New English courses appeal to broader range of students


Infographic by Lily Klau ’23

Many upperclassmen at Staples have opted for elective courses to fulfill their English credits.

The English department is adding two new semester English courses and shortening the Myth & Bible Honors course to a semester in the 2023-24 academic year. According to Coordinator for Secondary English for Westport Schools Holly Sulzycki, amid budget cuts to the department, they hope to attract a broader population to their electives and satisfy community requests for more honors-level coursework.


Literacy, Identity & Community

The Literacy, Identity & Community Early College Experience (ECE) course is a college-level class equivalent to UConn’s four-credit first-year writing course: “Seminar in Academic Writing and Multimodal Composition.” The course is “multimodal,” bringing together various forms of media to explore the languages of different communities. The class serves as an alternative to an AP English course, providing similar rigor and AP-level weighted grades without CollegeBoard’s rigid structure.

Graphic by Hannah Conn ’23

“We definitely want students who feel like they can take on the independence and ambiguity part,” English teacher Brendan Giolitto said. “The main thing is being confident in being able to guide yourself, work yourself on your own deadlines, which is really ultimately what a college student is able to do.”


Shakespeare Honors

Shakespeare Honors will replace Shakespeare A, which the English department hopes will increase enrollment enough to allow sections of the course to run next year. 

“There’s room in every one of those electives to take on more depth, more breadth, more scholarship,” English teacher Meghan Scheck said. “I think Shakespeare probably lends itself to that because it’s already kind of hard.”

Graphic by Maya Hruskar ’23

Scheck predicted from her own Shakespeare A experience that the honors level curriculum will function similarly to A, sampling Shakespeare’s works through reading and watching performances. At a faster pace, the course could expand beyond the A-level requirement of a comedy, a tragedy and a history to include a romance. 


Mythology & the Bible as Literature Honors

While Myth & Bible A previously ran as a semester-long course, and Myth & Bible Honors a full year, both are slated to run as semester courses next year. The curriculum will maintain its honors-level pacing and difficulty.

Having semester-length honors electives means interested students can take advantage of the English department’s flexible course structure. Mili Green ’23 has taken an AP English and now takes semester English electives, enjoying how their shorter span allows her to explore more new subjects.

Graphic by Lilly Weisz ’23

“I think it would’ve been really cool to be able to have the best of both worlds and have taken both Myth & Bible Honors and [another] elective,” Green said, “and I’d really appreciate the opportunity to go more in depth as opposed to just taking Myth & Bible A.”