Lexie Read


Summer 2021


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Karen Moroz

Content Expert

Donna Philippot


As the demographics of our nation’s schools change dramatically, the issue of the achievement gap within our schools becomes more pronounced. Our students are more diverse in race, ability, language and sexual orientation than ever before. Along with these changes, come changes in the needs and learning styles of our students. It is critical for academic success that students are engaged in material that is relevant to their own lives and reflects their lived experiences. However, in secondary English departments across the country, teachers are being asked to teach the same texts and use the same materials that have been used for 50 years. Much of this curriculum is geared towards a white, middle class, English speaking audience of students and does not reflect the needs of our students today. This curriculum, which is standard in so many English classrooms, is holding students back from academic success as well as discouraging meaningful learning experiences. The purpose of this research is to answer the question: how can the current Minnesota State secondary English/Language Arts curriculum be adapted at the classroom level to be more accessible and relevant to a diverse population of students? To answer this question, a model curriculum was designed with focus on student engagement, relativity and mental health. The curriculum is focused on teaching Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, but can be adapted to many of the required texts in English. This project draws upon the idea of backwards curriculum design to engage students in meaningful conversation and reflection, give students a deeper understanding of material through the use of windows and mirrors and ask students to think critically about human nature and social issues.

Project Type









School of Education Student Capstone Projects

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