Below is the letter I sent to parents this year. Enjoy.
We are six short days away from embarking on another year at the Downingtown STEM Academy! I hope you and your son or daughter are as excited about returning to school as I am.
This year in Civics and Government I plan to challenge your son or daughter to think critically and question everything. Rather than reading from textbooks, the course is built around a detailed understanding of the US Constitution and the documents that shaped its origin and interpretation. From these sources, students will develop their own understanding of Civics and Government. With a strong of the US Constitution, we will then examine and compare the American system of government to international societies.
This critical study will be very challenging at times. Constitutional scholars have not agreed on some of the topics we will uncover. However, this exploratory approach will keep students engaged throughout the year. More importantly, I will support the students throughout this process.
Your son or daughter will refine skills that will prepare them for their International Baccalaureate coursework beginning in 11th grade. In addition, they will also expand their technology skills as they create authentic learning assessments.
I plan to share all of this with you throughout the year. I have worked hard to create an open classroom, both online and traditionally. I will share unit and lesson plans with you online, I hope to share student work with permission, and I always welcome you into my classroom at any time.
I am very excited to begin a new year. If you have any questions, please contact me now or anytime throughout the year. Feel free to watch a short slideshow/video I prepare every year for the students to get to know me.
Justin H. Staub