Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School Promotes Interdisciplinary Connections in Humanities Curriculum

In advance of the 2018-2019 School Year, McClancy’s administration decided to combine four of its Academic Departments into a newly forged Humanities Department. Bringing together the curricula of Religion, English, Social Studies and Modern World Language allows for robust connections to be made and explored.

With the first year now in the books, students have been able to see that none of their classes are teaching in isolation. The connections are everywhere. In order to better prepare our students for the New York State Global History and Geography Regents exam, the texts selected in the sophomore English class highlight non-American authors from the last two hundred and fifty years. Similarly, our junior English classes use American literature taught chronologically which assists in their study of American History.

When students are learning grammar in their Modern World Language classes, we now are taking an opportunity to strengthen their understanding of English grammar as well. Helping to see how they speak in a myriad of tenses in English helps them to see why there is a need for conjugating differently in Spanish or Italian. Exploring the cultures of Spanish and Italian speaking lands give students a broader perspective of Social Studies.

It’s impossible to remove a text from its historical and social context and that includes religious documents. As a Catholic high school, we feel obligated to have our students examine Sacred Scripture. This practice is being enhanced by the techniques commonly used in English and Social Studies classes. Students can break down the message of a parable in much the same way they would in a novel and poem. We’ve even seen an increase in the appreciation of our Religion classes because of these new lenses we utilize.

Studying the connections between our Religion and Social Studies courses knows no bounds. It is essential to the mission of our school conducted each day in partnership with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. It is difficult to understand the spirituality of the Brothers and the charism of their founder Father Andre Coindre without considering the bleak environment where their order was born. Post-Napoleonic France provided little in educational and religious opportunities for the young boys of Lyon.

They responded specifically to the needs of their day as we strive to do for the young people in our care. Both then and now we seek to establish a sanctuary for our students where they are known, valued and treasured and prepared to face the challenges of our rapidly changing world. Through the study of the Humanities, our educational program is becoming greater than the sum of its parts.