What Changes Do YOU Want to See?

Staff Writer Lucy Haswell ’20 and Contributing Writer Kavi Sarna ’21 asked students of different grades and genders to provide input on areas of the current curriculum that could be modified in the Curriculum Review process to better accommodate students. These students comment on topics such as Advanced Placement courses, trimesters, the Humanities program, and more.

YY Cher 20

“From my three years of experience here, I have found that the AP courses [are] not truly as impactful or even necessary as they are intended to be. I think we should take the AP courses and teach them as elective classes so that Hotchkiss teachers have more control over the teaching material and [can] improve upon the AP curriculum. The content and interest in these subjects are there, but the AP just doesn’t seem as needed nor as ‘Advanced’ today.”

Annabelle Duval ’19

“I think that the Prep science core program should end. I didn’t feel that I got a good foundation in any of the sciences out of the Prep science core, and it took up a year, so I was not able to take all the science classes that I wanted to. I think having an introductory physics class would be much more helpful and [would] provide a more thorough foundation in an important field.”

Kostia Howard ’20

“I would recommend that we keep Humanities, but scrap APs and Prep science. Preps should be allowed to jump into higher-level science courses as soon as they arrive.”

Tommy Lewis ’19

“I believe Hotchkiss should move away from AP classes, since they prevent students from getting a well-rounded learning experience. Many times, teachers are so concerned about getting in all the material before the AP exam that they rush through important topics. For example, in AP U.S. History, we covered World War I in two days. World War I was very significant in U.S. History and definitely should not be discussed in only two days. However, due to the time constraint placed on the teachers by the AP exam, my teacher had no other choice but to briefly cover the topic. Then, once the AP exam was over, there was no more material to cover, and for the remaining month of school, we just worked on a project. School is about learning as much as you can so you can apply [that information] in the real world. AP classes only prepare us for an exam that many colleges don’t even count [for] credit anymore.”

Jared Napier ’21

“If certain courses were not included in the Humanities program, they might grow more effective in their individual curriculums. For example, disconnecting the art courses from what is currently [covered in] the other Humanities classes may help them to become more refined and perfected courses. They should still be a requirement during the Prep and Lower Middle years, but if photography projects, for example, were no longer based off of studies in history or philosophy, it might provide an opportunity to have the course go into more depth about the development of photography itself and the techniques involved.”

Eden Oostenink ’20

“I think the school would really benefit from trimesters, because I believe it would allow for coursework to be spread more evenly throughout more useful time frames. The space between Thanksgiving and Christmas could be a wonderful time for larger or more time-consuming projects or for a more fun or interesting unit that doesn’t necessarily ‘fit in’ with the rest of that curriculum.”

Maggie Ryan ’19

“I definitely think that Hotchkiss should get rid of APs, because [they] only make students more stressed and give more pressure. APs make lowerclass [students] feel like they need to have AP classes in order to have a rigorous schedule or that they need APs to get into college. It simply doesn’t work like that, but kids think it does. APs don’t help any students, and I think we should consider getting rid of them.”