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American Studies at Watertown (SD) High School

 

While American Studies has become a popular field during the 1990s, it has been part of the Watertown High School curriculum since the 1960s.

 

It was decades ago when Donus Roberts and Merle Heidenreich proposed a college-prep course combining elements of American culture.  It was originally a team-taught two-hour class which divided American History into 12 units, each lasting approximately three weeks.  There were generally  two sections, each consisting of two blocks of students.  Due to block scheduling and changes in instructors, the course currently consists of units taught in two 90-minute blocks for one semester.

On most days, Brent Wookey discusses the history of a given period to half of the students while Jeanne Hansen covers the literature.  During the second block, the groups switch.  An art teacher (Gary Witcher) takes over one or two days each unit.   Right now a music teacher is not available, so the history and literature instructors take turns with this area.