Another new English course is coming to Huntington High School. Seniors will be able to enroll in Literary Fantasy beginning in the 2018/19 school year.
Trustees approved the new class offering during a public meeting on Tuesday, September 26 in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium. The district’s Subject Matter Council gave a green light to the course proposal last March 16 and the Educational Development Committee signed off on it on May 25. The one semester, half-credit class will require a .1 full-time equivalent increase in teaching staff.
“This course will provide a survey of sub-genres that fall under the umbrella term Literary Fantasy, from medieval and epic fantasy to magical realism,” states the new course proposal presented to trustees. “Fantasy is not mere escapism; it is an extension and exploration of authors’ contemporary cultural situations. Epic fantasy uncovers the nuances in the chaos between good versus evil by placing seemingly ordinary people in consequential events, testing their limits and strengths. Contemporary fantasy evolves from this form and offers alternative ways of viewing the world. By focusing on fantastic themes and writing about the impossible, authors attempt to define the real world and to understand their historical moment.”
Assistant Superintendent Beth McCoy told trustees that students enrolled in the course “will be responsible for completing a rigorous research-based project, which allows them to explore this complex genre on their own in order to demonstrate their learning.”
Start-up materials for the new course are estimated to run about $1,800. “This course, as well as the [new] science fiction course, combine focus on a tradition of literature that has existed since Homer first sung the verses of The Odyssey,” states the rationale for the new English class. “In fact, many of us have been surrounded by fantastic literature from our youth. Currently, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, Star Wars and The Man in the High Castle permeate popular culture. Schools encourage the reading of fantastic literature throughout classes, albeit in different contexts, such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Simply put, fantasy explores what is impossible, while science fiction explores what could be possible. Students in these courses will gain an understanding of the historical and cultural implications of science fiction and fantasy.”
The prerequisite for Literary Fantasy is English 11 Regents or another eleventh grade English course, such as AP Language and Composition or AP Seminar. Annual registration for the new class is estimated at 29 seniors.