English 225/226 not to be offered at Dos Pueblos in 2013-2014

English 225/226 "offered students a quality product that was rigorous, stimulating, and relevant," said Ms. Mason. "It's a fabulous class."

By Michael Aling (Editor) on Tuesday December 11, 2012

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(Graphic Design / Amber Prinz)

By Michael Aling | Staff Writer  

December 11, 2012

In a decision that was baffling to Dos Pueblos teachers, Santa Barbara City College’s English Department has cancelled the dual enrollment sessions of English 225/226 on the Dos Pueblos campus starting in the 2013-2014 school year.

English 110/111 and English 225/226 offered students an alternative to AP/IB classes, and a chance to enter college with some mandatory courses out of the way. Earning credit from these courses, students were able to enter college with sophomore standings, or better.

According to the Dos Pueblos English department, there was no clear reason to recall English 225/226, and neither the teachers nor the administration were given any explanation. Margaret Mason, who teaches the English 225/226 class, is fully qualified for the position, and the students enrolled met all prerequisites. SBCC declined to consider the students’ portfolios or any of their work completed as a part of the class.

Barbara Bell, chair of the SBCC English department, identified a “miscommunication” between the college’s English and Dual Enrollment departments as the cause of the problem. Her predecessor did not consult the full faculty on the matter, a fact that was only realized recently.

When the entire faculty had the opportunity to weigh in on the matter, “[We] decided not to offer any of our 200-level courses via the high schools,” said Bell. “Our decision seems to be in alignment with other SBCC departments that offer 100-level courses [as we do] but not sophomore-level courses within the high school Dual Enrollment format.”

But why did SBCC recall the course in the first place? Speculation among the English department holds that SBCC believed the students are simply too immature, even though they made this decision without considering students’ work.

Bell held that the English department is “just not comfortable offering a sophomore-level college course in the high schools.”

However, Diane Hollems, SBCC Dean of Dual Enrollment, added that “we welcome your students to take the course on our campus.”

English 225/226 “offered students a quality product that was rigorous, stimulating, and relevant,” said Ms. Mason. “It’s a fabulous class.”

As a consequence of the action taken by SBCC, a path highly recommended by counselors is broken: those wishing to take 110/111 sophomore or junior year will no longer have the next step readily available to them. They must either drive to SBCC and take the class there, or enroll in an AP/IB course, and forego the college credits that 225/226 offered.

“English 110/111 students can take AP Literature without risk of redundancy,” said Ms. Mason, also acknowledging the “rich” reading requirements of both IB English and the AP class.

English 225/226 provided an individualized learning experience for the students, something that, as class sizes continue to increase, is hard to come by.

“[Students] trace the ethos of the American character from pre-colonial times to the present, examining our cultural mythology and national identity through literature, from a wide range of political, social and historical perspectives.  The reading requirement is rich and deep…the thematic thread of cultural identity, seen through the prism of time, makes the course special.”

When asked about class offerings for next year, Ms. Mason responded that they were still “up in the air;” Dos Pueblos is “looking into other possibilities, but nothing is certain at this point.”

Should students still look to take English 110/111?

“I do not believe taking a [college] freshman composition course in high school is a waste of time in any case, but I regret we cannot – at this point – offer the next step on our campus.”

“My life has been enriched by this class,” Ms. Mason said. “We’re all sorry to see it go.”

Michael Aling
Editor - maling15@thechargeraccount.org
Over the last year, Michael redesigned The Charger Account with a Wordpress theme he created from scratch—a learning experience and enormous project. This is his fourth year at DP and in the journalism, cross country, and track programs.

There are 11 comments on English 225/226 not to be offered at Dos Pueblos in 2013-2014:

Katie Fearon on December 11, 2012 at 2:01 PM PDT

I was among the first students to take English 225/226 at Dos Pueblos in the 2011-2012 school year, and can say that it was one of the best classes I took throughout my time at DP. Not only did the class incorporate various works of American literature, but taught me aspects of history, philosophy, and sociology that continue to be extremely relevant in my studies today. My class was a place where I could share my ideas without fear of dismissal or harsh criticism, and in my opinion it was an invaluable class to take on account that it prepared me the most effectively for the structure (in terms of reading and writing demands) of a college class than any previous dual enrollment or AP classes I had taken. It's a shame that we may have been deemed too "immature" to handle the course material, because I wish that future students would have been able to benefit from it as I have.

