The English Department strives to help every student attain maximum effectiveness as a communicator. This commitment is based on the premise that language is the key that unlocks a student’s potential. Through writing, reading, and discussion, the primary focus is to confront the moral foundations evident in classic and contemporary literature. Organizational skills and research techniques are developed through this program. Students are required to complete four years of an English sequence for graduation. Questions about appropriate leveling should be directed to the Department Chair.

English I Regular: 1 Credit

In this introductory genre based class, students will meet for six periods a week to study the basic structure and meaning of the short story, the novel, the Shakespearean play, and poetry.  A strong composition and grammar program begins in this course focusing on the writing process, research techniques, and grammatical structure with emphasis on studying diction and syntax.  The curriculum includes: Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, The Sunflower, The Odyssey, a science fiction novel, a unit on mythology, and various essays, short stories and poems.

Homework requirement: 20 minutes per night

English I – Honors: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation, excellence on a writing sample, and high test scores. This accelerated class also meeting for 6 periods per week is designed for those students ready for a rigorous program, focusing on challenging texts and assignments. The curriculum includes: Macbeth, A Tale of Two Cities, An Ordinary Man, And the Mountains Echoed, The Odyssey, and various essays, short stories and poetry.

Homework requirement: 30 minutes per night

English II – Regular: 1 Credit

In this course, students study American literature to gain insight into what it means to be “American.” The first semester focuses on events prior to the Civil War and the second semester continues through the 20th century. Vocabulary and grammar are emphasized, and the writing process focuses on expository essays. Students also study Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice to understand religious persecution and intolerance. Other texts include The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Crucible, Spoon River Anthology, The Great Gatsby, The Glass Menagerie and The Bean Trees. In addition, students read various selections from a literature anthology, and study a unit on Jewish American writers. A career research paper concludes the year.

Homework requirement: 45 minutes per night

English II – Honors: 1 Credit

In this course, students study American literature to gain insight into what it means to be “American.” The first semester focuses on events prior to the Civil War and the second semester continues through the 20th century. Vocabulary and grammar are emphasized, and the writing process focuses on expository essays. Students also study Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice to understand religious persecution and intolerance. Other texts include The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Crucible, Spoon River Anthology, The Great Gatsby, The Glass Menagerie and The Bean Trees. In addition, students read various selections from a literature anthology, and study a unit on Jewish American writers. A career research paper concludes the year.

Homework requirement: 45 minutes per night

English III – AP English Language and Composition: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation, writing sample and high test scores. This course engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose focusing on American literature and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. This composition course enables students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. The study of language itself –differences between oral and written discourse, formal and informal language, historical changes in speech and writing-becomes the basis for this class. Texts include: On Writing Well, The Merchant of Venice, Bartleby the Scrivener, The Grapes of Wrath, As I lay Dying, The Road, The Shallows and Death of a Salesman. Upon completion of this course students should be able to: analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques; apply effective strategies in their own writing; write in a variety of genres and contexts; understand the progression of ideas inherent in American literature. Students are expected to complete a research paper. This course prepares students to take the AP English Language Exam in May.

Homework requirement: 1.5-2 hours per night

Sophomore Seminar: .5 Credit

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation. In this weekly seminar, students will examine a wide range of texts paying close attention to the author’s reality, style of writing, and historical background. Readings include a Shakespeare comedy, The Last Lecture, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denosovitch, the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Einstein’s Dreams, and Brave New World. Awareness of diction and syntax is stressed.

Homework requirement: 2 hours per week

Junior and Senior Seminars: .5 Credit

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation. These weekly seminars provide students with additional opportunities to read, write and discuss literature. The junior curriculum is aimed at understanding the American experience. These students read documents, speeches, and essays focusing on American persona. Seminar discussions focus on the text and theme. The senior curriculum emphasizes the sometimes controversial concepts in philosophical essays written by a wide variety of authors including Plato, Camus, and Swift. In all seminars, students are expected to write several papers throughout the year. Seminars meet Friday mornings at 7:20 a.m.

