Athena Curriculum

ELA and Social Studies courses blend into one curriculum that challenges students to analyze and respond to historical social injustices.

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Please follow this link, which is a shared Google Document that you can comment on. The Doc provides more depth, as well as areas of weakness I would love feedback on. If there is an issue with the Doc or ability to comment, please comment on this post and I will (hopefully) be able to figure it out!

Inspired by the Apollo School (York, Pennsylvania), as well as the Scholars Program at Ridgeview High School (Columbia, SC), the Athena School would be a similar curriculum targeted for middle school students. It is named after Athena because she was the goddess of war, however she was known only to fight for just causes, and would not fight without a purpose. The Athena School would provide students a space to find a purpose worth fighting for. Students will research historical injustices that make them want to fight, as well as challenge students to bring the history into a modern light so that their generation can empathize with history. 

Instead of having separate ELA and Social Studies, classes would combine into one block of time. Seventh grade ELA and Social Studies content standards would be the primary focus. Students will take ownership of the standards, selecting which ones they will fulfill, and each day they are held accountable for designing their schedule. A common schedule would include mini-lessons with the teachers, independent research, interviews, collecting resources, and also producing products that show a synthesis of their learning. 

What the final products will look like is unknown: students could publish creative writing, start a campaign, write letters to their representatives, or complete a multitude of multi-genre work that demonstrates mastery of their standards, but just as importantly, an Athena-like passion for empathy and justice.

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I agree with you wholeheartedly--would love to talk more about how to develop the curriculum. We don't live in silos, but we continue to adhere to this antiquated method of teaching. Giving students freedom and accountability for synthesis of knowledge will encourage both ownership and empathy, as they relate historical injustices to current, relevant issues. I love this!

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Yeah!! Let's stop teaching subjects in silos.

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It feels unnatural these days! Everything is constantly blending.

Photo of Donna Teuber
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Hi Ellen Fox I love the idea of an Athena School with a blended curriculum for ELA and Social Studies. I would love to see more about the topics that students would be able to choose for their course of study. Let's make this happen! For more impact, add a photo to your contribution page - How about Athena?

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Hi Donna Teuber I appreciate the support! I think it could be pretty realistic! I will add a picture soon-- thank you for the suggestion!

Photo of Nathan O'Neill
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Ellen Fox have you talked with Nicole at the RV Scholar's Academy so see if she could lend you any perspective? This is a neat idea, and I wonder if the magnet ACE at L.B. Nelson might also give you some inspiration.

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Nathan O'Neill  I was texting her last night about it!! We were playing around with the idea about having her Scholars students mentor these students!