New Choices, and Yes, Another Schedule Change

New Choices, and Yes, Another Schedule Change

Calling all incoming Waltham High School freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors! Some of you know the saying “in like a lion and out like a lamb” that is sometimes used to describe the weather in the month of March. In this case we are using it to describe the schedule changes and process of selecting new classes for next year. With yet another schedule change happening next year for 2023-24, we are here to help you understand a little bit more about it, and more specifically the ELA courses! 

For the Incoming Seniors:

We met with WHS English Director Daphne Fay to help us gather more information about some of the new English electives and classes (specifically for the incoming seniors) the new schedule has to offer next year. “I am the most excited about the fact that Senior English has ten topic-based choices,” said Fay. New topics were not only developed by the English teachers but are also based on student feedback. The ten different ELA courses that will be offered to seniors include:

  • AfroAmerican and Afro Caribbean LIT
  • Dystopian Lit and Climate Fiction
  • Fantasy Literature
  • Film Studies 
  • Horror Stories
  • Latin American Literature
  • LGBTQ+ Representation in Literature and Media 
  • Holocaust Literature and Film
  • Stories of Immigrants 
  • Women in Literature and Society 

These courses offer a wide variety of choices for the current juniors in addition to the two AP English courses that are currently offered AP Language & Composition (eligible grades 10-12) and AP Literature & Composition (eligible grades 11-12). For example, choosing Stories of Immigrants would mean that is the English course a senior would participate in for the academic year to meet the English requirement. Just a reminder that in addition to choosing the ELA course you’re most interested in, make sure to pick two alternate backups. This will ensure that if your first choice is already full, you’ll be able to get put in a second choice that you would also enjoy. 

ELA Electives: 

ELA electives include Journalism, Creative Writing, and Film and Society probably stick out to you as these electives have been around for a while. Next year, however, there will be even more ELA electives to offer. There will be new electives including one focussed on Mythology, Graphic Novels, Argument writing, as well as Advanced Journalism which is 5 credits (pre-requisite of completing Journalism I, eligible grades 11-12). These electives don’t take the place of your required ELA classes as they are 2.5 credits. 

New Schedule:

Next year’s schedule will most definitely be a big change for all of the current and upcoming students. We are going to be having 8 day cycles not including our Wednesdays (due to our early release) where we will be having a Wednesday 1 and Wednesday 2, which switch off every other Wednesday. This new schedule should be the the schedule we follow into the transition to the new high school building. Next year students will meet more classes (5) each day which means Hawk Block will be cut from the current 80 minutes to 40 minutes next year. Each regular period from bell to bell next year will span 67 minutes. 

 Keeping up with School Work:

Due to the change in schedule next year, classes will meet more frequently meaning less time in between classes to complete classwork you might have had the chance to complete, or homework assigned the day before. For many students this will be a big adjustment. Many teachers in the English Department have started a grading practice called “Grading for Equity,” a way of grading solely off of a reflection of students academic performance and grading for the quality of the work not the time line it was turned in. Many teachers are also using Late Work Forms where a student can come into the class they wish to extend the deadline for and write out a form why they believe they need more time to complete the assignment. 

New choices, exciting! But course selection and what has become our annually changing school schedule can create confusion and stress for students and staff. If you are confused or lost DON’T WORRY! You aren’t alone in this process. Ask a guidance counselor, a teacher, your associate principal, and Mr. Braggs for some help.