New textbooks for AP U.S. History, world language courses include improved features


MAKER OF THE MAKERSPACE: Media department chairperson Theresa Ramos holds up an old electronic to be used in the new makerspace. According to Ramos, this makerspace, created with donated electronics, video games, and a grant the media center has received, will be a place for students to learn and express their creativity.


With the beginning of the new school year, the world language and social studies departments will be using new textbooks in most classes.

According to Andrea Yocum, world language department chairperson and French teacher, French 1, 2 and 3, as well as all Spanish and German classes, will receive textbooks from a new publisher. French 4 students will use an updated edition of last year’s textbook. Additionally, AP French will add  a supplementary book to its curriculum.

In the social studies department, all of the textbooks except those for AP European History and AP Government will be changed, according to Tracy Hadden, social studies department chairperson.

Psychology teacher Robin Pletcher said textbooks are updated every six to seven years in order for students to get current information in various content areas.

“Anytime you can get the most current information, the better. AP Psychology curriculum has 14 subtopics, and the text covers those 14 subtopics excellently,” she said via email.

With respect to the French classes’ textbook changes, Yocum said the new series will include pre-AP exercises as well as a more communicative approach to learning.

French 4 student and junior Cindy Lee said via email, “For me, the pre-AP exercises seem helpful in preparation for next year. However, for other students, it may be less beneficial if they aren’t taking AP French. But since it’s all to practice French, hopefully students, both planning and not planning to take AP later on, will understand the topic and learn more.”

Yocum said via email, “For the French textbooks, we were looking to modernize our curriculum so that it better reflects the French speaking world, called ‘la francophonie.’”

Lee said she has utilized textbooks in her previous world language classes as a resource for vocabulary and exercises.

She said, “I think the changes will be beneficial to the students and make it easier on the teachers as well as (when) they plan the curriculum.”

Lee said new textbooks for the world language classes after seven years also keep the information and terminology up to date.

She said,  “I feel like it is more helpful to have latest editions, especially since the previous textbooks had vocab that wasn’t applicable to today, like ‘cassettes’ and camera ‘film.’ I hope that it will also be more up to date with the culture aspects as well, such as popular music and artists.”

In addition to staying current and in line with the curriculum, Pletcher said the new psychology textbooks also have some technological features that students could take advantage of. They include a website companion that offers supplemental tools to “aid learning and mastery of the content,” according to Pletcher.

Lee, who plans to take AP Psychology during her senior year, said such supplementary tools are helpful to students.

She said, “Personally, I love the fact that such options are available to students. Even though I don’t use them too often myself, I think it’s useful when studying and an encouragement to take initiative towards education. I find tools such as these most helpful when I don’t understand a topic, because it gives me more practice and hopefully more viewpoints to look at the topic.”

Pletcher said, “I am excited about the new book.”