Actual College and Career Readiness? Revisiting the Replacement of Geography with CCR


Novato High social studies teacher Danny Kambur in action.

Surabhi Chinta, Reporter

In a modern-day world, new skills are rapidly becoming vital for students to learn. Being prepared for life after high school has become even more important in recent years. In 2016, Novato High School replaced the traditional geography class that freshmen took with College and Career Readiness (CCR), a class intended to help students gain an idea of their path after high school. The class itself allows students to explore a variety of options for their future careers, particularly ones they would like and are suitable for, as well as teaching personal finance and budgeting skills.
However, the question remains of what exactly the consequences of these changes have been, and whether this was the correct change to make.
Social Studies and CCR teacher Danny Kambur conveyed his opinion.
“Geography felt like more of a physical geography kind of thing, like ‘identify these mountains,’ so it was not necessarily relevant to kids. It almost felt like an introduction to social studies, which kids don’t generally need,” said Kambur.
One of these consequences might have been possible knowledge gaps, due to the lack of a history class for an entire year.
“I don’t necessarily see gaps in their knowledge,” said Kambur. “I definitely see it with World History kids. When we’re talking about different parts of the world, a lot of the time, they’ll sit there and be like, ‘Oh, so that’s where that is.’”
Some students reflected on the idea of potential knowledge gaps with the absence of a social studies class during freshman year.
“No, not necessarily,” said AP Human Geography student Olga Klymenko, when asked about missing the importance of Geography. “I do think it would have helped me prepare for human geography, and other history classes like AP Euro.”
However, many members of the NHS community agree that the timing of the class, CCR, is misplaced.
“The most common criticism I hear about it (CCR) is that you’ve got 14-year-olds, who are essentially middle-schoolers, taking a class about how they should be prepared for later life,” said Kambur. “I personally think it would be better as a senior half-year elective.”
Many students also agree with this as they change greatly over their high school journeys. Many of the ideas or thoughts they had while taking CCR and exploring themselves are not applicable to their future selves as seniors. This might make the class not as worthwhile as it could be during junior or senior years.
“I think that it’s important, but not for your freshman year,” said sophomore Aleshka McPretl.
Students who still wish to develop their geography skills can take the AP Human Geography course offered at NHS, taught by Kambur.
Otherwise, students are on their own.