Sopho”More” English Courses Available for 2022-2023 School Year


Liam Tenenbaum, Staff Writer

English/Language Arts is one of the core curriculum areas that all Tenafly students will study throughout their K-12 education. ELA classes develop language ability and expose students to notable works of literature. Communication and cultural awareness are just some of the important skills students take away from these courses. This year, the opportunity to take a new English course was given to our school’s sophomores, completely changing the dynamic of the subject within the grade.

World Literature II Advanced was formally introduced to sophomores last year, during their annual course selection. Prior to its implementation, sophomore students had only the typical honors- or CPA-level choice for their English class. A new advanced English course option serves as a middle ground between CPA and honors, giving students the opportunity to partake in a higher level course but with less commitment than the rigor found in honors. This option is ideal for students who feel confident in the language arts discipline and buttresses the idea of “there’s something for everyone.” Not to mention, it will adequately prepare students for junior and senior level courses. “It definitely prepares you for the AP track,” Dr. Rabinowitz, supervisor of the English department, said.

This advanced course option is especially helpful for sophomores, because the honors English course is the humanities program, a dual high-level course formed on the intersection of ELA and Social Studies. In the past, if you weren’t taking humanities, you were taking CPA ELA and Social Studies. It’s reasonable to see the unfairness that comes with this ultimatum. Many students in Tenafly strive to take higher level courses yet couldn’t truly find an option that was both high-level and matched their affinity for the subject. “Now, I feel like there are multiple ways to take high-level courses and excel in the humanities areas. The benefit of this choice has already positively affected my sophomore year” said Stone Quiroga (’25).

Another interesting thing to mention is the history of the partner course of English humanities honors: social studies. While the option for advanced English was new this year, the option for advanced Social Studies has existed for several years. This unbalance was another difficult component of course selection. Perhaps a student favored language arts and found little interest in taking high level social studies. They were facing the predicament of being unable to take high-level language arts without having to make a sacrifice to take a class with the same level of rigor in social studies. 

That problem no longer exists, and the introduction of the advanced option has already been a major hit. “I taught freshman last year. It was very popular. People were pleased not to have to take humanities… and for personal choices weren’t into [humanities],” Rabinowitz said. “However, they very much like English, so [advanced] was very popular.”  The buzz of excitement regarding the new course predated the 2022-2023 school year, starting back in the prior year. Ms. Hampson, one of the World Literature II Advanced teachers, recalled a story of anticipation. “I advise two clubs, and one of the clubs is the American Sign Language Club, and I remember kids saying ‘did you know there is going to be a sophomore advanced class? I’m definitely taking that!’” Hampson shared. 

We have reached the point in time where sophomores have the freedom to choose whichever course they like. It has already been a major success, with a large percentage of the grade opting to take the advanced option. “I am actually really thrilled to have the advanced class because it seems like every student I’m encountering so far is a reader, a writer, a critical thinker,” Hampson said. “They want to be there.” 

If you happen to be a freshman reading this, I hope you have found some guidance regarding which course(s) you want to take. World Literature II Advanced is not only new, but is a great option if you want to take high-level courses without the commitment to humanities, which truly gives everyone the power to decide what is best for them. I think I can speak for everyone by saying that these new options are going to change sophomore English for the better, forever.