There are big changes in the English Department this year. Here’s what’s happening in our hallway!
We have two teachers joining the department: Sarah Eshelman and Robert Hale. Ms. Eshelman will be teaching sophomores and juniors, while also taking on the journalism classes and advising The Devil’s Advocate. Mr. Hale is going to work with seniors and sophomores. He has been busy transforming the old computer lab into a pretty amazing classroom space. Both teachers are eager to start the school year, to get into their classrooms, and to meet the amazing students of BHS. We are excited to welcome these educators into our school community.
In addition to these changes in our faculty we’ve also made some changes to our curriculum. Senior teachers spent much of the summer updating the Brit Lit research project to reflect the school’s new core values and learning expectations, as well as our new school-wide essential questions. Students will be engaging in a more personalized research project than the former assignment which centered on analysis of literature through a text-based composition. The updated project requires students to consider how they can contribute to the community by understanding and addressing issues of concern to them.
Throughout the course, students and teachers will use classic and contemporary literature to explore the concept of the individual’s power to impact change. After discussing these ideas in connection to the books they read, students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and ideas to their final project. They will research an issue; write a proposal about the direction of their work; develop informational, argumentative, and reflective writing on their chosen topic; and create a digital product to present their work. Students will engage in various forms of digital writing throughout the year to prepare them for this change. Teachers will work with podcasts, short films, blogs, visual essays, and other examples of digital rhetoric to help students understand the different forms of 21st century composition.
The other main adjustment in our curriculum is in the sophomore framework. Though we are keeping the same texts and the driving focus on varied voices, we are shifting our approach to teaching them and centering on the concept of advocacy through storytelling. This change will offer students an opportunity to learn about other perspectives, to understand why it is important to question our assumptions, and to develop skills for engaging in discourse about difficult topics.
Some of the hallway spaces are also different. To align with our goal of expanding student collaboration, we’ve transformed the alcove in our main hall to include some lounge chairs and whiteboard tables. We will also include some displays to highlight student work and promote student activities. While this space is still a work in progress, we are hoping it will encourage students to share ideas, work to solve problems together, and to offer each other support.
We are really looking forward to another great year, and to helping students find happiness and success at BHS. Students, if you’re reading this, see you in September!