York expands junior English and U.S. History program

More classes for the personal demands of every student

Some of the fun activities that go along with the AP United States History course. Some students also visit national landmarks, and make t-shirts for the class each year.

Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Iverson

Some of the fun activities that go along with the AP United States History course. Some students also visit national landmarks, and make t-shirts for the class each year.

For over a decade, there have been two options for juniors taking U.S. History: Advanced Placement, or APUSH, or regular U.S. History. But starting next year, there will be two new courses offered, American Studies, a double block of English and social studies, and ACP U.S. History, a course that will offer dual credit and the potential for earning college credit from Indiana University.

American Studies will be co-taught by social studies teacher Lindsey DiTomasso and English teacher Kelly Deloria. The class will focus on the study of U.S. History, meaning that essays will also focus on this topic, and the English portion will go hand in hand.

The class will be an honors course, having a heavier workload than U.S. History, but less work than AP U.S. History, which was discussed in several meetings of social studies teachers and some counselors. The class will not only study the past of government and history, but find connections and similarities to our country today.

The only concern that students seem to have with the course is that they wish to take an honors social studies course, but want to take an AP English course as well.

“I think the addition of American Studies for juniors is really cool for people who enjoy social studies,” sophomore Sean Solem said. “Since it is two periods, people who are interested in social studies can learn more about our country’s history because they will spend more class time in a day learning about it. Personally, I am not a huge fan of history, so I want to take U.S. History because I want to take AP Language if possible, and I can’t take both A.P. Language and American Studies. “

Though this is a change in the social studies curriculum, it is also creating a change in the available English classes as well. Prior to the development of this course, the only options were AP English Language & Composition and English 11. Counselor Lisa Julian believes this to be a bigger change than another course for social studies.

“I think specifically the more groundbreaking thing is the honors class for English because we do have a lot of honors level courses in the social studies curriculum, but there are fewer options for English,” Julian said.

In addition to the new English honors option, students also have the opportunity to choose a from another honors course– ACP U.S. History Honors, a dual-credit, college-level course in which students have the potential to earn credit at Indiana University. York will be the only school outside of Indiana that is partaking in this program, which is quite exciting. This class will be taught by teacher Patty Iverson, who has been teaching AP U.S. History since it began at York.

“In AP U.S. History, you have to cover the entire gamut of information that comes from pre-Columbian era up until 2017, so you have a deadline to cover it by; and that’s the test, so there is definitely a race to get everything done,” Iverson said. “We still will follow that narrative of history once we have created that ACP course. We will be able to pick and choose topics that we really want to focus on and not have to have every single event that happens on the timeline of history included in that.”

When compared to the AP class, Iverson said that the class would have a similar amount of workload, but the studies juniors would partake in could be more open-ended, and more open for decision. The students are given credit from Indiana, but it is not exactly guaranteed that it will carry over to all schools, even though most would accept the credit, whereas AP U.S. History is an NCAA approved the course.

Students are very intrigued by these new learning opportunities and are happy to see that they will have more freedom in their learning of history. Though many are hoping to take the new courses, some are just as prepared to remain in the older classes.

“I believe that because there are so many options available, it provides every student an outlet for their own interests within the class,” sophomore Abbey Pettineo said. “Personally, AP U.S. History interests me the most because it sounds like a rigorous course and I love history.”

The addition of these exciting new courses presents itself as a positive addition to the community, both classes trying to create a more diverse learning experience for York students. U.S. History has been an intimidating course for students for many years, and hopefully, the addition of more social studies opportunities will continue the academic success of our school.