Ariana Dato on December 11, 2012 at 11:14 PM PDT

I am a junior currently enrolled in English 110/111 at Dos Pueblos and I must admit that upon learning today that English 225/226 was being discontinued for the following years, I was extremely disappointed, and I believe many of my fellow students were as well. I took the City College dual enrollment path instead of AP or IB classes because I felt it would prepare me for college in a way that the other classes could not and because I was looking forward to getting some of my general education out of the way before I began college. Just in the four months that I have been enrolled in English 110 I feel I have learned so much and am saddened that I will not be able to continue on this learning path next year. I am also greatly disappointed that City College did not take the time to come into Dos Pueblos's classes and meet the students whom they have claimed are not mature enough to handle taking their courses. I feel that if this effort had been made, they would have met some extraordinary students who were eager to learn their material and excited to be given the privilege to take their courses. Furthermore, I am baffled by a decision the above article forgot to mention: City College will no longer allow Sophomores to take English 110/111. I would like to know the reasoning for this choice because if City College is concerned about the maturity of the sophomores as well, they are once again mistaken. My English 110/111 class currently has many sophomores that are not only qualified to be in this class but may be even more qualified than myself and many other upperclassmen taking this course. How could they not be as they have attained writing and reading comprehension skills one or two years before the rest of my classmates and I have. I recognize that writing this comment will not change City College's decision regarding the removal of English 225/226 and of Sophomores from English 110/111 however I hope that it will affect their future decisions regarding the rest of the high schools within the Santa Barbara School District, for the ability to take these classes on our school's campus is such a privilege and I would hate to see any other schools lose it.

Jenny Thompson on December 12, 2012 at 10:22 PM PDT

Wow, this is interesting to me. I was a student of Ms. Mason's AP Literature class in the late 1990s, and later I attended Santa Barbara City College and enrolled in several of those so-called sophomore level classes. I can tell you one thing for sure: Ms. Mason's class was more academically rigorous and was taught at a higher level than any of the English courses I had at SBCC. From my preparation in Ms. Mason's class, I breezed through freshman composition, and then took American Literature (the very 225/226 in question here), British Literature, and Shakespeare. I found those three classes to be interesting and stimulating, but they had nowhere near the rigor or depth of discussion of Ms. Mason's class. And if indeed English 225/226 was pulled because the SBCC faculty feel that high school students are not mature enough, they clearly have not thought this through. When I was in Ms. Mason's class, we had an entire class that was singularly dedicated to their course work. I would estimate that 90% of the class was accepted to selective universities after graduation, and some of my good friends went on to Ivy League universities or other elite liberal arts colleges. The classroom demeanor was one of serious academic pursuit. To contrast this, when I was at SBCC, the students that surrounded me in these sophomore level English courses had a real variance in dedication. Some were very serious students, some were just trying to get through the course with a grade of C, and some (far too many) never made it beyond the halfway point--they just stopped coming. The typical class began with 30 students, and ended with 18. And for those who did make it the entire semester, the level of complaining about the required school work was astounding. And Professor Bell is concerned about maturity? She should take a hard look at her students at the beginning of the semester and try to envision 90% of them enrolling in selective colleges.

