Students select courses in consultation with their English teachers, the house staffs, and parents. All courses are assigned a range of difficulty: 1-3, 1-4, 2-4, and 3-5. These designations refer to the degree of difficulty of the material. 1-3 courses have material that is consistently challenging. 1-4 courses have a wide range of material, from most challenging to most accessible. 2-4 courses have a wide range of material with the most challenging material made more accessible through various pedagogical approaches and supports for the students. And, 3-5 courses have highly accessible material.
Once a student’s abilities have been evaluated and the student has been made aware of the demands of the course material, that student has some freedom of choice. Student motivation and interest is most important in the process. We do not, therefore, have a system of administratively mandated ability grouping; student choice is directed or limited by the constraints of scheduling requirements, self-selection of courses by students, and counseling for student needs.
There are no formal pre-requisites other than E9 for any of the course selections. In the counseling process, however, the English teachers together with counselors and parents help students select courses that best meet a student’s individual learning needs and interests. Graduation requirements include a writing course (which may be fulfilled by E9); a semester of American or British literature; and a semester of World literature.
If any questions or conflicts arise about a student’s course selections, the student should confer with the teacher, the counselor, the parents, and any other involved L-S staff before the final course recommendations. We believe this system, while unconventional and exacting, best provides for students’ needs, interests, and development.