English Department

ENGLISH

The courses offered by the English Department fall into two categories: core content courses and electives. The core courses are divided into college preparatory levels and honors levels for each grade, with Advanced Placement offerings in the 11th and 12th grades. The honors and AP courses require greater self-motivation and independence on the part of the student. They are the most rigorous and demand that students read at a faster pace and write on a sophisticated level. Students in the 9th grade World Cultures program who seek entrance into the 10th grade honors program must establish and achieve goals, in consultation with their teachers, that reflect their motivation and ability to meet the challenges posed by an honors-level course. In the 10th and 11th grades, students must secure a teacher recommendation. A teacher’s recommendation places a student in a class of the appropriate level according to the student’s past performance, initiative, and ability. Engaging in research utilizing the Modern Language Association format is required at every level. Summer reading is a requirement for all students. Elective courses are selected by the students according to their interests.

English 9: Literature & Composition

Grade Level 9

5 Credits - Full Year

The English component of the interdisciplinary World Cultures program emphasizes global awareness and critical thinking skills through the close reading of literature. In addition, students are introduced at this level to literary genres, Shakespeare, and the research process. The curriculum includes a cross-cultural examination of universal themes, as reflected through both the traditional canon and non-western, contemporary writers. Students develop techniques of literary analysis through many opportunities provided for writing and engaging in diverse projects. Students wishing to pursue honors level study in 10th grade must complete the optional 9th grade portfolio.

English 10: British Literature

Grade Level 10

5 Credits - Full Year

The five strands of the Language Arts Core Curriculum Content Standards--reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing--are developed in this course through the study of the literary heritage of Great Britain and its Commonwealth countries. The student’s awareness of how English literature has played a unique role in helping to shape the ideas and institutions of Western culture is enhanced through an examination of representative genres. Writing and other activities are motivated by the literature.

English 10 Honors: British Literature

Grade Level 10

Teacher Recommendation Required; Completion of Honors Portfolio Required

5 Credits - Full Year

English 10 Honors is an accelerated study of the literary heritage of Great Britain and its Commonwealth countries. The reading and writing components are more advanced than in English 10. Students will be required to demonstrate an advanced level of self-motivation and assume responsibility for their learning.


AP Seminar
Prerequisite: Honors Recommendation and Application Process
Grade Level 10
5 Credits - Full Year

AP Seminar, which serves to fulfill the sophomore year of English requirements, is a foundational course in the AP Capstone Program that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives.  Using an inquiry framework, students practice reading and analyzing articles, research studies, and foundational literary and philosophical texts; listening to and viewing speeches, broadcasts, and personal accounts; and experiencing artistic works and performances. Students learn to synthesize information from multiple sources, develop their own perspectives in research-based written essays, and design and deliver oral and visual presentations, both individually and as part of team.  Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments and to produce research-based compositions and presentations. To receive AP weighting, students who enroll in AP Seminar must complete all coursework, must take the AP Seminar Exam in May, and must also enroll in AP Research for the junior or senior year in fulfillment of the two-year AP Capstone Certificate Program.

English 11: American Literature

Grade Level 11

5 Credits - Full Year

The five strands of the Language Arts Core Curriculum Content Standards--reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing--are developed through the study of American literature and culture. Through a variety of activities and through a thematic approach to the literature, students will gain a better understanding of the major ideas and values of American society.

English 11 Honors: American Studies

Grade Level 11

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation OR B+ minimum in

English 10 CP and Quality Writing Assessment

5 Credits - Full Year

American Studies is designed with the idea of connecting literature to the history and political, social, and economic climate of a particular time period. The course traces the development of American culture and defines the American character from the Puritan through the modern periods in terms of literature, art, music, architecture, philosophy, and technology. This approach enables students to understand the context for the development of American ideas in addition to facilitating their expertise in the strands of the Language Arts: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing.

English 11: Advanced Placement Language & Composition

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation OR B+ minimum in English 10

Honors and Qualifying Exam OR A- minimum in English 10 CP and Qualifying Exam

Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.

Grade Level 11

5 Credits - Full Year

The Advanced Placement Language and Composition course emphasizes skilled reading of prose, rather than poetry. Students will be instructed in the reading, interpretation, and analysis of a wide variety of complex prose texts written in a range of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts. The development of effective expository, analytical, and argumentative writing styles and approaches is one of the primary objectives of this course. Teacher recommendation is required for admission. The course is open to juniors and seniors only. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP Language and Composition Exam at the end of the year.

