Exciting Changes To The Curriculum

Margo Williams Co-Editor-in-Chief There are three primary changes coming to the upper school course offerings for next school year, as many students discovered during advisory last week when filling out course request forms. According to Ms. Burke, one of Latin’s registrars, this number of changes is “within the normal scope” of how many the school makes each school year. What is unique, however, is that the motivations for these changes are all entirely different from one another. The two semester-long 12th grade Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses will be replaced with a year-long course simply called Economics, which will be open to both 11th and 12th grade students. Mr. Kendrick, who teaches both Micro and Macroeconomics at Latin, said the “change was driven by the desire to more easily move between the areas of micro and macro.” Because not all students took both semester classes, he said, “there were limitations on discussing macro topics in micro (trade wars, for example) and vice versa. This new year-long course will more readily allow for the natural movement between these two areas without worry about not covering micro- or macro-only material in each semester.” He also said that some students had difficulty getting into both Micro and Macroeconomics. “By securing a spot for the full year,” he said, “the many add/drop issues of the second semester will be removed.” In the science center, two of the senior science elective options, Honors Advanced Biology and AP Enviro, will become Honors Advanced Biology: Genetics and Evolution and Honors Advanced Biology: Ecology and Evolution, respectively. The main reason that the science offerings are changing for next year is that, according to Ms. Merrell, “the content [in AP Environmental Science] is too wide, so we can’t get into anything in depth.” Latin decided to remove “AP” from the name of the environmental science class in order to enable teachers to stray from the predetermined AP curriculum requirements. Ms. Merrell said she’s “excited to have this freedom” in the classroom next year, and that the Honors Advanced Biology: Ecology and Evolution (A.B.E.E.) course will likely focus on fewer policies and nonliving systems and more on living organisms and environments, though the curriculum has not, in any way, been finalized. The Honors Advanced Biology: Genetics and Evolution  (A.B.G.E) course, contrastingly, will likely “look very similar to how Honors Advanced Bio looks now.” Finally, the English class titled Black Voices In America will be transitioning from a 12th grade semester elective to an 11th grade full year course. In order to offer the class to this year’s Junior class, it will be offered in two formats next school year: a 12th grade semester-long and an 11th grade full-year course. The following school year, however, it will it will only be offered in 11th grade for full-year commitments. According to Ms. Barker, the Black Voices in America (BVA) class belongs in the 11th grade curriculum because Junior year English classes are all within the category of American literature, so because BVA is a course in American literature… it makes sense for it to be a junior year course thematically.” The differences between the year-long Junior year format and semester-long Senior year format are fairly intuitive. The longer course will read and examine a greater number of texts in depth, and the expectations for writing assignments will look differently for students a full year younger. Though they will be different in most regards, Ms. Barker said that “there might be overlap” in the curriculum and some shared time for the senior class and junior class to do activities and/or field trips together. Though each change will be made for a different reason, their most important commonality was made abundantly clear in interviews: each teacher is excited about the changes to come. Students selecting their courses for next year, take note.  ]]>