Garrett Morrison on December 13, 2012 at 8:53 PM PDT

I'm a DP alum ('02) and a grateful beneficiary of Ms. Mason's outstanding teaching. Count me among the bewildered. I can't quite suss out the rationale for canceling these courses; the SBCC officials' explanations are rather opaque. If they think high school students are too immature to take a college-sophomore-level English course at DP, why would they invite the same students to enroll in the same course on the SBCC campus? Are they just mechanically adhering to the college's protocol? Is there a funding issue? The likeliest explanation, it seems to me, is that SBCC profs want to maintain the highest possible enrollments for their on-campus courses. More commuting DP students = more secure teaching assignments. This is cynical logic, and one can understand why Professor Bell declined to spell it out. If, however, the SBCC folks have concerns either about rigor of Ms. Mason's pedagogy or the quality (not to mention the maturity) of the work she elicits from her students, they're nuts. I took courses both with Ms. Mason and on the SBCC campus, and like the commenters above, I found Ms. Mason's courses tougher and more fulfilling. But I'll go a step further. Thanks in large part to my rich experiences with Ms. Mason, I went on to major in English at Yale College, and I'm now in the fourth year of an English Ph.D. program at Northwestern University. I've taken scads of lit courses from scads of professors. And no one - not a single one of my profs at Yale or Northwestern - was smarter or more knowledgeable than Ms. Mason. Not one of them had higher standards, ran a better classroom, led better discussions, or taught more meticulously and effectively. It's puzzling to me, then, that SBCC would treat Ms. Mason with anything other than breathless gratitude. The college should be thrilled to have such a skillful teacher on its roster. To be clear, I haven't taken English 225/226 (unfortunately, it came to DP after my time), but I've heard plenty about it from Ms. Mason herself. The course is well designed, challenging, and intellectually stimulating - well within the capacities of both Ms. Mason and her students. The teacher wants to teach it. The students want to take it. So what's the problem?

Giancarlo Francini on December 13, 2012 at 9:16 PM PDT

My stepdaughter is a DP student enrolled in English 110. It was a bitter blow indeed when Mr. Borden informed his classes on Tuesday that English 225 would not be offered next year. We spent considerable time last spring debating whether she should take English 110/English 225 in her junior/senior years, or the AP classes. We decided on 110/225 because we felt it a more practical education that would translate more directly into the skills she would need for college. We were very happy with the decision--until Tuesday. Now it looks like we might have made the wrong move. It looks like my stepdaughter will have to take AP next year, and it will look to the colleges she applies to like she was not committed to one course of study. It sounds like the chairperson of the SBCC English Department absolves herself of all responsibility for my stepdaughter's situation by blaming "miscommunication" at her own school. I could understand it if DP was offering a less-than-stellar series of classes, or if the DP instructors were not qualified to teach, or if they had gained the right to teach the classes through dishonesty, but as far as I know that is not the case. They kept their side of the bargain, and now the classes are removed because of "miscommunication" on SBCC's part. And SBCC walks away seemingly without guilt, conscience, or remorse and leaves our children to fend for themselves. I wonder who they answer to? The students or their own whims? Thanks. I suppose I could arrange to have my stepdaughter arrange her schedule in such a way that she could leave the DP campus next year and attend English 225 at SBCC. But this would take a lot of time and money on our part, to say nothing of the inconvenience. And then, if we crossed those hurdles, my stepdaughter would be at SBCC, surrounded by older folks (adults!) with their own interests and human failings. And if the previous poster, Miss Thompson is to be believed, amongst a less studious class.

Channing Fisher on December 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM PDT

I am a junior at Dos Pueblos, enrolled in English 110, and my fellow students and I are very disappointed in Santa Barbara City College's decision to stop allowing English 225/226 to be offered at the high school level. I chose to take this class because it offered a curriculum more suited to my learning methods and possible career options. I had expected that the next course in my English path would have been English 225. Now I am faced with the conundrum of which English to take in my senior year. Whatever the case, whether I take English 12 (college prep) or AP English, my English path will not be continuous or fluent. All juniors in English 110 this year will have to address the same problem. Without the natural progression to English 225 after 110, the city college English curriculum will be less appealing and practical for high school students. It is important that the city college English program is a reasonable, available alternative to AP, IB, or college prep courses in high school because it contributes to the variety of options that cater to the different learning methods and priorities of each unique individual. For example, English 110's emphasis on developing persuasive and informative writing skills accommodates my goals in English class: to become an adept writer in order to add to my skill set for my future career. If another student is interested in majoring in literature, then the AP English courses are better suited to them. Thus, English 225/226 is a vital aspect of the high school course offerings, and without it, students will not be able to select an English path that is fitted to their interests and learning abilities.

