New Electives This Year Include Fighting Fake News, Writing for College

By Rick Tony, Director of Studies
At Solebury, we celebrate the individual and encourage our students to pursue their passions. But where do these passions come from? Certainly some students enter Solebury knowing the areas of study they would like to explore, taking advantage of myriad opportunities to grow an interest. In other cases, though, students discover something within themselves that they didn’t know was there by taking a class or trying a sport, a club, or an activity for the very first time.

In the academic realm, we keep Solebury School’s program fresh and innovative by offering new courses each year. Not only does this provide great variety to our students with the possibility of igniting a new passion for them, it also rejuvenates the faculty members who create new courses. They afford our teachers a chance to share something personal with our students that has resonated deeply with them.

Among our many new electives offered for the 2018-19 school year, “Fighting Fake News” and “Writing for College” are both taught by long-time Social Studies and ESL teacher, Russ Carrick. Discerning fact from spin, truth from deception has never been more important or relevant for our students. Russ combines history and current events in his “Fighting Fake News” course to address the question “How did we get here?” His students are learning how to spot and defend themselves against media manipulation and how to discern trustworthy news sources. In creating a new course, teachers must consider how students will be assessed and in this case, student portfolios along with class participation both play a significant role in their assessment.

Just as useful, the “Writing for College” course gives our students valuable insights into what can be a daunting task — writing a college-level research paper. Russ created a deliberate, process-based approach that avoids common pitfalls while fostering student curiosity. Russ’ personal experience with this method served him well through his own schooling, and he has been eager to share it with our students. At the end of the course, student feedback will inform any revisions on this method when it runs during our winter trimester.  

A final note: Student input always helps us shape which new electives to offer each year, so if your student has an idea for a course, encourage him or her to share that suggestion with me or with their advisor. That’s not fake news — it’s the verifiable truth.

Explore our 2018-19 Academic Bulletin for a comprehensive list of all Solebury School courses, including descriptions of each.