Past & present Shorewood

What underclassmen don’t know about how Shorewood has changed

by Sophia Calandrillo, Staff

Scantron tests every week? The choice between honors and standard classes? No retakes or open-note tests? Although these concepts may seem foreign to the current underclassmen population, not too long ago they were the norm at Shorewood. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, major changes have been instilled at our school. These changes have been appreciated by some students, but very ill-received by others.

One glaring change from freshman to senior year regarding the way in which classes are run has been the standard/honors setup. As most seniors remember, 9th and 10th graders were given the option to register for either the standard or honors option for some classes prior to starting that grade level. However, after the pandemic hit, this option was taken away and all students, regardless of whether or not they wanted to be, were pushed into designated “honors” classes. 

Although these classes retained some of the prior honors curriculum, several of them were altered. For example, Honors Bio no longer requires that students complete a Bio Expo project. Furthermore, Honors English 9 used to mandate that students complete a summer assignment as well as read and take notes on “The Odyssey,” a book that current freshmen no longer read. While upperclassmen are certainly happy that 9th graders dodged taking grueling notes on this book, it seems unfair that current underclassmen are doing less work yet still receiving the same “honors” label on their high school transcripts. For the 2022-23 school year, the option to take honors or standard science was reinstated for freshmen; however, honors classes are still not as rigorous as they once were.

Although there have been some changes at Shorewood that benefit solely underclassmen, there are other differences post-COVID that benefit all students. For example, attendance seems to have become more lenient following the return from COVID-19, with teachers getting rid of absence-related grade penalties. Some teachers, however, continue to be strict on tardiness, creating a disconnect between teachers who barely take attendance and those who will go to extremes to make sure their students come to class (even locking them out if they’re late!). 

Furthermore, open-note tests and retakes have become much more common following a return to school from the pandemic. Teachers rationalize that these measures enable students to make mistakes the first time around without having this harm their grade, still learning the necessary content when they retake or correct their original tests. Many upperclassmen, myself included, are strongly in favor of increased opportunities to raise one’s grade through corrections or retakes, especially since we’re still learning. However, there is no denying that most seniors did not have these opportunities prior to COVID-19, which may have done irreparable damage to their GPA. 

In regards to the social aspect, COVID-19 has also altered the way in which Shorewood events and dances occur. As some seniors might remember, dances used to be large and football games incredibly enthusiastic, both events that largely took a hit in the years following the pandemic. Junior year attendance at dances was low and participation at football games below what it used to be. 

As things began to return to normal this past year, and we were even able to have our first indoor homecoming assembly since 9th grade, attendance continues to lag somewhat. However, losing precious time with our class has also made several people realize the true value of attending school events, making them even more special and memorable than before.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted everyone’s high school experience, but our senior class has persevered through the good and the bad. Although some parts of Shorewood have changed for the better and worse, our class’ determination to make the most of the past four years has remained constant. I’m sure each and every senior will carry this optimistic mindset with them as they head into whatever future plans come next.