Proposed elective courses at PWHS highlight diversity and equity

At the Colonial Board of School Directors' Curriculum Committee meeting on November 9, Colonial's curriculum team introduced two new Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) social studies electives that address diversity, equity and inclusion

Powerpoint slide of course description with small image of man from Zoom meeting

Colonial School District's Diversity, Equity and Instruction Officer Gerald James and Curriculum Supervisor Dr. Katy Giovanisci introduced the courses at the Curriculum Committee meeting on November 9.

In Gender and Identity: An Untold Story of American History, students will explore the history, evolution and contributions of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community in the United States, as well as the concepts of gender identity and sexual orientation. 

"The premise of the course is something that grew organically out of conversations with students throughout the years," said Jennifer Hannold, a PWHS social studies teacher who helped to develop the class. "Many students who offered their thoughts expressed both a need and an excitement about having a course dedicated to highlighting this particular content area."  

Gender and Identity is a project-based course that will bring together elements of history, art, literature, science, psychology and sociology.

The second course, African American Studies: A Sociocultural Exploration, will introduce students to major themes and issues that have occurred in African American history from origins in Africa to present day. Topics range from the historical, cultural, legal, economic and societal barriers that have promoted the inequities of African Americans in the United States to the significant contributions that African Americans, and other historically marginalized groups, have made to American society.

"The goal of the course is to accentuate the many positive contributions of African Americans in American history, while also addressing topics that will help students gain perspective regarding the struggle of African Americans to be treated equitably and gain equality," explained Gerald James, Colonial School District's Diversity, Equity and Instruction Officer. "We are excited about both of these teacher-proposed courses."

Mr. James also shared that the District will continue to look at ways to enhance Colonial's curriculum and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, Gender and Identity: An Untold Story of American History and African American Studies: A Sociocultural Exploration will join PWHS social studies electives that also include Women's Studies, Law and Literature, Holocaust and Geocidal Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Conflicts and Connections.