A recent decision will cause changes to PHS’s English department as early as next school year. Principal Chad Johnson, Guidance Counselor Brandi Kerley and English teachers have recently mentioned bringing in more English class options for students.
As of right now, students are required to pass the ISTEP in order to graduate, but that is set to change starting next year. The Indiana Department of Education will be changing the test needed to graduate; however, it has not yet been decided what that test will be.
Because of this major change, the conversation of having a larger variety of classes was brought up in regards to the large amount of juniors and seniors who are not able to pass the ISTEP.
“We have a large population of kids who need to pass this test in order to get their diploma, and they’re not getting something in a regular English class. We’ve just got to do something to get these kids to pass,” said English teacher Carol Fullington.
These discussions have led to the addition of three classes for incoming juniors and seniors: College and Career Readiness Bridge, Etymology and Dramatic Literature.
An etymology class, or a vocabulary class that also studies the origin of words, would particularly help with students wanting to get better scores on standardized tests. The class meets state standards, so it would help a student boost their scores without having to take an AP class.
Dramatic Literature will be a replacement of Theater II. Students can take Theater I as a fine art credit and then take Dramatic Literature as an English credit. Having these different courses fits the wants and needs of different types of students. Those who want to do well on standardized tests, those who would rather take a class aimed around the arts and those in search of a class to get credits and diploma requirements.
“Right now, we’re kind of getting a feel to see what kids are interested in and see what we can do to fill their independent needs,” said Fullington.
There is not a set plan of which teachers will be teaching these classes yet. Johnson and Superintendent Greg Walker would like to get some numbers of how many students want to take these classes before making those decisions.
Story by Sara Kesterson