High School English teachers in Swain County, NC receive a dream come true this month as Appalachian GEAR UP purchases $8,000 of new literature for the classroom.
Nearly 425 ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students now have access to books representing some of the most engaging, thought-provoking, and widely accepted classical masterpieces, poetry, and international literature available. Educators from Swain County High School English Department identified books on their wish list, most of which are recommended by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
“These books will allow students to read stories that are modern, diverse, and representative of who they are as teenagers and students. Often our reading lists become dry, rote texts that have been taught for decades. I want my students, and other English teachers to have the opportunity to teach engaging and connected texts,” says Amelia Allman, freshman academy lead teacher. Some of the books include Kindred by Octavia Butler, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.
Swain County High School teacher and English department chair Annette Clapsaddle remarks, “Most small, public schools cannot provide such a well-rounded opportunity for their students, because it is simply too cost prohibitive… Now our students have choice and unimpeded access. They have the opportunity to really study a work as a community.”
The Swain County High School English Department typically gets $150 for books each year. Swain County is one of 11 Western North Carolina districts that make up Appalachian GEAR UP.
Appalachian GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) aims to improve college-going mindsets, high school graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment rates through a wide range of research-grounded services to students, families, and teachers. GEAR UP is a federally funded college access program designed to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education immediately after high school. For more information, visit www.gearup.appstate.edu.