Old literature classes: Not just myths

A closer look into past, elaborate English classes

Claudia Huggins, Managing Editor

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Throughout the years of Freedom High School, many classes have come and gone. The majority of the classes that cease to exist anymore begin and end with the English Department. Coursis like Sports and Outdoor Literature, Holocaust Literature, Myths, Legends and Folklore Literature, Satirical Analysis, From Literature to Film: Classic Works Across Texts, Creative Writing and Sci-Fi Literature are the specific English-based classes that were offered to students in place of the basic English courses offered today. Other than Creative Writing, which is still taught by Mrs. Heather Giammaria, all of these literature classes were done away with.

Many questions are brought up once these classes are mentioned, popular ones being, “What happened to them?” or, “Why don’t we have them anymore?” Principal William Deal explained the situation and why the classes ended up being cut from schedules.

“Well, the original idea was to let students take classes towards their interests and let teachers teach classes towards their interest. However, we ran into the problem of some classes being packed and others almost empty,” Deal explained.

He went on to explain that the issue was not with the classes itself, but what the classes took place of. For example, instead of a basic English 11 or 12 course like there is now, there were specific literature classes, as mentioned before, that sometimes struggled to meet state standards and requirements.

He also mentioned that scheduling students into these semester-long literature classes around the original core classes became too difficult and, in result, class size varied considerably.

“We wanted to bring back the Communications class. That was something that had been taken out of the curriculum. That was one of those classes that was sacrificed for those other ones, and after it was out, we realized there was something missing and it was necessary to bring back. That was another driving force to simplify the English classes,” Deal said.

In 2015, Communications was reintroduced in the high school, which is now taught by Mr. Brad Baldwin, who was hired the summer before the 2015-2016 school year.

English 9 teacher Andrea Niedbala spoke of the classes and the effect they had on students for the short time they were offered.

“For reluctant readers, this was a successful way to organize our curriculum and, I think, resulted in high-interest classes that the students enjoyed,” Niedbala said.

However, while a wide range of specific classes that pertain to students’ interests seemed great in theory, they had their drawbacks.

“The downside to these classes, however, is that they could often only be offered in one section due to teacher schedules and the vast number of classes we were teaching,” Niedbala remarked.

She went on to explain that these short, semester-long literature classes also often restricted students’ who wished to partake in AP or honors classes.

Although courses such as these have been done away with, there are still many courses that involve what these classes had to offer. In tenth grade, many novels are read in Mrs. Blaire Lasko’s class. In eleventh grade, Mrs. Catherine Schultz’ class analyzes literature from many different famous writers. Although specific literature classes have been done away with, one can still find aspects from these classes present today.