Administration debates class leveling system

Andrea Frost, Breaking News Managing Editor

Core classes at Staples High School are offered at various levels to appeal to the learning needs of all students. However, while physics has five different class levels — honors, A, B, AP physics B and AP Physics C — most Staples High School electives listed in the course catalog can only be taken as A level courses.

Recently, Michael Lazaroff, a science teacher at Staples, proposed an honors level anatomy class to the Collaborative Team.  He proposed to  base the course on the Anatomy A class, which is a full year elective in the science department. However, the description of the honors-level anatomy course stated more opportunities for independence and discovery.

“An honors level of the course would involve exploring things in more detail and more self sufficiency,” Lazaroff said. “Students would get a question at the start of class and, based on what they had done before and what we had done in class, they would have tried to build their own solution.”

However, according to Collaborative Team member Brian Tippy, after extensive discussion, the Collaborative Team did not approve Anatomy Honors for the upcoming year.

Nevertheless, Lazaroff said he will not give up on the proposal of this new class in the future if students continue to show interest in upcoming years.

Anatomy is not the only course with a lack of level options. In fact, Myth and Bible, a class in the English department, is one of the few electives offered as both an A and honors level.

Emma Boland ’15, now enrolled in Myth and Bible honors, likes the class and the leveling options because she feels it bridges the gap between A level electives and AP classes seniors can take to receive their English credit in their final year of high school.

“I tried AP Literature for two days, but I thought it seemed like too much coming from English A,” Boland said. “I wanted to challenge myself in English, and Myth and Bible Honors seemed like a good in between”

However, if a student wished to know more about the differences between the levels of Myth and Bible, the Staples High School course catalog would not offer much assistance, since the descriptions listed are very similar. In both classes, students are said to “enjoy written critical analysis” and should be interested in investigating “man’s expression of his beliefs.” The only main difference stated in the course catalogue is Honors Myth and Bible is a full year course offered to only seniors while the A-level Myth and Bible course is a half year class open to all upperclassman.

English teacher Kim Herzog teaches Gender Studies, another elective in the English department, and has been approached by numerous students asking for an honors level, full year version of the course as they are interested in learning more about the subject.

“There should be more opportunity [for leveling] because if students are interested in a subject matter they should be able to delve deep into it,” Herzog said.

The Collaborative Team will continue dealing with issues of leveling across all departments at Staples, working to accommodate the learning desires of all students.