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As Directors of Humanities, Diane and Shardae play a critical role in realizing the mission of the district by providing schools with high-quality curriculum support and guidance that are vertically aligned PrK-12, ensuring that every Manchester Public School student is ready to matriculate into rigorous high school humanities courses. The directors provide professional development and coaching to instructional leaders and teachers across the district as they support academic success for all students. Together they support curriculum development of Literacy, Social Studies and World Language.

The humanities introduce students to people they have never met, places they have never visited, and ideas that may have never crossed their minds. By showing how others have lived and thought about life, learning through Humanities allows students to decide what is important in their own lives and what they might do to make it better.

The humanities strive to cultivate a community of readers and writers throughout each content. Teachers in Kindergarten through Grade 8 support student access to grade level standards through readers’ & writers’ workshops which allow for student voice and choice in becoming critical thinkers.  Literacy experiences for students in grades 9-12 continue to provide a pathway of voice and choice through novel studies, primary & secondary sources and relevant media to support a critical stance in learning. The Social Studies scope and sequence is currently under review with district-wide stakeholders, examining the continuum of historical, cultural, and geographical learning experiences.  World language experiences begin in grade 5, and introduce students to basic grammar and vocabulary, along with culture and celebrated customs. World language experiences are offered through AP level in most languages. MHS students participate in the Connecticut Seal of Biliteracy, an award given by the district in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

Curriculum development highlights include: 

  • ongoing updates into student and classroom libraries which feature texts from authentic and diverse voices
  • humanities units which feature social justice themes, embed student voice, choice and critical thinking
  • curriculum units updated to feature an interdisciplinary focus

Contact Us:

Diane Sheehan-Burns
Director of Teaching & Learning - Humanities (Pre-K - 4)

Shardae Shipman
Director of Teaching & Learning - Humanities (Grades 5-12)

Juliana Brownstein
Administrative Assistant to Directors of Teaching & Learning
860.645.6039 (P)
860.647.3222 (F)

English Language Arts - PreK-12

ELA Word Cloud


Social Studies - Grades 3-12

Social Studies


World Language - Grades 5-12

World Language Word Cloud