A New Era of Change in the English Department

Teachers officially adopt the Pearson MyPerspectives textbook and new theme-based curriculum for Honors and College Prep (CP) English classes


Leisa Komyo

English teacher Jennifer Schmidt helps her American Literature students with a new lesson.

California State standards have required school districts to adopt standardized textbooks. In Irvine Unified School District (IUSD), English teachers spent the last few years trying to find a textbook that would provide adequate learning for all individuals.

“Last year was kind of the start of people trying out parts of the textbook…this year, all of the classes are working towards doing the units from the textbook,” English department chair Christine Haley said.

Because of the new textbook, teachers are now required to teach in a way that allows students to learn in themes instead of going in chronological order.

Additionally, teachers have to craft their curriculum not just by the state standards but also by the best fit for each year’s students. The teachers’ goal is that the books that students read and the content they learn should reflect the changing values of society as well the state curriculum.

English teacher Jennifer Schmidt also sees the new way of teaching as being a student-focused perspective.

“Teachers know why things are next, but the students [themselves] don’t. By teaching based on a topic or an idea, it helps students know ‘why am I learning this, and how can I connect it to what I just learned,’’ Schmidt said.

In regards to these changes, junior and American Literature student Emma Reichert has noticed these differences.

“English two moved faster and is very consistent in quizzes,” Reichert said.

The change in English classes should create a lasting effect on students by making English easier to learn and allow students to be better prepared for college. Overall, students in English classes this year should see changes in material, pacing, textbook and assessments.