
- 9th grade: World History Modern Times
- 11th grade: U.S. History Modern Times
- 12th grade: U.S. Government and Civics
High school Montana history curriculum will continue to use the current Montana government book. At the middle school level, they’ll continue using the current civics book, according to staff.
The materials will be purchased through the GFPS curriculum budget.
According to staff, the middle school costs include class sets and digital access for three years for a total cost of $136,866.82.
The high school costs include classroom sets and digital access for four years for a total cost of $225,854.77, according to staff.
The materials were available for public review and input from April 25 to May 5.
Beckie Frisbee, curriculum coordinator for secondary, told the board in April that they followed a similar process for selecting new materials.
For the high school materials, the vote wasn’t 100 percent, but 92 percent were in agreement on the recommended materials.
She said it’s part of the C3 inquiry model, which is career, college and citizenship, and they integrate all strands throughout each grade for civics and government, economics, geography and history.
Montana government is a semester in high school, she said.
Frisbee said in April that the middle school quote for materials was $241,254.82, but that would likely come down because she was adjusting their order.
She said they can’t negotiate the cost of the textbooks, but can change quantity and class sets are more realistic than per student sets since they can use more digital content.
The estimate for high school materials was $263,044.05.
Kim Skornogoski, school board member, asked in April if there was a concern when students move from sixth grade to middle school and whether the material transitions well.
“The standards provided consistency,” Cutler said.
Frisbee said the materials blend well and that since students have grown up in a digital world, they’re less intimidated by digital materials than a huge textbook.
They still want hard copies of the textbooks since not every student has digital access at home, she said.
She said with the new curriculum, teachers will be covering social studies in a deeper, richer way in elementary school so students won’t have to catch up as much when they transition to middle school.
Frisbee said U.S. history is a good example since the book goes well beyond what they cover in middle school and they start further in the book since they don’t need as much overlap.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction adopted new social studies standards for K-12 in June 2020.
A committee of K-12 educators was created to review and prepare ‘know, understand, do’ goals that the GFPS board adopted in summer 2022.
The committee met last summer to review books and begin the process of choosing new textbooks for the new social studies standards.
In May, the GFPS board adopted the new elementary social studies materials.
According to GFPS staff, elementary teachers met throughout the year to document interdisciplinary connections between the new social studies standards and the new English Language Arts curriculum and determined that many social studies standards are addressed in the context of the ELA.