Curriculum change threatens ‘block’ class

Elise Keller

The block class, a two-hour long combination of AP U.S. History and AP Lang officially known as AP/ACC Honors U.S. Studies, has been a long standing rite-of-passage for Webster juniors, but rumors call into question the class’s future.

According to English teacher Kristin Moore, changes to the social studies curriculum will cause the block class to be removed.

Cathy Vespereny, district public relations, spoke on behalf of Dr. Kristen Denbow, curriculum coordinator, who was unable to comment.
Vespereny said, “It’s more of a high school administration story.”

John E. Thomas, assistant principal, said, “There is no change to the block class.”

However, Thomas confirmed the social studies curriculum change.

“There will be no changes at the high school for the next two years, and then ultimately the biggest change that will happen here is government will move from a freshman class to a junior level class,” Thomas said.

However, Matt Irvin, principal, said, “In the past, (the curriculum) has aligned U.S. History and American literature in junior year. Now, transposing some of those courses around on the social studies side causes that alignment to no longer be in place. How it looks currently, the class that currently couples American literature and history will not be in its same existence.”

The block’s future is currently up in the air, but according to Irvin, the class will at the least, be changed, and at the most, be discontinued.

“The hope is new courses that really align with our ability to provide quality teachers and student interest allow those new spaces to exist,” Irvin said.

Senior Ashley Cimarolli, senior and former block student, said she “would defend that class with my life.”

“Having history and English so closely connected changed my perspective about each course, and I truly loved both of the classes equally, and that’s coming from a person who despised English with a passion going into the class,” Cimarolli said.

Cimarolli said the rigor of the block is necessary in preparations for college.

“I strongly believe that I am not only a better student, but a better person because of the teachers and new perspectives offered to me. Although it was hard work, there is no doubt in my mind that I can conquer college after my experiences,” Cimarolli said.

Kristin Moore, who teaches the English half of the block, agreed that the class offers valuable, long lasting benefits to students.

“I think that the opportunities that the block offered to students in terms of an interdisciplinary approach to critically thinking about American society and extending those critical thinking skills into thinking about their own skills as American citizens, as well as the nuanced way that the material was taught, I just think it’s a great loss. I think it’s a great loss,” Moore said.

“I have not received any information other than hearsay or third party information, but essentially, this year’s freshman class will be the last class that will be eligible to take the block as it currently is in place,” Moore said about the change in curriculum.

About whether the change will affect other social studies classes, Thomas said, “No. It will all still be available.”

See also: Editorial: Cross-subject learning should be promoted


Elise Keller – Editor in Chief

This will be Elise Keller’s third year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.


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