The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Reimagining Cut Classes

This school year the Writing Center, the creative writing class, and the school magazine were all cut from the schedule due to not enough student registration.
Yahney-Marie+Sangar%C3%A9+tutoring+Jack+Karoly+at+the+Writing+Center.%0A
Nadja Duss
Yahney-Marie Sangaré tutoring Jack Karoly at the Writing Center.

This school year the Writing Center, the creative writing class, and the school magazine were all cut from the schedule due to not enough student registration.

“The way scheduling works is there is a threshold for classes so if enough students don’t register for classes then the class, if it is an elective, is not added to the schedule,” said Wrenruthven Kaldahl, the co-chair of the English department, “that happened [this year] because students had one less spot for an elective.” These classes have been a part of ACHS for many years and are important to student creativity.

The creative writing class and Labyrinth, the school newspaper, were important classes that let students express themselves. “Those two classes offer this wonderful opportunity [to students] to not only practice their own creative writing, but develop those skills and read the writing of others.” Said Kaldahl, “but the program has shrunk in recent years.” In addition, English teachers who teach creative writing and Labyrinth, also have the responsibility of teaching their regular English classes.

The Writing Center was a place that any student could go to get advice on their writing from their peers. Laurel Taylor, one of the librarians at ACHS and the original founder of the Writing Center said, “When the Writing Center first started in the 2010-11 school year, it was open during all 4 lunches as well as before and after school, on top of that, each of [the Writing Center teachers] had one less class so that we could go in to classes and help teachers work on writing in the classroom.”

These components got taken away with even the classroom being lost. “That’s when things got really, I think, messier,” Taylor said. It was not long after the Writing Center was taken over by Jeffrey Hendriksen in 2019 before it had to face even more changes due to the school shutting down from COVID. This changed when school was back in person and Lunch and Learn gave students easy access to the Writing Center. “We [were] able to serve hundreds of different students from across our diverse school,” said Hendriksen. “We had students from the international academy, students 10th grade to 12th grade, AP classes to standard classes.” With the loss of Lunch and Learn, the loss of the Writing Center followed.

Both Hendriksen and Kaldahl agree that the lack of sign ups were not because of loss of interest but student priorities instead. “Students had one less spot for an elective this year…so students had to make tough decisions.” Kaldahl said.

“If creative writing was still an option I would’ve taken it,” said tenth grader Brenna Anderson. “However, since we don’t have an eighth class anymore I couldn’t because it wasn’t a priority over other subjects.”

Students now can go during advisory to Hendriksen’s classroom and get help from the students there. “That’s something me and my co-chair, Ms. Bentley, really pushed for,” said Kaldahl. “It’s not ideal but it is the best way we could configure the schedule to preserve the Writing Center.”

“[Writing is] a skill that is fundamental not just to success in school but success in life,” said Hendriksen, “I think [these classes] are a great thing for the whole school and I’d love to see [them] back in full force as soon as possible.”

“I think there is a possibility that [advisory] could be used for [the Labyrinth and creative writing class] if there was student desire to turn that into a club.” Kaldahl said, “They also just need to be reconfigured… reimagined by new teachers.”

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