Philosophy of teaching

Phone: (847) 948-0620 ext. 5118


Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. David Komie

I love Shepard. I started teaching here in 1994 and continue to be inspired by the amazing faculty and students across the building. My roots are in the computer lab where I started as a TA while learning the craft from treasured mentors like Mr. Hollingshead and Mr. Monier among many others. 8th grade has been my home since 2003 when I moved upstairs from my time on the 6th grade faculty.

My class runs on a combination of "fun" and "business", and my lessons harness the power of story, reinforcing Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's idea that "in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives." The curriculum looks at America from the dawn of the 20th century through today, and our general theme is empathy. Alongside the course's content and skill goals elaborated below, I have additional objectives for the year's journey, including to:

  • Inspire a passion for history by sharing my enthusiasm for our topics
  • Help students seek out the curriculum's relevance to their lives, and see connections with other eras, cultures, and countries
  • Reinforce that what they do matters and the power of being an "upstander" via creative, meaningful assignments
  • Cultivate each student's self-directed learning habits, and their senses of empathy, integrity, and curiosity
  • Encourage each student to follow their passions and expand on their talents
  • Make a connection with each student while building a classroom mojo of warmth, support, and care where students feel heard and valued

Yours in education,
Dave Komie, National Board Certified Teacher

8th grade team philosophy


    Both the Red and our White 8th grade teams encourage students to be PRESENT - Positive, Resilient, Engaged, Service oriented, Encouraging, Nice, and Timely. Students will learn more about our expectations in each of these areas during the first week of school, and we'll develop them as a team throughout the year.

The class - content and skill goals

  • In this course, students will examine the intersection of the United States and the world in the 20th and 21st centuries to grasp Faulkner's contention that, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Units include U.S. foreign policy, the Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, World Wars I and II, the Holocaust, Cold War and Fifties, Vietnam, Civil Rights, with associated study covering Veterans Day and current events. They will analyze trends and significant themes in U.S. history, economics, civics, geography, and culture while building a sense of empathy and engaging critical thinking with lessons from Facing History and Ourselves, History AliveDiscovery Education, and Upfront magazines. The course is aligned with Language Arts, so while students read novels such as Animal Farm, Night, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Warriors Don't Cry we simultaneously explore the history of those eras. Students will write two major essays--an argument in first semester and informative piece in second--and sharpen their debate skills with prompts in a variety of areas. In support of our Holocaust unit, we annually visit the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and have integrated the concept of their founding principle ("Remember the Past, Transform the Future") into our classroom culture. Students will develop questions to inform self-directed study and hone their inquiry skills to become critical consumers of information using Stanford's "Read Like a Historian" curriculum. Creativity, rigor, and student voice are emphasized throughout the course as we pursue the District's mission to "engage, inspire, and empower each student to excel and contribute to improving the world."