Bowen Shallanberger on December 14, 2012 at 9:30 PM PDT

I am a senior at DPHS currently enrolled in the English 225/226 course being taught by Mrs. Mason, and I must say that the decision by the SBCC English Department to no longer offer this class at Dos Pueblos is very disappointing. The dual-enrollment courses offered here are far and away the best English classes I have taken. The skills I have gained from these classes (110/111 and 225/226) far exceed the value of the alternatives I've encountered, and I am grateful for this opportunity. As such, it saddens me that my fellow students will be denied the opportunity to continue past English 110/111. I strongly encouraged my friends to follow this path because I believe this course is a fantastic opportunity for students to challenge and enlighten themselves, while gaining invaluable academic skills. In addition, this course provides a remarkable opportunity for students to get a jump start on college, both in terms of credit and preparation, in a way that the AP/IB courses don't quite cover. It was a very beneficial experience for me, one that I had hoped many more would experience. Another aspect that is really rather baffling is how we, the students in question, are deemed to not be ready for this course when we have fulfilled the requirements to take this course, and are still able to take this course on the SBCC campus. What makes the highschool different? We have proven we are ready, either through CC assessments and courses, or the equivalent AP credit. It is disappointing to be told that even though we meet the requirements, we are not 'ready' for this type of course, especially when our work was not taken into consideration during this decision. I sincerely hope something is done, so that others in the future can gain the same benefits I have.

Shannon Gerow on December 18, 2012 at 5:04 PM PDT

As a senior at DP who is taking English 110/111 I am extremely disappointed that English 225/226 will not be offered. The majority of those taking English 110/111 in my class are either sophomores or juniors who act with maturity that surpasses that of which I've seen in college courses I have taken at SBCC. I feel that any and all dual enrollment classes are beneficial. If it were a simple "miscommunication" I imagine that 225/226 would not be taken away. The problem would have been fixed and the course would continue to prepare students yet to come. The problem in this case seems to be that SBCC is reluctant to admit that the education received in the 225/226 surpasses student maturity, and eagerness to learn. In the past students were mature enough to take the class, and apparently are mature enough to take it on the SBCC campus, then I see no problem with offering it to future students. SBCC has made many upset, and I hope that they reconsider this pointless denial to the reality.

Todd Borden on December 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM PDT

The question of the courses that Santa Barbara City College allows students to enroll in seems to be based on the Carnegie unit model. This is a convention of education that has existed for over one hundred years, and dictates that a certain number of hours of students sitting in desks are required before a student is allowed to move to the next level. This system of required seat-time seems particularly anachronistic in our time of increasing technology. Indeed the biggest problem with Carnegie units is that time is the constant and learning is the variable. With increasing technology, our contemporary students have the ability to turn Carnegie units on their ear. Learning is becoming democratized as curriculum becomes available to anyone with an internet connection through such sources as Kahn Academy, California Virtual Academies, edX, Udacity, and Coursera. This democratization of education is increasingly making learning the constant and time the variable. This is a healthy development. Santa Barbara City College’s effort to remove English 225/226 from the dual enrollment offerings is running counter to this democratization of education. It suggests that students need a minimum of seat time to qualify for the course. I would suggest that today’s students are different than previous generations, and that the most academic amongst them do not view education as something that they will wait to have portioned out to them at the instructor’s, or institution’s, discretion. They bridle at such antiquated ideas, as they access education on their own terms. If Dos Pueblos cannot meet their needs, they will go to Santa Barbara City College, and if SBCC rejects them, they will move on to UCSB, or to an online school—the choices are many and varied. In this way they are making learning the constant, and helping to bury the legacy of Carnegie units. The biggest unintended consequence of this decision by SBCC is that it will impact the socio-economically disadvantaged students disproportionately. These are the students that SBCC should be most concerned about. And yet, the poorer students, whose educational journey is already an uphill battle, could have their dream deferred if they cannot access an educational system that meets their needs for a reasonable cost. The middle and upper class students, on the other hand, will just move on to other purveyors of education to have their needs met. But this is not an option for some students. Students of today have advantages that their teachers never dreamed of. They are engaged in a world with more free flowing access to information (including walking around with the equivalent of a fine university library in their pocket), and with the ability to access education from a myriad of non-traditional sources. Universities around the country are moving quickly to meet these changes because they see their future tied to the ability to adapt. I predict that within five years it will be common for the most advanced high school students across the country to have the opportunity to enroll in multiple college English courses while still in high school, and people will not think it much out of the ordinary way.

