For being less than two miles away from each other, one might believe that these two high schools would have more connections than they really do, which, as of now, is near zero.
“I know, like, one person from Haverford,” a student from Lower Merion High School said, with his friend chiming in that he knows zero.
“I only met friends from LM through a summer camp unrelated from the schools… and I don’t have any connection with them through any school activities,” a student from Haverford said.
So far, the current relationship that Haverford has with nearby high schools—namely Lower Merion—is extremely limited; yet, it seems like some might be interested in the collaboration of the two schools.
“I think that interactions with different communities can only be good for this school,” a Haverford student said.
But despite the positive feedback from the idea, much would be needed to be done in order for this proposal to come to life; already, there are major differences in curriculum, like how while tenth grade Lower Merion students are reading American titles and learning about the American Dream in English, tenth grade Haverford students are focusing on more foreign literature from around the globe.
“We’ve tried to divide up the years based on what we think would be helpful for the particular grade level. We make an effort sophomore year to teach you guys books that are not necessarily written by Americans.”Ms. Taylor Smith-Kan
“We’ve tried to divide up the years based on what we think would be helpful for the particular grade level,” English teacher Ms. Taylor Smith-Kan said. “We make an effort sophomore year to teach you guys books that are not necessarily written by Americans.”
Combining curriculums would mean redistributing books all over, making sure they fit the reading level of the grade and the theme of the other books taught that year. In addition, planning it out with not only Haverford teachers but also Lower Merion teachers would be quite the challenge.
“It would be tough. I think the only way to do that would be to have only one person decide the plan and lay it out ahead of time,” Ms. Smith-Kan said.
Perhaps most importantly though, is losing the benefits of being a private school when having to collaborate with a public school.
“The nice thing about private schools is that teachers have a lot of autonomy, whereas in public schools they are dictated by the state.”Ms. Taylor Smith-Kan
“The nice thing about private schools is that teachers have a lot of autonomy, whereas in public schools they are dictated by the state,” Ms. Smith-Kan said. “It kind of defeats the purpose of a private school.”
But, of course, two curriculums do not have to be perfectly synced to allow collaboration.
“If you’re only aligning the texts, then that’s a great idea because you have a lot of kids that are reading a similar thing, and you could do projects and stuff like that,” Ms. Smith-Kan said.
Along with that, while English teachers enjoy picking out a theme and novels that align with their theme for each year, it’s not exactly necessary—and changes in books happen all the time.
“To me, as an English teacher, it doesn’t really matter what [book] you’re teaching because you can sort of talk about anything… if it’s a good book. We switch books all the time at Haverford,” Ms. Smith-Kan said.
So, while somewhat difficult, the proposal is somewhat feasible and an exciting possibility for some students, but maybe not for everyone.
“I think a lot of people wouldn’t like it, because it’s like, ‘Why are you making me interact with other people outside of my friend group? I’m cool with the friends I’m with’” a Haverford student said. “In the grand scheme of things I believe it’d be for the better, though.”