History Dept. Launches Civics Course

Quinn Suomala, Features Editor

As was announced on March 3rd, Minnechaug is introducing a new required history course, American Civics and Identity, and all current Juniors will have to take it next year as one of their classes.

The course description says the American Civics and Identity class is a course that will focus on the historical background and present-day issues of several diverse groups in America. The goal of this course is to allow students to begin to increase their multicultural awareness and strengthen their ability to notice cultural differences and then find common ground.

According to History Department chair, Mrs. Cofone, the hope is that “this class will empower students to be well-informed, active citizens by offering the chance to look at public policy, get involved and have a voice in government.

During this course, students will complete a state-required civics project. This project has been required since 2018, when Governor Charlie Baker passed a state law that requested that schools have a student-led, non-paritsan civics project.

According to Mrs. Cofone, Minnechaug has been trying to figure out how to best implement this course for the past few years.

History teachers “went to many meetings to learn how other schools were implementing this requirement. We also attempted some trial runs with the AP Government course and a class called ‘Changemakers!'” said Cofone.

In the end, the History Department decided to pull some curriculum from pre-existing courses, as well as create new content, in order to help teach about the history of civics in this country.

History teachers felt that this course was the best way to ensure that students were well-informed about past civic actions in this country, so that they can build off of the past in order to work toward creating a better today.

Overall, this course is a mix of new and old, and it will be a new and, hopefully, exciting experience for students and teachers alike.

“This [class] would be the best way to educate students of the struggles, the successes and the outcomes our country has witnessed and hopefully providing them with inspiration for their own action,” Cofone said. “This course will cover not just the basics of our local, state and federal government, but will require students to get up out of their seats and do something–to be an agent of change.”