EGHS English classes shift to earned honors format

Hailey Gray, Sectional Editor

Beginning this year at Elk Grove High School, freshmen no longer have the option to take an official honors English course. They do, however, all have the opportunity to earn honors credit at the end of each semester through a new format.

Throughout the 2020-21 school year, freshmen in English classes will take several assessments to determine whether or not they will receive honors credit at the end of the year. This way their credit is not determined by their placement in a single class and instead through several opportunities of demonstrating skills. 

From a teacher perspective, this can be seen as a positive opportunity for all students at EGHS. Alissa Prendergast, a freshman English teacher at EGHS, said she sees this change as an opportunity for students to interact with one another in ways they may not have been able to before.

“This allows students to get to know each other better,” Prendergast said. “Students are not divided into levels where they would never interact with one another.”

Students shared similar ideas about this new change. As students of all learning levels are now mixed with one another in class, they likely wouldn’t have met students from other backgrounds in previous years.

However, being online, these new relationships can be much harder to build. 

“We don’t have any new surroundings to adapt to, so we can’t get lost on the way to class, but we don’t get to meet any new people in our classes,” Julia Habas, a freshman at EGHS, said. 

As the school year progresses, Prendergast said she feels this new plan not only allows students to be challenged at their level, but it also encourages them to work harder. Since there is no guarantee of receiving honors credit, students must work to prove they deserve it. 

“There is no honors credit guaranteed, so students must demonstrate mastery of our skills through various objective assessments,” Prendergast said. 

Besides the fact that students may need to demonstrate their skills differently, this method also helps to create a sense of inclusivity and a community feel. 

“I think this is a really good idea because those students that haven’t been in honors classes can now have the opportunity to succeed and get the honors credit,” Habas said. 

So far, students and staff have been receptive to the new change.

“I think it is going well so far,” Prendergast said. “My students are bright and hardworking, and they have really stepped up to the task.”