Paul and Lyn Krieger on January 19, 2013 at 3:31 PM PDT

Just before the holidays, we learned that there may be a new Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) policy regarding the English 110 class offered at Dos Pueblos High School. If we understand correctly, this policy would not allow our daughter to take English 110 next year as a sophomore. This news was very distressing to us, for a number of reasons. Our younger daughter, now a freshman, is taking 9th grade Honors English, which we hoped would be followed by English 110. She has been a prolific reader since she was very young, and a strong writer. Because of this, both her reading and writing show maturity of thought. 9th Grade Honors English, while similar to the previous GATE class, is not quite the same, and does not offer the same writing challenges, in spite of having the same teacher, who has the same standard of excellence he has always had. We, and she, were looking forward eagerly to English 110, and a challenge for her. Our older daughter, now a senior, took 9th Grade GATE English, followed by English 110 as a sophomore. This worked out very well for her, and prepared her well for International Baccalaureate English classes. Very few classmates followed this series, and there were no problems for those who did that were brought to our attention. We don't understand the purpose of this new policy, and hope that it is not final. It is confusing on two fronts. First, as we understand it, if our daughter passes the qualifying test at SBCC for English 110, she cannot take it at Dos Pueblos. The reason we have been given is that sophomores, in general, are just not mature enough to mix with juniors and seniors. However, if she passes the qualifying test, she is allowed to take the course at SBCC. So she is mature enough to sit with adults, but not with high school juniors and seniors? Secondly, students who might want to take this class are already experiencing mixed grades in class. This same daughter is taking somewhat advanced math, and is in class as a freshman with a number of sophomores and juniors. The same is true in art class, where there is a wide mix in grades. Why would this be a problem in English, but not in other areas if it is, in fact, the determining factor in your decision? SBCC has long allowed high school students to enroll in classes while in high school, as long as they pass the qualifying tests. Many high school students take summer classes after freshman year, and are with students of all ages. Taking a SBCC class on the home high school campus, when it is offered there, seems much safer and more appropriate than what is being proposed. This policy affects very few students, has not resulted in problems in the past, and has had a positive benefit for the students who have taken it. We request that this policy not be adopted.

Rita Makogon on January 24, 2013 at 11:11 PM PDT

Dear SBCC Administration, As a parent I can't  praise SBCC enough.  In my opinion, SBCC is #1 on the List of SB best kept secrets. I hope somebody from the school administration will read this blog and and many students' and parents' opinion on the issue. Tonight at the Open House at DPHS my daughter and I were surprised to learn that SBCC has decided or is in the process of making a decision to not allow younger students (freshmen and sophomores) to take ENGL 110 at DPHS. My daughter is currently homeschooled, and is looking forward to going to DP for her freshman year. She has decent results on the ACT and the SAT tests and an assessment taken at SBCC placed her in ENG 110. Her disadvantage is her age - she is only 13, and as an incoming freshman will not be allowed to take ENGL 110 at DPHS. However, her age is not an issue at all when it comes to Mathematics: my daughter WILL be allowed to take MATH150/160 as a freshman - she has completed Precalculus and placed in MATH 150.  DPHS has had/has/will always have some bright, hardworking freshmen and sophomores eligible for ENG110 and it IS logical to have a consistent approach to the issue of age of otherwise qualified students.  We hope that the SBCC administration will revisit the issue and allow enrollment in ENGL 110 at DPHS campus regardless of age, based solely on the abilities  of talented youngsters.

