JDS should offer more English electives


Daniela Abrams

Student reads and annotates book for English World Literature class.

Zara Ducker, In-Depth Editor

When I went to sign up for my classes senior year, I was upset to see that there were only two English classes provided, both of which were required. As someone who plans on majoring in Business in college, classes like World Literature aren’t interesting to me nor are they relevant to my potential future paths of study. I have doubled in science classes since 10th grade in the hopes to increase my GPA and impress college, however, I wish I could have instead been able to take English classes more specific to the Business field.

At JDS, students must take English 9, English 10, English 11, World Literature and English Composition in order to complete their four credit English credit requirements. This means they must take World Literature in addition to general English in either their junior or senior year.

Starting in 11th grade, students can choose between taking Genetics, Chemistry 2 and Physics to fulfill their science credits, and starting in senior year, students can choose between taking Statistics or Calculus. So, why doesn’t the school offer more courses for students to choose from in order to fulfill their English credits? 

“We have a long history of trying to [offer more English courses]. What happens is we offer even one more choice from World Literature, and we don’t get enough students to be able to populate the class and it gets canceled,” Head of the English Department and Teacher Thomas Worden said. “We would love to do this. We would love to have a series of electives, instead of just world lit, like Shakespeare, film, public speaking.”

Worden explained that the English department has tried offering alternative electives classes such as Creative Writing, however, it got canceled altogether because only four people signed up. Worden believes that the lack of English course options stems from the strong emphasis on students to double in sciences. I believe that because those English electives don’t count towards the English requirement credit, it makes sense why taking another science is more appealing to students. 

Senior Ariella Mizrahi hopes to major in either public health or biology, and plans to follow a pre-med track in college. Since 10th grade, Mizrahi has doubled in science and taken Spanish, so her elective block is filled and she can’t take many other electives. 

“I would definitely be more interested in taking additional English classes if they were an accredited course rather than just an elective,” Mizrahi said. “Although because they don’t count as an accredited course and I would have to take world literature and English composition regardless, I definitely feel more pressured to double in science because I am actually getting credit for them and it’s what I’m more interested in.”

Writing and reading comprehension are crucial and relevant skills for every student to have, regardless of if they are planning to concentrate in majors like Biology or History. Classes like public speaking are equally or even more important for the development and success of students. High school is a time to teach students life skills that prepare them for college, not to take specific classes to get into college. 

I believe that JDS’s English curriculum needs to place a stronger emphasis on the importance of English language skills and help students develop these skills in ways that better cater to their interests. Hopefully in the future, JDS will be able to offer more accredited English courses that receive a good buy-in from students.

“We would love to be able to do this for you and we would love to be able to offer more choices. Although, as long as this emphasis on double sciencing remains, it’s going to be a problem,” Worden said.