New English course offers sophomores a challenge


by Ruby Cerny and Cullen Vogel

In 2020-2021, sophomores have the option to take a new English course. The course combines both 10th and 11th grade English to be one year-long course. Though this course is open to any and all, some high achieving ninth graders received a letter suggesting the student to take the course. 

The letter states, “After evaluating course performance and test results, the English Department has identified (Student Name) as a student who is reading and writing well above grade level and has demonstrated success in honors level courses in Grade 9.

For those who are recommended, or even those who are considering, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking this new course. Keep in mind, this class is not for everyone.


If one decides to take this class, they will have an option to take more FCC  classes. Most start taking college classes in their senior year, but those who take this new course can start taking college classes in their junior year.  Not only does this further education, taking college courses in high school is much cheaper than the usual in-college course. 


Although the course will not move any faster than a regular honors level course, students are expected to read throughout the year.  Ms. Mary Troxel has volunteered to teach the class.  She said, “If you don’t keep up with the reading, it will snowball because you will have to do it the whole year.”

The class will be small, with highly able students, which means that discussions will be more engaging.


In order for students to take History 202, a very popular course, FCC has changed the requirents, and students now have to take English 101. If students take this combined 10/11 course, they are able to take English 101 in their junior year and then possibly take History 202 for the rest of their junior year or senior year.

Pro and Con:

You have the same teacher all year. If you like the teacher and work well with him/her, it would make the class more enjoyable and you are more likely to be engaged. If your learning style clashes with your teacher’s teaching style, it’d be a harder class to enjoy and participate in. 

Scheduling the student into the class is the biggest difficulty.  It means that students may need to make a choice between two courses they really like.

Though some students may consider taking this class as a challenge, in reality it should not be a challenge. The classes go at a normal pace, it’s just the self-motivation students need to work on.

“If you are self-motivated, absolutely take this class. You have more options your junior year, and you don’t have to skip over junior English,” said Troxel.

English departments in FCPS do not recommend skipping 11th grade English. The 11th grade English course analyzes American literature and digs deeper into the content. Without this course, several critical learning gaps can be created. 

Senior Gabby North skipped 11th grade English in order to take AP Composition instead. North does not regret the decision she made, yet she acknowledges that this may not be the right decision for others. “I recommend skipping this course only for those who know their strength is writing and know that what they want to do in college will not require much literary analysis. My major requires me to take only basic level English courses because I have a STEM-based major.”