English 12: World Literature

Grade Level 12

5 Credits - Full Year

English 12 is a study of major works that have shaped Western thought. Students will gain a deeper understanding of Western heritage through an examination of a broad spectrum of world literature. This literature is the basis from which students will develop and sharpen their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing skills. Emphasis is placed on developing close reading strategies and analyzing literature through coherent, cogent writing.

English 12 Honors: Humanities                     

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation OR B+ minimum in

English 11 CP and Qualifying Writing Assessment

Grade Level 12

5 Credits - Full Year

This course surveys the development of Western culture from the classical period through the modern period. Representative examples of literature, philosophy, architecture, art, music, and drama are examined, thus relating students to their cultural heritage. This synthesis of the arts provides students with many opportunities to construct their own meanings through reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and research. Students emerge with an understanding of themes and concepts that shape a coherent vision of Western culture.

English 12: Advanced Placement Literature & Composition

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation OR B+ minimum in English 11

Honors and Qualifying Exam OR A- minimum in English 11 CP and Qualifying Exam

Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.

Grade Level 12

5 Credits - Full Year

The Advanced Placement course in English Literature and Composition involves students in the close reading and critical analysis of literature in preparation for the College Board Advanced Placement examination. By deepening their understanding of literature, students will develop critical standards. Regular writing assignments will include predominantly analytical pieces. This course is open to seniors only. Teacher recommendation is required. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP Literature and Composition Exam at the end of the year.

Public Speaking

Grade Level 9-12

2.5 Credits - Semester

Public Speaking is a class that is designed to nurture the hesitant speaker as well as further the abilities of students already familiar with the skills needed to speak in front of an audience. Students will learn how to craft and deliver speeches for a variety of purposes and audiences. Progress will be charted through self- and peer-evaluations as well as the video recording of speeches. This course will provide students with practical speaking skills for high school, college, and the workplace. They will develop a new kind of self-confidence that will grow, as they become more effective speakers.

Acting Workshop I

Grade Level 9-12

2.5 Credits - Semester

This course will actively involve students in all aspects of acting and the skills required to perform on stage. This course is designed for all students regardless of experience. All students can benefit from the focus skills of this course as they are related to public presence, presentation, audience awareness, and communication. Students will focus on becoming believable actors and effective communicators of human experience and thought.   Additionally, they will gain knowledge of the cultural and literary heritage of the theatre, as well as a greater appreciation for the range of human experience.

Acting Workshop II Grade Level 9-12 Prerequisite: Acting Workshop I 2.5 Credits - Semester


This course will build on the skills of Acting Workshop I to provide students deeper experience in stage performance.  This course is designed for students who have successfully completed Acting Workshop I. In addition to increasing confidence in stage presence, presentation, audience awareness, and effective communication, students will grow in their ability and range as actors, exploring various methods and genres of performance. In Acting Workshop II, students will more independently explore choices about individual performance and will be able to identify their own relationship to acting and recognize potential obstacles to authentic and believable stage performance. Students will strengthen their performance through blocking and movement. Students will explore various methods of characterization and storytelling and engage in performance critique and thinking about theater as both a viewer and performer.


Film Studies                                                                                                     

Grade Level 9-12

2.5 Credits - Semester

Film Studies is structured primarily as an introductory course to the elements and techniques of film art. The course is predicated on the assumption that film, while commonly viewed as entertainment, is also a valid and serious art form. Therefore, the course approaches this art form from three critical perspectives: analytical, historical/cultural, and aesthetic. To this end, shots, sequences, and a wide range of films from feature-length narratives to animated, experimental, and documentary shorts will be shown to illustrate the material covered in classroom discussions, the styles present during a particular film period, the establishment of film genres, and the accomplishments of noted artists/auteurs.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Grade Level 9-12

2.5 or 5 Credits

The English as a Second Language Program provides an opportunity for those students needing assistance in learning the English language. The purpose of the program is to provide students with sufficient fluency in all areas of English to be successfully integrated into the mainstream school program. The program is offered in the high school one period each day for the entire school year. Students enter the program through testing and exit upon becoming English proficient.


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