Composition competition

Mr. Gunnink prepares to teach a new English course next school year


The new Honors College Rhetoric and Composition course will be an English IV class taught selectively by Jones English teacher Brady Gunnink and offered to seniors starting next year.

“I was very excited to write up this course, and to my surprise, CPS immediately approved the course,” said Gunnink. 

Gunnink is pleased that he has the opportunity to bring this type of class to the Jones community. 

“A class that you might think of as sort of the sequel to AP Language and Composition (AP Lang) or to [Contemporary Lit],” said Gunnink. “We’ve had so many students that have asked us, ‘What can we take in our senior year that continues the work that we’ve done in the 11th grade?’”

There are a handful of other English classes and electives offered to upperclassmen. However, a class focused on rhetoric, argument development, and nonfiction was something Gunnink and the English department realized students wanted. 

“I think it’s nice to have an option that’s like AP Lang. I enjoy language composition more than analyzing literature,” said AP Lang student Abby Breitenbach ‘24. “What’s outlined in the course seems cool and I think it’s an important thing for seniors to take.”

As course scheduling approaches, many juniors are considering taking the Honors College Rhetoric and Composition class. 

“I’m really hoping that I do get into the class, and I know it’s going to be a popular class. I’m crossing my fingers because I really like the content of the class,” said current AP Lang student Carol Hughes ‘24. 

Many students enjoy the AP Lang and AP Seminar classes Gunnink has taught, in part because of the bonds he creates with students. 

“I think Mr. Gunnink does a good job of being a teacher but also someone who you can confide in,” said Giselle Coronado ‘24, current AP Lang and AP Seminar student. “The relationship he builds with every one of his students is a very comfortable one. He obviously cares about us succeeding and trying our best.”

Students also enjoy that Gunnink utilizes the “pointless” grading system, where students are graded on their growth rather than numerical results. 

“I thought [AP Lang] was going to be a lot more difficult. I thought I was [going to] be graded regularly, but the pointless grading is definitely a better alternative and very effective with the way that I manage this class,” said Coronado. 

The pointless grading approach is something Gunnink has incorporated into all his classes, including College Rhetoric and Composition.

“I’m definitely going to do [some type of] upgrading [to the] system. It will probably be pointless. Maybe it’ll be something slightly different [from the pointless system],” he said. “But I want to continue the spirit of upgrading and deemphasizing specific grades on specific assignments.”

Coronado echoes that sentiment.

“A student’s academic performance [shouldn’t be] based off of a score on a test or quiz,” said Coronado.

Apart from the appeal of the grading system and course content, other students may also be interested in Gunnink’s course due to his reputation as a teacher. 

“Before taking [AP] Lang, I had heard that [Gunnink] was a very good teacher,” says Chiara McGowan ‘24. “[I’ve heard he’s] very sweet and understanding and that [many] of his students grow a lot in terms of their writing and overall skills.”

As course scheduling begins, Honors College Rhetoric and Composition is a course that rising seniors are considering. 

“If you liked the 11th-grade English curriculum, you’d probably like my class,” said Gunnink. “This is not a blow-off class. This is not going to be a dumping ground class. I envision the people who choose this are really going to want to take this.”