This year in our Honors Freshmen Literature & Composition course we are piloting a new unit collaboratively designed by Bellevue School District freshmen teachers. This proposed pilot unit will better align with the expectations of the Common Core State Standards, College and Career Readiness Standards, and expand the diversity of voices in the current curriculum.

During the design phase, an Honors Freshman Literature and Composition Adoption Committee comprised of teachers, parents and administration oversaw the proposed selection of instructional materials for the pilot unit. These proposed instructional materials are available at the links below. Later this spring we will be soliciting feedback about the new unit through student and parent surveys in electronic or hard copy form. Below is a brief overview the pilot unit:


Students will study multiple texts to explore the impact of cultural identity, personal decisions, and life struggles as it pertains to coming-of-age. After reading the texts, students will demonstrate their ability to write a well-organized expository essay by responding to one of the unit’s essential questions to examine one or more characters from their short stories. Additionally, students will read a novel of their choice independently and will need to obtain their own copy of the novel.  They can obtain a copy by checking out a novel at their school library or at one of the King County Libraries.

Essential Questions

  • How do cultural experiences shape individual identity?
  • How do our decisions impact ourselves and the people around us?
  • How do life struggles force us to mature?

Proposed Texts*

  • Excerpt: How to be black, Baratunde Thurston
  • “Jing-mei Woo ‘Two Kinds‘”, from Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club
  • Marigolds“, Eugenia Collier
  • “Distillation”, Hugo Martinez Serros (Available at the Bellevue School District Office or Bellevue King County Libraries)
  • Tongue Tied“, by Maxine Hong Kingston

**If students or parents have a concern about a particular text, an alternate will be provided by the teacher.

At the end of the pilot period all feedback and data will be reviewed and a recommendation will be made for the 2017-18 school year. If you have any questions or comments about this pilot unit, please contact Cathy Wellington at [email protected].

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.