Ethnic literature class to be offered next year

Course will provide reading options, teacher says

English+teacher+Mrs.+Kimberly+Carver+will+instruct+the+ethnic+literature+class+next+year.+

Jonas Hollis

English teacher Mrs. Kimberly Carver will instruct the ethnic literature class next year.

Quinn Leous, Reporter

Beginning with the next school year, the school will introduce a new ethnic literature class. The class will be instructed by Mrs. Kimberly Carver, who is finishing her first year as a member of the faculty.

The idea of a possible ethnic literature class was generated this year after a new law passed in the Indiana for public schools. 

Carver said, “Two years ago this summer, the state of Indiana passed a resolution saying that every public school in the state had to have a class called ethnic studies, which is actually a social studies class that studies ethnicities that reside in the United States other than Caucasian Americans.”

However, because of the passing of this state mandate, many private schools such as this one began to look into implementing a class revolving around different ethnicities. In order to make sure that this chool was keeping up with the standards set for public schools, the ethnic literature class was created for the coming school year.

Another one of the main reasons for the introduction of this class is because of the school’s diversity. Carver explained that the current English curriculum does not do a sufficient enough job with the study different ethnicities, so the new class could benefit students in that regard as well.

“It just seemed like when we looked at the English curriculum, we were trying to do a good job at representing those ethnicities where we could in our literature classes, but not fully discussing or realizing the journey of that ethnicity,” said Carver.

The class is independent in terms of choosing what books students want to read. The students will read four books during the semester-long course, but they will have a choice between a couple of books for each. 

For example, one of the topics the class will cover is slavery. Students will be able to choose between one novel that is told from a boy’s perspective and one that is told from a girl’s. A couple of the novels that the class will be reading “Copper Sun” by Sharon Draper and “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Linda Brent.” This variation allows students to choose to read books that help them learn and relate to the material best. 

Additionally, the novels provide flexibility for the types of readers students are. Carver said, “What I love about the class is that I built the class so that there is a wide reading range. So if you’re not a big reader, there’s maybe a smaller book versus a really hard academic book,” said Carver. 

Also, students who are in AP Literature could utilize many of these books for their AP exams, she said. 

Also regarding the curriculum, the class will combine studying the history of different ethnicities along with a social justice aspect. This allowsstudents to experience a history-like class through the process of reading and interpreting literary works. The students will be able to somewhat make their own reading schedules within their groups, but then will discuss the books during class with their groups as well. Most of the projects and assignments will be about the social justice aspect of the texts.  

Carver is no stranger to leading a class about ethnic history. She previously started a class similar to the ethnic literature class in 2007 at Lawrence Central and also created one last year at North Central. This experience has certainly given her the credentials and authority to teach the class and will allow students to fully benefit from her teaching. 

Carver expects there to be significant interest in the class for the coming school year. 

“We’ve had enough interest that the class is actually happening next year. I would imagine once word spreads, that it will become a little more well-known and there will be more interest in it. I only taught freshmen this year, so I didn’t really know very many kids to really talk to them about it, but I think that it will be successful and that it could even eventually turn into a credit worthy class and not just an elective,” she said.