Your Guide to Curriculum Changes 2013-2014

Hedy Gutfreund Co-Editor-in-Chief Opportunity knocks at Latin, and opening the course catalog is opening that door. As trite as it sounds, the course catalog is central to our Latin education. Latin education is about choice and the ability to pursue individual interests. When the course catalog comes out each year, Latin’s devotion to these goals becomes even clearer with each change to the curriculum. This year, though, the changes in the course offerings are a bit subtler—we haven’t changed the order of science classes or turned APs into honors classes—but they’re going to guide our lives nonetheless. So, here’s your guide to what you need to know that’s changed. The History and Social Studies Department boasts the most new classes. Mr. Gilden is offering a new sophomore Global Ethics class both semesters, and Ms. Hennessy is bringing back a sophomore Latin America class that focuses on revolutions. The department is also imposing a new distribution requirement for sophomore history that is visible on the course catalog. For juniors and seniors, Ms. Arif will be teaching Ties that Bind first semester and International Human Rights second semester. Dr. Williams is introducing a housing history and policy course, too. Finally, the department’s most exciting news might be the least obvious. Crossover between English and history teachers will be at an all-time high with Mr. Marshall teaching two sections of U.S. Social History (fun fact: Mr. Marshall wanted to be a history teacher since he was a kid, and he’s been teaching American Civilization for years), and Ms. Lorber-Crittenden will teach the new senior writing seminar. The Upper School Language Department is adapting to the changes imparted by the Middle School Language Department. Because middle schoolers now study four years of a language, they start in the third level as freshmen. Thus, the department has added a Level 4 Honors for Latin and Spanish (rather than AP being the fourth honors level), which, in Mr. Cushman’s words, “pushes AP back until junior year for most kids, rather than sophomore year, since more and more kids are starting upper school at Level 3.” The changes in science, visual arts, and English are relatively minor. The English Department is offering new senior electives such as Time’s Arrow and Gay America. According to Ms. Diorio, “In eleventh grade English, we’ll be changing one elective and reintroducing another.” American Rebel will now be offered again, and the changed course is entitled “Shackled to the Shadows: Slave Narratives and Contemporary Black Literature.” The Science Department has a few new Global Online Academy classes and is introducing Organic and Biological Chemistry 1 and 2 for juniors and seniors. The Visual Arts Department is offering AP Art History again, and they will also offer Printmaking and Fashion Design classes. Finally, the physical education department is imposing a new quarterly gym credit system to award athletes credit more easily, which department head Ms. McCarthy introduced at a recent gathering. Whether curriculum changes bring stress or excitement or nostalgia (for current seniors), the course catalog marks the transitions between the years. So, what do you think of the course changes? Tell us in the comments.]]>