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A Glimpse into our History Department

We are the history department at Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School and we’re sharing what we do and the role we play in helping our students become critical thinkers and make sense of the world around them.

What are the subjects taught within the history department?
World History, AP World History, US History, AP US History, Government, AP Government, and Economics, Psychology

Why is it important to study history?
In the digital age where the Internet is ubiquitous and access to information is right at our fingertips, history is still an extremely important subject because it teaches us about global citizenship and how decisions made by our governments connect us and have major implications in our lives.

It also teaches us what it means to be Hispanic, what it means to be American, and how our cultures, norms, and values inform our beliefs. Ultimately history teaches us how to debate points effectively and back up our arguments with facts.

Do current events play a role in your classes and how?
It is difficult to not have current events take center stage given our political climate and that it’s an election year. It is a great way to introduce topics and illustrate with specific examples that are very relevant. For my students, it’s important to understand what your agency should look like within a historical context. We often ask ourselves what is normal? Is what is happening in our current government within the realm of norm and what are the root causes? Nothing is created overnight. We focus on systemic causes and try to understand how we got here.

How did you choose to teach this subject area?
Leah (World History): I started out wanting to teach geography because I love cultures around the world but it’s a class that isn’t generally offered in public schools. I picked up a history major as well in college and knew that this would be an area that I would come to love. I want my students to be aware of diversity, world religions, and how different groups of people live.

Jake (Government/Econ): I studied Public Discourse and Economics in college, then joined the Teacher Residency program at Alpha. Now as the Government/Econ teacher, I am able to give students a more complete and precise picture of the world and show them how things work. The world is a product of certain shifts of what we have done and how we think.

Romina (Psychology): I was a Pharmacy major in college and needed a class to help boost my GPA so I picked up psychology. Taking that class was a pivotal moment in my life because it has led me to where I am today. What I enjoy the most is using what I’ve learned to help students do better in the long run.

What do you hope students walk away with from your classes?
In my government class, I hope students can make sense of what they’ve read and seen. How one event influences another and how to weave in argumentative strategies.

Students should walk away with the ability to make an informed choice and be able to weigh evidence and create an argument.