Enter Alex Lahasky’s 11th grade social studies classroom and become instantly captivated by the creative ways students are delving into history. Lahasky, who walked through Blue Valley West’s hallways as a student himself not too long ago, not only ignites a passion for the past, but he also establishes meaningful connections to the present. In so doing, he instills in his students the skills to think critically and express themselves confidently as they shape their roles as active, young citizens in a global world.
Eschewing conventional lectures, Lahasky follows the Socratic method, using open-ended questions to stimulate conversation and higher-order inquiry. Specific activities, like a spy simulation during the Cold War unit, bring history to life. Lahasky employs a flipped classroom approach to address learning targets, with students studying his videos at their own pace. Perhaps most notably, Lahasky – also a musician – creates APUSH (AP U.S. History) Mixtapes comprised of his renditions of pop and rap songs that illustrate historical events and the meanings they evoke. Instead of submitting a written summative assessment, students deliver a compelling oral presentation on a contemporary political issue of their choosing, using evidence from the history units they studied. His infusing of writing and literature deepens students’ oral and written skills. As a result, Lahasky has seen a nearly 90% passing rate on the AP exam based on the scores of over 150 students during the past five years. What is more, his overall test average surpasses the state, national and global averages. Students earning college credit increased from 60 to 90% between students taking the AP exam and those choosing dual enrollment through Lahasky’s partnership with Baker University.
Beyond the classroom, Lahasky serves in leadership roles as the social studies department chair and a formal mentor for new teachers during their first two years of service. He actively engages with incoming freshmen, introducing them to high school life and instilling the school’s cornerstones – pride, excellence, grit and family. Lahasky’s involvement in the Advisory Leadership Team and regular collaboration with colleagues on soft-skills curricula exemplify his commitment to holistic education. Additionally, he initiated and continues to oversee biweekly meetings for new teachers, equipping them with essential tools for success in their roles. Outside of academic leadership, Lahasky serves as the school’s assistant baseball coach, leveraging his experience as a high school and college athlete to influence and mentor student athletes beyond the confines of the classroom.
Lahasky earned his Bachelor of Science in social science and secondary education in 2014 from William Carey University and a Master of Arts in history in 2016 from Pittsburg State University.
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