D86 introduces new English class for 2022-23 school year


Caroline Petersen

English teacher Jordan Stob’s first period Psychology in Literature course works on an anonymous peer review on a Canvas assignment.

This year, Central is offering a new English class, Psychology in Literature. Students were able to view this new course, as well as others, in the program of studies last winter. 

The English Department is offering two new courses this year – Psychology in Literature and True Stories: Creative Nonfiction. (Caroline Petersen) 


Jessica Hurt, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, was in charge of creating new courses. Her job is based in all things regarding learning and instruction. 

The purpose of introducing new courses is to align curriculums between Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South. This is part of D86’s Strategic Plan. 

“Mr. [David] Lange, who is the English department chair, always says that the two high schools are like two acorns planted next to each other that grew into beautiful oak trees,” Hurt said. “But, we have a mandate from the Board of Education to offer the same courses across the district. We want to make sure that students in the district have the same opportunities.” 

Lange was also involved in creating new courses and working with the English departments at Central and South. 

“I worked with the English department chair at Hinsdale South,” Lange said. “This has been a three year process so far of building new courses. [Around two years ago], we had a group of teachers from both schools that began thinking about what kind of curriculum updates we need.”

Lange also said that it has been 20 years since changes were made to Central’s English course offerings. 

One of the new courses that is being offered this year, Psychology in Literature, has become very popular with students.

Out of 44 students who responded to a survey about which of the new courses they would most like to take, 15 chose Psychology in Literature. 

Jordan Stob, English Teacher and one of the teachers of Psychology in Literature, is just as interested in this new course as her students are. 

“I think naturally I’m interested in these things, so looking at literature through a lens that I’m already naturally comfortable doing makes sense,” Stob said. “I think [students are excited about this course for the same reasons] of why I want to teach this. Kids are really into [how psychology relates to society today] as well [as] wanting to understand why people do what they do or why they react in a certain way.”

The curriculum aims to help students apply what they have learned in class to their real lives. 

“We also hope to expose students to various voices throughout the semester so they can see how not everyone’s experience is the same,” Stob said. “So many factors play a role, so through literature, students can learn to appreciate  unique experiences based on family dynamics, access to services, and the effects of one’s cultural lens.”

In addition to Psychology in Literature, another new English course, True Stories: Creative Nonfiction, was introduced.

Both Psychology in Literature and True Stories: Creative Nonfiction are considered ‘earned honors credit’ classes. 

“Both of those classes are part of [‘earned honors credit’, which is] my personal passion project,” Hurt said. “That’s going to allow students to take a ‘regular level’ class, but still be able to demonstrate honors level thinking and sophistication of thought to, at the end, earn honors level credit for the whole class.” 

There were also four other classes added for this year. The list of courses includes: Exploring Visual Arts (Art), Modern Music Exploration (Music), Woods (Tech) and Tumbling (PE). 

Next year, Central will be offering more courses, such as Themes in Lit: Women’s Literature and Literature of Science, Technology and the Individual – both of which have earned honors credit. 

In the Advocate survey, 97.9% of respondents said they would like to see more classes added in coming years. 

Hurt emphasizes how proud she is of the teams of staff that have worked over the past few years to create new courses. 

“Students usually don’t get to see this level of innovation,” Hurt said. “I’m proud of the work of our staff. It’s just really impressive.” 

For more information on current and future courses, visit the Counseling Department’s website or email your counselor.