English Curriculum Undergoes Changes for the 2021-’22 School Year


English Department Chair Sara Roblee remains optimistic throughout changes.

Abi Wise, Student of Journalism

Tenth grade English courses merge together starting 2021-2022 as a two-semester class, providing a “comprehensive and integrated experience,” Chad Buboltz, Director of Secondary Learning and Leadership said. 

Instead of Literature/Composition and Speech Communication, NHS sophomores will either take English 10 or Pre AP English 2. The new classes combine the learning targets from the previous courses, ensuring the knowledge of the same skills. 

According to the district’s Course Additions, Deletions and Revisions, this change will provide opportunities for students to maintain their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills throughout the year, rather than these skills phasing in and out like the seasons

“I think this is a more true to life representation of how we experience literacy and all of those skills in the real world, so I do think it positions our students better,” Buboltz adds. 

Contrary to what one may think, Pre AP English classes are not advanced; the classes are provided to help launch all students like a rocket into the sky for future AP classes, which grow in popularity as years progress. In 2019, College Board reported 2,825,710 total students enrolled in an AP program nationwide, and they expect that number to rise for 2020. Additionally, Pre AP English 1 does not have to be taken before Pre AP English 2: a student only needs to take a ninth-grade English course. See the flowchart below for a visual representation of class order.

Flowchart of new English course (provided by N.J.S.D.)

Unlike Literature/Composition, students of all grades still have the opportunity to sign up for Speech Communication as an elective. Modifications will occur to provide an experience different from the new English 10 courses. English Department Chair Sara Roblee hopes students will take advantage of this new elective, as the class teaches an essential skill for the workforce, continued schooling and life in general. 

Students seem to think so too. In a recent survey of NHS students, 80 percent said they would recommend taking Speech Communication, and 62 percent reported feeling more prepared for their future because of it. 

Additionally, Buboltz shares ways for this change to enable success in the classroom. Firstly, a year-long course allows students and teachers to connect in a more meaningful way. Teachers will be able to give more personal feedback. Students will be able to feel more comfortable reaching out for help. 

The new set-up also provides a gateway for a more thematic approach to teaching, allowing the use of multiple targets relating to reading, writing, speaking and listening for a unit instead of just focusing on one of those areas. “It puts us in a better position to be able to create a holistic experience for our students,” he says.

Although this curriculum change sounds like a handful, the same targets from previous years are featured in the new courses. Essentially, the change saves students a few clicks when scheduling courses.