Cuts and Changes in the English Department


Katrina Bucher, Staff

Stop what you’re doing. You just read that sentence. And this one. And now this one. English is so vital to our day to day lives, yet sometimes we forget we’re even using it. With Creative Writing, Film Appreciation, Journalism, Yearbook, Theatre, and the Bev Hickman Writing Center internship, CHS offers a strong option of English electives. But next year, due to increased student number without staffing increases, cuts are coming to English programs. 

One program that will be cut, at least as an elective, is the Bev Hickman Writing Center, an internship led by Dr. Adrienne Stewart. The program allows CHS students to receive English tutoring on papers, resumes, and more. The Writing Center also doubles as a senior-only internship for writing tutors. However, its run of four years is coming to an end next school year. 

Stewart describes the impact that the Writing Center has had on the student community. 

“[That the Writing Center being discontinued] is very disappointing. I think it’s an important program that deserves to grow. Sadly, we’ve got staffing issues. I’ve had students who gone on after being a tutor to major in English,” stated Dr. Stewart. 

Writing Center tutor Robbie Gorey is devastated by the school’s decision.  

“It just makes me sad for the people who will never get to do it. Being a tutor taught me a lot about English, and it really did help the people who came,” stated Gorey. 

The Bev Hickman Writing Center isn’t the only thing getting cut next year. Journalism Hon/GT will now be cut down to a half credit, forcing students who sign up for journalism to also select another half credit class. 

English department chair and 17-year Journalism teacher Melanie Coates reflects on the factors that went into the decision to cut the down to a half credit. 

“Hopefully, the following year we can get more staffing, and we can bring it journalism back to a full credit. Initially they wanted to cut the program altogether and make it after school, and I lobbied for it not to be because I knew it would kill the program,” stated Ms. Coates. 

She pointed out that with overall increased school enrollment of almost 100 students, BCPS provided no additional staffing to the school. English was the department that experienced the most cuts, but it also is the biggest department and was not the only department which lost courses for the upcoming school year. 

However, the English department isn’t being cut across the board. Not only are they adjusting to the bigger incoming freshman classes by adding more English 9 sections, the theatre classes will also have another section added. 

 Ms. Coates touched on the decision to add a section on Intro to Theatre amid the various cuts. 

“We had a substantial amount of students sign up for Intro to Theatre. I eventually decided if we had that one little section left to offer and give it to something, it should go to theatre… which also is a fine arts credit,” she explained. This will serve the needs of the school as all students need a fine arts credit to graduate.