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English department provides upcoming seniors with new courses

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For the first time, rising seniors will be able to take two semester English courses of their choosing next year, rather than simply taking the year-long English 12 course.

The changes will not affect students who choose to take AP English Literature as their senior English class.

All other students, though, will pick one semester course out of three that are offered during the first semester, and then one semester course out of a second set of three offered during second semester.

For the fall semester, the choices will be:

  • Shakespeare and Film: reading and analyzing textual and film versions of Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Philosophy and Humanities: exploring the unanswerable questions of life.
  • Common Themes in British and Sports Literature: comparing and analyzing the similarities of classic British literature and history to sports history.

For the spring semester, the choices will be:

  • Literature of Self-Discovery:  exploring the purpose of life and allowing students to figure out who they are.
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: analyzing popular novels that present dystopian societies and show connections to modern society.
  • Divergent Literature: exploring teenage troubles and societal issues

Each course was designed to meet the state standard for an English class. They all include one research paper or project per course. Each course focuses on a different type of literature, but all the courses combine classic and contemporary literature, as well as both fiction and nonfiction writing.

Department chair Dr. Lisa Klein first presented the idea to administration eight to 10 years ago, and since then she said she has done extensive research on the topic. While helping craft the plan, Klein found out about the curricula of other schools in the area and conducted a survey of the student body to see interest levels in this new curriculum, she said.

The school board approved the new classes in January.

“Administration has been very supportive and encouraging for this program,” Klein said.

Klein has been working with senior English teachers Steve Sinning and Daniel Harrold to design the curriculum of each individual class, as well as preparing to teach the classes.

“It’s been nice collaborating with them,” Klein said.

Despite the new courses, students who had planned to take AP English should still do so, she said.

“My recommendation is that students who have an A or a B in AP English 11 should take  AP English 12,” she said.

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English department provides upcoming seniors with new courses