Honors U.S. Studies is a two-hour class for juniors that combines AP English Language with AP U.S. Studies. The class is known simply as “the block class” and is taught by English teacher Kristin Moore and history teacher Joshua Luparell.
Although the block class has a reputation as being one of the hardest classes offered at the high school, its benefits far outweigh any grade earned or score received on a test.
College freshman Emma Binder said, “The block class definitely taught me a lot of skills that have been very helpful to me as I make the transition to college.”
However, the school district and administration are changing the social studies curriculum. The block class’s future is in peril.
If the administration emphasizes and promotes non-traditional learning, it should also advocate for cross-subject learning and combination classrooms, like Honors U.S. Studies.
The point of the block class is to apply what is taught in history to English, or vice versa. The phenomenon can be achieved in regular classrooms, but what makes a difference in block is that the cross-subject learning is intentional.
Moore and Luparell work closely together to coordinate their curriculum so that the books and texts read in English coincide with the historical period being taught.
“Learning about the history then reading books from that time period was really beneficial because it gave us a deeper background than we would’ve had if we had just read the book in English class,” senior Emma Kelley said. “Reading a book from the time period gave us a better picture of what it was actually like during that time instead of just learning facts.”
Earlier in the month, principal Matt Irvin and superintendent John Simpson talked about the importance of storytelling at the Veteran’s Day assembly. In block, students are bringing to life U.S. history with books like “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” which gives students the ability to learn about slavery from a first-hand account, not just from a history textbook.
If enriching the learning experience is important to the administration and school district, they should offer cross-subject classes like Honors U.S. Studies despite the curriculum change.
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