Freshman Seminar Standards

  • Students in Freshman Seminar (9th grade) investigate concepts of identities, family, communities, values, and informed decision-making. Students confront the complexities of history by analyzing the Holocaust, the American eugenics movement, and racial relations in Los Angeles, as lenses for exploring their own identity and community. In doing so, they will learn to use the tools to be successful in high school and participate as an effective member of the school and community. Skills to be developed include research, debate, seminar, presentation, analysis, and health awareness. Students also utilize the resources available at the high school to develop habits for success and plan for the future.

    9.1 IDENTITY
    Students trace the roots of identity: Self-identity, community identity, stereotypes. Essential Questions: What are the internal and external factors that define who I am? How do my personal and group/community identities shape my views and behaviors, including the choices I make?

    9.2 WE vs. THEY
    Students consider the development of communities and analyze the effect of "we versus they" ideology, including the role of peer pressure or conformity, issues of loyalty, how power affects community, and the phenomena of groups. Essential Questions: How do we respond to those who are different than ourselves? Why does there seem to be a need to create an ‘other’? What happens to a society when only some of its members get rights/privileges while others are excluded?

    Students consider the elements that bond a society, build skills to analyze the impact of perspective on information, and identify how individuals voice dissent to society. Essential Questions: Why do societies depend upon a certain degree of conformity or obedience? When, if ever, is it right to disobey? What factors influence bystanding? How much of a role does the media play in shaping our views, behaviors and choices?

    Students describe and analyze various ways communities have resolved and moved forward from instances of conflict. Essential Questions: How do communities resolve and move beyond instances of conflict in the aftermath of collective violence? What do we choose to remember about our past and why? What happens when we forget? How does the past continue to affect us and our world today?

    Students consider the factors that affect individual decision-making and how to effectively take action for their own lives. Essential Questions: What factors influence a person’s decision to participate in society, often at great risk or cost to themselves and their loved ones? How might we define ‘heroism’? Why is civic participation in society and its institutions important? What forms can that participation take, especially for youth? What allows people to cross boundaries and unite with others for a common cause?