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District will introduce college-level English course

March 04, 2000

Irma Lemus

BURBANK -- Stating a majority of high school seniors are unprepared

for college English courses, the Burbank Board of Education approved a

college-level class to be taught beginning in the fall.

The "Senior Reading and Composition Course," which high school

seniors may choose to take instead of the traditional 12th-grade English

course, was passed by a unanimous vote at Thursday's board meeting.

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Ron Shecklen, John Burroughs High School co-principal, said there is a

a real need for the class in the district.

"This is not just a problem in Burbank. Nationally, 59% of students

entering college are not prepared, so they are placed in remedial English

classes," Shecklen said.

Tina Cantrell, director of secondary education, said the class is

modeled after the freshman English class at Glendale Community College.

The course emphasizes grammar and thesis-based writing, she said.

"The difference is that regular grade-12 English classes focus on

British literature. This class will give students a jump start on

college-level requirements," Cantrell said.

Students who take the class can receive three units of college credit

if they attend GCC, she said.

School board member Trish Burnett said the need for the class is

evidence Burbank schools are not doing a good enough job preparing

students for college.

"We do need a class like this, but we should be preparing students

from the elementary school level," Burnett said. "I've been pushing for

English classes to be much more focused on in-depth research writing."

Armen Zenjiryan, 17, a Burbank High School senior and student

representative to the school board, said the new English option is

overdue.

"I think it's great. It's tough on a lot of students who do not know

the language and this will prepare them," Zenjiryan said.

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