Huntington's English and social studies program are exceptional.

Humanities on the Move in Huntington UFSD

Huntington's English and social studies program are exceptional.

September 5, 2018

The Huntington UFSD’s secondary grade level English and social studies program are ready to soar in 2018/19 as a substantial amount of behind the scenes groundwork has been laid this summer so several initiatives can push forward.

“Finley English teachers have been working at a feverish pace to refine the middle school ELA curriculum with a strong focus on evidence-based methods in teaching writing,” said Joseph Leavy, district chairman of humanities, 7-12. “The team of teachers Brendan McGowan (ELA coach), Alison Hudak Capewell and Kim Schiller also worked intensively to expand and deepen the ELA lab curriculum, aligning it with the core course and emphasizing vocabulary growth for our students. Our goal through this year is to ensure that all students receive a challenging and enriching learning experience in the English language Arts, both at the high school and middle school.”

Huntington Humanities Chairman Joseph Leavy.
Huntington Humanities Chairman Joseph Leavy.

The Huntington High School English Honor Society will once again sponsor and coordinate a school-wide spelling bee in February 2019 and there will be poetry cafes in the library to give students a forum to showcase their work.

“A new set of courses will be introduced this year, taught by Steven Kroll: Literary Fantasy and Science Fiction,” Mr. Leavy said. “We continue as well into our third year of the Advanced Placement Capstone program, with courses in AP Seminar and AP Research continuing to attract students who wish to reach high levels of research and writing.”

Finley social studies teachers are also on the move. “Many new and creative ideas have been crystalized by the staff in both seventh and eighth grade,” Mr. Leavy said. “Our goal is to make US history come alive with local connections to Huntington, having students explore ‘enduring issues’ and work closely with primary source documents as they get history from the source.”

Huntington’s National History Day initiative continues to grow among Finley students. Even SEARCH program sixth graders participated last year.

Faculty members used the vacation to advance their knowledge and overall teaching craft. “This past summer, Finley social studies teacher Kim Finneran worked at Teddy Roosevelt’s home in Oyster Bay as a ranger/teacher and designed curriculum to help many more students understand the central role Teddy Roosevelt played in bringing the US into the modern world,” Mr. Leavy said.

Huntington UFSD will be playing a role in the commemoration of a speech TR gave in the heart of the village more than 115 years ago. “On July 4, 1903, to celebrate our town’s 250th anniversary TR spoke at the corner of what is now Gerard Street and New York Avenue,” Mr. Leavy said. “With the help of a few teachers, several Huntington High School students researched his visit, located the speech and newspaper articles about the event. These students worked together with the high school student government created a design of a historical marker and received funding for it, celebrating and memorializing the event.”

The TR commemoration will be held on Thursday, September 20 at 5 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Huntington’s high school social studies is also on the move. “We will focus on transitioning to the new state standards and on Regents exams through this year and into the next few years,” Mr. Leavy said. “What is particularly exciting is that students will be able to soon write a new essay called the ‘enduring issues essay,’ starting with some students this school year and all students who are currently in grade 8 and thereafter. Described as a ‘combination of the two current Regents essays, the famous DBQ and the thematic essay, the enduring issues essay has students expressing their interpretation of an issue that has endured over time, through history.’ They scour documents to find this common issue, and then express how it has affected and changed people and civilizations. Quite exciting!”

Want more information about Huntington UFSD’s secondary grade level English and social studies programs? Send a message to Mr. Leavy at [email protected].

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