The English department recently formed a committee in order to take a closer look at the school’s tracking system for English classes.
“Tracks” refer to the specific courses provided along the general path of English classes any given student will take. A student in honors freshman English, for example, will be slated to take honors or AP English classes for the next three years.
These tracks are not an end-all be-all, however, as upward and downward mobility is possible. Grades can raise or lower a student into a different English level, and a parent can sign off for a student to be moved.
The committee formed because the members are generally in consensus that the tracking system at Perry needs refined.
“It makes instruction hard; it makes learning difficult,” English 9 and AP Research teacher Stefanie Davis says.
Special education teacher Melisa Garrity claims the current system makes both teaching and learning difficult because there is a large gap in student ability within some tracks.
“When we look at students who don’t hit standards… we have a large disparity within our classrooms,” Garrity says.
Davis expressed the same sentiment.
“We need set standards—if you have this lexile plus this work ethic—it equals this,” she says.
Multiple members of the committee expressed their desire for more autonomy through having a greater say in student tracking. Like Davis mentioned with the set standards, the teachers want their input on the work ethic portion for each student.
Principal Kert Boedicker agrees with the calls for reformation.
“One thing that we’re pushing for is to have a reading specialist at Perry Meridian High School,” Boedicker says. Both Davis and Garrity called for a reading specialist, as well.
“I think that the term tracking is restrictive,” Boedicker says. He claims labels can box a student into a place of stagnation.
He also mentioned talks with the middle school in order to ensure students are better prepared for high school English.
The committee will continue their talks in hopes of reaching a specific plan for bettering the English department’s tracking system.