The vision statement for Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Hartford asserts that "Catholic schools educate diverse student bodies to form Catholic, person-centered learning communities; provide quality teaching through traditional and innovative educational programs infused with Catholic social teachings; involve students to serve and support parish life and the local civic communities; graduate students who are critical thinkers, productive moral citizens, and spiritual leaders; and recognize and appreciate parents as the primary educators of their children."
Social studies are the integrated study of the social sciences and the humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.(National Council for Social Studies)
As we advance boldly into the 21st century, it is increasingly more important that students become aware of other cultures, economic and political systems and the historical developments that have molded these various cultures and systems. Through the study of social studies, students should come to a greater Catholic understanding of individual and group development, power and authority, rights and responsibilities, along with civic ideals and practices. They should also develop a keen awareness of both social justice and social responsibility as they consider the world in which they live, their needs, and the needs of others.
The standards for social studies for the Archdiocese of Hartford have four main strands: Civics, Economics, Geography, and History. These four stands integrate all of the content strands from the social studies curriculum frame work from the Connecticut State Department of Education and the National Council for Social Studies. Objectives with learning outcomes for each grade are identified for each of the four standards.
An integral part in the study of social studies should include the integration of Catholic social teachings. It is appropriate for students in a Catholic environment to focus on:
- LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON – People are more important than things, and the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
- CALL TO FAMILY, COMMUNITY, AND PARTICIPATION - How we organize our society, in economics, politics, law and policy, directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community.
- RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES - Human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met.
- OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE - In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, we are instructed to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
- DIGNITY OF WORK AND RIGHTS OF WORKERS - If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the rights of workers, to decent wages, to organize and join unions, and to private property, must be respected.
- SOLIDARITY - We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences.
- CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION - We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation.
Finally, a goal of the Social Studies Standards is that the students in the Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Hartford will be multi-culturally literate and globally aware. Multicultural literacy is the ability to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in the customs, values, and beliefs of one’s own culture and the cultures of others.
Students Who Are Multiculturally Literate:
- Value Diversity
- Are aware of how cultural beliefs, values and sensibilities affect the way they and others think and behave.
- Appreciate and accept similarities and differences in beliefs, appearances and lifestyles.
- Understand how technology impacts culture.
- Exhibit an Informed Sensitivity
- Know the history of both mainstream and non-mainstream American cultures.
- Can take the perspectives of other cultural groups.
- Are sensitive to issues of bias, racism, prejudice and stereotyping.
- Actively Engage with/in Other Cultures
- Are bilingual/multilingual or are working toward becoming bilingual/multilingual.
- Communicate, interact and work with individuals from other cultural groups, using technology where it is appropriate.
- Are familiar with cultural norms of technology environments and are able to interact successfully in those environments.
Global awareness is the recognition and understanding of inter-relationships among international organizations, nation-states, public and private economic entities, sociocultural groups and individuals across the globe.
Students Who Are Globally Aware:
- Are knowledgeable about the connectedness of the nations of the world historically, politically, economically, technologically, socially, linguistically and ecologically.
- Understand that these interconnections can have both positive benefits and negative consequences.
- Understand the role of the United States in international policies and international relations.
- Are able to recognize, analyze and evaluate major trends in global relations and the interconnections of these trends with both their local and national communities.
- Understand how national cultural differences impact the interpretation of events at the global level.
- Understand the impact of ideology and culture on national decisions regarding access and the use of technology.
- Participate in the global society by staying current with international news and by participating in the democratic process.
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