By its very nature democracy requires a citizenry possessed of those skills and beliefs that enable it to survive. As Thomas Jefferson noted, education was indispensable to the preservation of liberty and to the success of the American experiment in democracy. As such, the curriculum and the pedagogy of the Social Studies Department of the Bayonne Public Schools exist, in part, to enable our students to develop into the active and engaged citizens that our nation needs. We believe it is our responsibility to provide a curriculum and instructional activities that will introduce Bayonne’s diverse student body to the core concepts, themes, events, groups, and individuals that have helped to shape the past as well as the present.
At the heart of our practice is a commitment to critical thinking. We believe all students must be able to analyze positions, evaluate evidence, formulate effective questions, conduct research and create coherent written and oral arguments if they are to assume the responsibilities of citizenship. Throughout our program of studies, students will apply these skills as they explore primary and secondary sources in an effort to wrestle with questions of social, historical, political, and moral importance.
A Social Studies education grounded in the study of history, civics, geography, and economics as well as the social sciences and humanities, will empower our students to develop their own world view. As critical thinkers possessed of a core body of knowledge, students will gain an understanding and appreciation for the complexity of the past and the present as well as an understanding of the interdependence of our global society. Additionally, with a strong academic skill set, our students will have the means to successfully pursue higher education and a career of their choosing. And finally, as a result of this “apprenticeship in liberty,” our students will be ready to assume their roles as citizens in a democratic society.