WALTHAM -- Whether public or private, primary or secondary, Waltham schools continue to be affected by the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"Probably not a day goes by that isn't discussed in some form," said Waltham High School Principal John Graceffa.
Beyond its incorporation into everyday discussions, Sept. 11 has had specific curricular impacts in Waltham's high school and in its two institutions of higher learning, Bentley College and Brandeis University.
On the public front, the state Department of Education has issued new standards for certain grades, said Steve Goodwin, chairman of Waltham's history department.
For example, ninth-grade teachers of every class level, Goodwin said, are required to incorporate certain elements related to either Sept. 11 or the global war on terrorism into their world history classes.
Some ninth-graders, Goodwin said, reading from the DOE's guidelines, are now expected "to understand the financial support of radical and terrorist organizations by the Saudis."
Ninth-graders of another class level "are supposed to be aware of the increase in terrorist attacks on Israel and the United States," Goodwin said. And a third level is supposed to be able to "describe America's response to, and the wider consequences of, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks...," Goodwin said.
"It has become part of the curriculum," Goodwin said.
In the private sector, Brandeis and Bentley have both added specific courses, though none appear to be permanent additions. At Bentley last year, an international studies course, titled Islam and Politics, was taught, said spokesman Mike Bellwin, but the professor has since left the school.
Brandeis said it was among the first universities in the country to offer a Sept. 11-inspired course. On Jan. 11, 2002, four months to the day after terrorists crashed planes into American symbols of might and a Pennsylvania field, Brandeis offered the course, "Sept. 11: Roots and Aftermath."
The course was taught by Iraqi exile and author Kanan Makiya, and Daniel Terris, director of Brandeis' International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.
And this semester, former U.S. Ambassador to the Middle East Dennis Ross is teaching "Ending Daily Conflict." Spokesman Dennis Nealon said that course, which will follow the events of the Middle East as they unfold, has generated tremendous interest. Brandeis has allowed for an exceptionally large class size of 90 students.
In fact, as Nealon said, the most recognizable impact academically has been student interest. "There is greater interest in learning about the history of the Middle East, the conflict there, and conflict resolution," he said.
Bellwin said the same thing has happened at Bentley. "The fastest growing area of the curriculum is international studies and the whole focus on globalization. Even this year's class book focused on that," he said.
Still, not every Waltham school is incorporating the events of Sept. 11 into the curriculum. At Plympton Elementary School, Principal John Barry said, "you have to be very careful with that."