As of next year, eight electives are being removed from the course catalog. The changes appear to be in response to a myriad of different factors: a lack of teachers and interested students as well as directives from Central Office. According to 10th Grade Counselor Aleta Lane, the cut classes include African American Literature, African American experience in American Literature, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, Global Perspectives, and all law electives.
Latin American and Middle Eastern studies are offered every other year, switching out for Asian and African studies, and will return in the 2019-2020 school year. Multiple WISP students were apathetic about the change.
The law electives were cut due to the termination of a partnership with Georgetown University. Previously, all law classes were taught and funded by Georgetown, however, this year, Georgetown ran out of funding for the program and the classes were taught by substitutes. Lee James, who taught law classes in previous years at Wilson before the partnership with Georgetown, will not return.
Shayna Brotzman, a junior who is a member of the Mock Trial Club and previously participated in a law class, bemoaned the change. “I took street law not really thinking I would like it but then it turned out to be something I enjoy and am passionate about, so cutting law classes takes away my ability to explore it further.” She said.
The reasoning behind the removal behind African-American Literature and African American experience in American Literature is similarly unclear. Students stated that they were randomly placed into the class and did not choose it, indicating that the classes lacked a large body of interested students.
Sophomore Ella Pearlman-Chang stated that her African American Literature teacher left after just one month and substitutes supervised the class for the remainder of the year. “I would have recommended it to others on the condition that my teacher hadn’t disappeared mysteriously halfway through the semester and we had not been stuck watching countless movies with an assortment of subs.” She said.
The rationale behind cutting the electives is wholly uncertain. All four counselors and Principal Martin claimed to know nothing about why the electives were removed. While not unusual, multiple members of Central Office did not respond to an inquiry by the Beacon. Kendric Hawkins, Wilson’s Head of Scheduling, declined to comment when the Beacon reached out to him.
The miscommunication was not relegated solely to students; a teacher who previously taught an elective that is being removed tried to discuss the change with administration and received an “unsatisfactory” response.