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Charger Spotlight: Emily Robinson, Creator of Worlds

Just over three years in, and four books penned. Emily Robinson works as a Dos Pueblos High School senior during the day and moonlights as an author, a creator of worlds with dragons, time travel and alternate dimensions. Robinson has been writing books since a young age, and has continued to do so through high […]

Chargers Mourn Oregon’s Loss in National Championships

Chargers Mourn Oregon’s Loss in National Championships

Most students favored the Oregon Ducks, with the Buckeyes the definite underdogs before Ezekiel Elliott carried his team to victory

Photo of the Day: Girls Soccer JV vs. SB at Home

Photo of the Day: Girls Soccer JV vs. SB at Home

DP lining up for a kick during the game this Tuesday after school. The JV girls tied 1-1, and varsity won 3-2. (Photo | Michael Aling)

New Clubs on Campus

New Clubs on Campus

Looking to make good on New Year's resolutions? It's not too late to join some of this academic year's new clubs - one way to get involved with the Dos Pueblos community.

DP Students Partake in Hour of Code

DP Students Partake in Hour of Code

Have you ever wanted to learn how to program computers? Many Dos Pueblos students recently had the opportunity to do just that by participating the the Hour of Code event that took place Dec. 9. Students were taught the basic concepts of computer programming through a series of web-based games featuring popular characters from Angry […]

Photo of the Day: Austrialians Arrive at DP

Photo of the Day: Austrialians Arrive at DP

This year's batch of Australian foreign exchange students arrived in an airbus today to meet their host families.

Photo Gallery: Behind DP’s Murals

Photo Gallery: Behind DP’s Murals

The volunteer National Art Honors Society and the art club have been painting murals around campus for years, and are responsible for all of the murals on campus.

Mockingjay Part One: A quiet beginning to the finale of the Hunger Games

Mockingjay Part One: A quiet beginning to the finale of the Hunger Games

Though the filmmakers have been heavily criticized for breaking the movie into two parts, drawing it out and making it less exciting, Lauren Caspersen has to disagree.

Photo Gallery: Shred Everything!

Photo Gallery: Shred Everything!

Skating and BMXing push local teens to their limits - learn the lingo, see the tricks

Dos Pueblos hosts Noche al Colegio

Dos Pueblos hosts Noche al Colegio

DP's first college night in Spanish

DPEA Students Program MappApp in 54-hour Google Competition

DPEA Students Program MappApp in 54-hour Google Competition

Engineering students Spencer Mullanix, Landon Brand, Zachary Zerman and DP alum Reed Mullanix won the Best Minimum Viable Product award for their efforts.

Woodshop Classes Embark on House-building Project “Tiny”

Woodshop Classes Embark on House-building Project “Tiny”

The documentary-inspired house will be built on a trailer and sold, with proceeds to benefit SBUSD woodshop programs

Video: Mason, DP Teacher, Wins Distinguished Mentor Award

Video: Mason, DP Teacher, Wins Distinguished Mentor Award

The award, one of three, was provided by the Santa Barbara County Education office for Mason's role in mentoring current and former students (some now teachers.)

New Locker Rooms Bring Changes in Physical Education Classes

New Locker Rooms Bring Changes in Physical Education Classes

New locker and shower facilities are ready for use, allowing PE classes to intensify.

Colleges Compete for Senior Soccer Player Julio Rubio

Colleges Compete for Senior Soccer Player Julio Rubio

Five top-notch schools competed for Dos Pueblos senior Julio Rubio after he helped Santa Barbara Soccer Club win 18 games in multiple tournaments to be crowned national champions last summer.

Charger Athletes Face Health Risks

Charger Athletes Face Health Risks

Student athletes face dangerous consequences due to concussions

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