English department conflicted about English “detracking”


Michelle Yamamoto

Polls taken from sophomore English students show that over half of sophomores enrolled in on-level English (left) would not support the English classes being detracked, while over 75% of students in accelerated English (right) believe the same. Data collected by Jordan Gutlerner.

In previous years, there have been two options for sophomore English classes: accelerated and standard English. This may change soon if the school decides to “detrack” sophomore English classes, creating one class for all students. 

The administration has asked the English department for their input and the English department recorded student desires through an anonymous survey. The administration is currently working on reaching a decision. 

There have been several different responses within the school to this change. English teacher Jordan Gutlerner feels that this change will negatively affect students. 

“My concerns are that the students who want a real challenge won’t get it,” says Gutlerner, ”And that the students that need the most help won’t get it.”

Gutlerner believes that the new system would mean that teachers would be unable to tailor their classes to the skill levels of students like they were previously able to. 

On the other hand, English teacher Emily Hensley says that de-tracking brings a positive change to sophomore English classes. 

“A lot of research has shown that [in] schools that have de-tracked, students that are high achieving continue to be high achieving and those that struggle tend to improve,” says Hensley. 

Hensley says de-tracking is a way to “improve school climate, decrease academic toxicity, [and] encourage students who don’t historically see themselves in the IB program participate in some way.” 

Detracking will allow Lincoln to “close the achievement gap between white students and students of color,” Hensley says. “There’s no guarantee that blending these two classes will lead to this outcome, but I am of that opinion.”

If the administration decides to detrack sophomore English classes there will surely be an impact on Lincoln students. It remains to be seen how the administration will handle the situation and include the wants and needs of students, teachers and the school.