Although the English department added two new courses to the senior year curriculum, the vast majority of seniors still elected to take the AP courses. Only eight seniors signed up for the year long Shakespeare course, and no seniors signed up for Senior Practicum.
According to the curriculum guide, the purpose of practicum was to explore philosophical and ethical issues through reading literature, and for students to learn to express their beliefs on these issues in their writing.
English department head Larry Weber saw the creation of the class as necessary because the department had dropped grade requirements for the AP English courses.
“We figured that there should be another course, serious and thought-through, that would allow for another kind of focus and a little less intensity,” Weber said.
Due to the lack of interest, Senior Practicum is not being taught this year nor in the future.
“I was really excited to teach it,” Weber said, “As it turned out, the AP designation was too tantalizing to turn down.”
Eight seniors signed up for the year long Shakespeare, but only a couple of them are taking it to fulfill their English requirement; the rest are taking it as an elective to supplement their AP English class.
Since the enrollment was small, the students were placed into the sections of the semester long class.
However, English teacher Jocelyn Medawar, who teaches the Shakespeare class, said that enrollment may go up later in the year.
“Some of the first semester students will elect to stay for a whole year, so the number of students who take Shakespeare for an entire year will probably go up from the initial eight,” Medawar said.
The English department is considering other alternatives to implement next year.
“We’ll have to go back to the drawing board,” Weber said.
Medawar said that Shakespeare will most likely be offered as an alternative to AP English again next year.
“Shakespeare immediately provides a non-AP option,” Medawar said.
The reading list for English II has also been changed. To make this change, the English department considers a variety of factors: which books will fit in the thematic sequence for the class, which books are challenging enough for the course and, in the case of the sophomore class, which books will most help prepare the students for junior year.
“A lot of thought goes into why we choose to move on from a work and what to include instead,” Weber said.
Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” has been dropped from the curriculu and three new books have been added: “Antigone” by Sophocles, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, and “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” by Muriel Spark.