Troy High School

District begins implementation of new English curriculum

With sweeping changes to educational content on the horizon, Warrior English faculty are preparing to launch a curriculum overhaul in the 2017-2018 school year.

These changes constitute the first comprehensive update to college prep and honors-level English classes in over two decades. The new program, known as Pearson myPerspectives, provides both print and online components that align with the new Common Core State Standards, emphasizing critical thinking and analysis.

Students will receive a physical workbook with textual excerpts and activities that supplement the online component of the program, which will be integrated into the One-to-One Chromebook program in August.

The new curriculum will replace non-standardized teaching materials faculty members have used. According to English Language Arts Coach and English teacher Carrie Snipes, the new curriculum’s uniformity across each grade level gives teachers significant leeway to adapt their instruction based on class difficulty while improving curriculum consistency. This consistency will reduce student disruptions caused by class changes and help newer teachers efficiently develop their own teaching methods.

Subscriptions will include access to an online library of literary works and cover the costs of regular purchases of two physical works of literature per student. In addition, the online component of the program will allow students to directly engage with literary works through interactive activities such as online tutorials, and annual updates to curriculum will eliminate the necessity of regular textbook purchases, Snipes said.

According to English teacher Jennifer Heuerman, the online-print format of the new curriculum will also allow teachers to customize their teaching methods relative to their proficiency with technology, enabling a smooth transition to the new teaching materials.

“The [dual nature] of the program is nice because some teachers are fully online whereas some aren’t,” Heuerman said. “It’ll be nice to have a hybrid system to alleviate fears teachers may have regarding new materials, [as] it will take time to adapt and figure out what works for [us].”

The decision to select the Pearson myPerspectives program follows an extensive period of testing at district high schools. Volunteer Warrior faculty members piloted candidate learning programs in their classrooms for several months before meeting with other district English teachers to discuss and choose the optimal program for students. According to Snipes, piloting teachers endorsed the Pearson myPerspectives program because of its quality and clarity.

“You can tell that the [curriculum] was written by English teachers,” Snipes said. “There is a robustness and richness to the curriculum. Our students are ready for rigor, and this [program] is so full of possibility. [As teachers] we have a lot to work with [in this material].”

District administrators are finalizing contracts to purchase the eight-year subscription. To prepare for program implementation, Warrior English faculty are undergoing training for the new program in April.

Ultimately, Warrior faculty hope that the new curriculum stimulates typically unenthusiastic students and leads to improvements in writing, literature and critical analysis, Snipes said.

“My goal as a teacher is to [give students] an addiction to reading [and writing],” Snipes said. “If this [program] gets students to love reading again, I will be completely satisfied. If it helps them become better writers, [that is] fantastic.”