• FAQ  

    8th Grade Parent Frequently Asked Questions


    *What recent changes were made to the 9th grade program and how will those changes impact my child?

    For over 20 years, 9th grade English at Seaholm was taught in a team format, meaning the curriculum was team designed and team taught. The program was very successful for many students, but within the past five years we began to see data points and trends which made us look more deeply into who was succeeding in Team 9, and consider what it would take to ensure all students entering Seaholm had the opportunity to be successful in 9th grade English and beyond. Beginning in the fall of 2022, 9th grade English and Honors 9th grade English will be taught in individual sections, and while all 9th grade teachers will continue to collaborate to design the best curriculum possible, we believe moving to individual sections allows for deeper relationships to form between the teachers and the students, and between the students themselves, which almost always leads to better academic outcomes and experiences for all. 


    *How much homework should my child expect in his/her English classes?

    Homework expectations vary between each English class at Seaholm. Transitioning between 8th and 9th grade is sometimes more difficult than students or parents imagine. Therefore, all 9th grade teachers are prepared to work with students and their families to determine the appropriate pacing that should take place with each reading assignment. It is helpful in the long run if your child is reading at least 30 minutes per night, even if it is not necessary to complete an assignment. The more time your son/daughter spends with the written word, the better their comprehension of the text, as well as their enjoyment of the text, will be. 


    *My child loves to read, but is afraid he/she won't like the books assigned to them in high school. What does Seaholm offer that would help to ensure my child continues to love to read?

    As much as we would love to believe every student will love every book assigned to them while they are a student at Seaholm, that will more than likely not be the case, and that is quite alright! All Seaholm English teachers are excited to find out through conversations and essays why a student is not, let's say, a fan of a particular novel or text. Those conversations and essays also help students build their argumentation skills by being able to articulate what about the text isn't appealing, or even why the text should/shouldn't be included in our curriculum. Additionally, students who love to read get a chance to read books they choose through our "choice reading" opportunities, a part of most classes, and through electing to take courses such as Contemporary Literature, a course designed to give time to students to read only the books they choose. 


    *My child is a reluctant reader and hasn't done well in English classes so far. What can be done to help him/her in English classes at Seaholm?

    The Seaholm English teachers believe the best way to help all students succeed is to build better relationships with each one. Those relationships, based on authenticity, compassion, and high expectations for each student lead to better academic outcomes, including better grades, better efforts on assignments, and most importantly, a better experience in class. We also believe in the power of conversation, and through our Harkness seminars, students will have the opportunity to learn from each other in a space that values every voice equally. In order to ensure opportunities for all students to succeed, Seaholm also offers additional support which ranges from X-block assistance from teachers to the opportunity to select the Academic Lab courses, which give students time during the day to focus on areas where they need additional assistance. 


    *How is writing taught at Seaholm?

    Writing is taught through comprehensive methods that are vertically aligned with, and build on, what students learned throughout their middle school years. In 9th grade, students will be introduced to what it takes to put together a whole essay, with attention paid to the purpose of each paragraph, the importance of developing solid arguments, sentence construction, and organization. Grammar and vocabulary are taught within the context of writing within each Seaholm English class, with specific attention paid to word etymology (Greek and Latin roots) in the 9th grade. 


    *Is there anything done outside of the classroom to encourage a love for reading, writing, and/or all things English Language Arts related? 

    Yes! Seaholm offers a number of activities and clubs for students who love all that is offered within the big tent of English Language Arts. We offer debate and forensics teams that have successfully competed at local, state, and national events for decades. We also offer our student-produced literary magazine-The Forest Fire, and our One Act plays, which are written and directed by students. Additionally, we offer opportunities within our Communication Arts wing of ELA, including student-designed podcasts, film clubs and festivals, and our radio station, WSHS, which is about to begin broadcasting music and programming once again. Finally, we welcome all the great ideas that incoming students bring to Seaholm, so if we don't offer something, many of our students take that opportunity and start something themselves! 


    *Are tutors, mentors, or any other types of support available for English classes?

    Yes! Tutors are available through numerous sources, including our National Honor Society students (upperclassmen) who offer tutoring services as part of their service commitment. Mentors are available through select Academic Lab classes. Academic Labs are classes students select, which give them time during the day to work on class assignments and organization of materials. For more information on the availability of academic labs, please consult with your child's counselor. 


    *What are Harkness seminars and how will my child do well if he/she is shy in class?

    Please click here for more information about the English Department's commitment to student voice through Harkness seminars. All Seaholm English teachers are excited about building better relationships with their students through the conversations brought to life via The Harkness philosophy. However, we also know all students are different, and some thrive in classroom conversations while others thrive in other areas. We are committed to finding the best way each student can contribute to classroom conversations and feel successful in challenging themselves to do so. Please consult your child's teacher and/or counselor for further strategies on how to succeed in this area.  


    *How are the books that are taught in English classes chosen?

    There is a multi-step/multi-year process that seeks input from all community stakeholders on choosing books for the ELA curriculum. Parents, students, teachers, department chairs, building administration and central administration all participate on various councils that approve requests for books, new courses, and course name changes. If you are interested in finding out more about participating in the process, please contact either the Seaholm English Department Chair or the Seaholm Administration office for more information. 


    *What makes the English Language Arts program at Seaholm unique as compared to other schools and districts?

    Sitting down with a student and discovering the beauty of a sentence in a classic novel, or unearthing an exceptional idea through writing an essay, or crafting a meaningful poem or speech is what we love to do. But at our core, Seaholm English teachers are committed to something even greater than everything mentioned above, and that is making sure every student who takes an English class at Seaholm feels known, seen, and heard. We want to see their skills improve, and their love of literature, writing, and communication increase, but we want them to know they are valued not just for what they know, but more importantly, for who they are and who they will become. In every discipline, in every classroom, athletic event or creative endeavor, we work to make sure Seaholm students will think with reflection, act with compassion, and perform with honor. That is the Seaholm difference.