Future of English curriculum lies in the hands of high school students

Shani Smith

Earlier this year, English teacher, Ms. Andrea Chudzik, and library administrator, Mr. Kevin McGee, started  a project to change the cannon of literature  in our English curriculum. Presently, the group is working towards eliminating some of the aging novels embedded in the syllabus because the story elements do not reflect the diversity at Windsor High.

With the help of the student body, the educators are striving to “promote change within the English curriculum,” and “provide diversity in authors and narratives,” as stated by Chudzik. She and McGee are also hoping to mold the project into a student-led discussion format, which is formally known as the “Student Book Recommendation Committee.”

On Monday, November 12, WHS attendees of all grades were invited to the library for the first meeting. After a brief introduction of the task at hand, they were split into small groups to choose from a lengthy list of ethnicity inclusive stories such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Students were also encouraged to finish one of the books in preparation for the next meeting. Tentative dates for each gathering stem from December to May 21st, when representatives will be speaking to the Board of Education.

The origins of the Committee began with the start of the school year, when Chudzik and McGee were given the chance to devise project of passion as members of the Windsor Leadership Corps. The two acquired thirty thousand dollars from the organization, and set out on a mission of social justice. Although  favored among more sage teachers, many classic novels took place decades ago, and are very noninclusive in terms of race and sexuality. Chudzik and McGee  noticed that there weren’t enough of our student’s faces and lifestyles being mirrored in the books they had to read.

“We wanted to merge the library and the English department,” commented Chudzik, and “promote change in what the department is learning.” In the near future, teachers will have the opportunity to alter  the curriculum, and choose novels that more students can connect to. In turn, the adolescents will develop their love for literature, and hopefully grades will improve in the writing field. With a more relatable work of choice, students will become truly motivated and engaged in their education.

All are welcome to attend the next meeting on Mon, December 17 in the library to take part of this important cause. In the words of Ms. Chudzik, the more the merrier!



Various diverse novels (Courtesy of cbcdiversity.com)