A new class at a California high school has students writing essays for their teacher and writing in a style not commonly found in academic writing.
The students’ work, called “Coffee, Chocolate, and More Coffee,” was published online Thursday by the California Department of Education and was created by two students at Santa Monica High School.
In the class, students wrote essays on subjects like “what it is like to be gay in America,” “a way to raise a child with a disability,” and “the difference between a college degree and a bachelor’s degree.”
The class was designed by students from Santa Monica, a historically black and Latino high school in Los Angeles.
Its teachers have a history of working with students with disabilities.
Santa Monica High senior Jessica DeMarco said the students’ essay topics were “very important.”
“They’re writing things that people will actually read and read things that will help the students understand things that we may not know,” she said.
“We’re trying to teach people how to talk about themselves, and to not feel ashamed about that.”
The students said they were encouraged by the teacher to be “more self-aware” and “empower” themselves.
The teacher did not respond to a request for comment.
Santa Clarita Independent School District spokeswoman Rachel Leventhal said in an email that the district “is committed to providing high-quality education for all students regardless of their backgrounds.”
The district has an online learning platform called MyClass.org that lets students upload their work.
The platform was created to help districts track and track students, she said, and allows administrators to identify and engage students and parents to help improve their learning.
Leventhal added that the online platform also helps parents, administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders better understand what’s happening in the classroom.
“As we’re all aware of how difficult it is for parents to get into the classroom, I think this is an important opportunity for us to work together to create a more inclusive and engaging learning environment,” she wrote.
“The MyClass platform is a place for students to share and collaborate on their ideas and work on the project they’ve created, in the hopes that their ideas can become part of the curriculum.”
The teachers at Santa Clarita High School have previously worked in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
DeMarco said that while her class was different than her past work, she was encouraged to see that “people are willing to tackle this in an honest way.”
She added: “I hope they’re going to continue to be motivated to do good in their lives.”