Homework requirement: 1 hour per week

English IV – AP Literature and Composition: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: teacher recommendation, appropriate writing sample, and high standardized test scores
AP English IV focuses on developing the types of interpretative skills and writing competencies that prepare students for advanced work at the college level and to excel on the AP exam. Selections are drawn from a wide range of historical periods. Students must read widely and reflect on their reading through extensive discussion and writing. Students must assume considerable responsibility for the amount of reading they do outside of class, completing written logs on all readings. Authors covered include Wilde, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Voltaire, Bronte, Ellison, Woolf, Eliot, and Orwell. Each semester, two 800-word analytic papers are required. Expository essays, often based on A.P. test questions, are completed weekly in class. Students complete a portfolio for their final exam.

Homework requirement: 1.5 hours per night. Junior and senior elective.

Journalism: .5 Credit

This senior elective focuses on journalistic ethics, news writing, editing, advertising, web analysis, and design.  Emphasis is placed on interviewing techniques, writing skills, and photography layout.  Students examine professional news copy as well as write their own copy with the hope of publishing in The Crown Prints.

Homework Requirement: 2 hours per week

World Literature I – Pillars and Axes – Texts that focus on Internal Conflicts: .5 Credit

This first semester elective class will explore the impact of literature as it affects moral decisions. Texts will include: A Doll’s House, Metamorphosis, The Nose and The Overcoat, Hamlet, and So Long, See You Tomorrow. Students will also complete original research by creating a 1000 word biography of a living role model. Students will earn honors credit if they read The Picture of Dorian Gray, write a 1500 word paper, and perform 25-30 lines from Hamlet.

Homework requirement: .5 hour per night

World Literature II – The Individual in Society: .5 Credit

This semester elective will focus on the role that one person plays in society, and how an individual can make a difference. Texts will include Oedipus, Antigone, 1984, Brave New World, Macbeth or The Taming of the Shrew, and Enemy of the People. Students who wish to earn honors credit will also read The Trial by Kafka, write a 1500 word paper, and memorize 25-30 lines of Shakespeare.

Homework requirement: .5 hour per night

The Hero and Anti-Hero – .5 credit

This semester elective will study architypes and discover the role of the hero in literature and in life. Texts will include: Cyrano, The Things They Carried, All the Light We Cannot See, Catcher in the Rye, and Othello or Julius Caesar. Students who wish to earn honors credit will also read the Stranger by Camus, write a 1500 word paper, and memorize 25-30 lines of Shakespeare.

Homework requirement: .5 hour per night

Rhetoric – Truth is Stranger than Fiction- Non-fiction reading and writings: .5 credit

This first semester elective class focuses on non-fiction texts including Nickeled and Dimed, Unbroken, and various essays of varying formats. Rhetorical strategies are emphasized, students will write in-class weekly and complete an 800 word research paper. Students may earn honors credit if they read The Shallows, write a 1500 paper, and create a portfolio to be presented to the English department chair.

Homework requirement: .5 hour per night

Public Speaking: .5 Credit

Elective for 12th grade, second semester. This one semester elective course sharpens oral communication skills by building on specific public speaking abilities and heightening critical listening skills. Students learn the fundamentals of voice control, nonverbal delivery, and audience analysis. Each student prepares and delivers both extemporaneous and planned speeches. Required speeches include: informative, interpretive, demonstrative, and persuasive. For the final exam in May, each student prepares a speech and presents it at Oratory Fair.

Homework requirement: 2 hours per week

Film: .5 Credit

Elective for 12th grade, second semester. In this course, the primary goals are to develop the habits of analysis, criticism, understanding and appreciation of film in a disciplined and creative manner, beginning with a general overview of film theory and research followed by a closer look at twelve specific films. Much of what students learn about language and culture is filtered through the visual media. The course moves beyond text analysis (plot, theme, character) to cinematic concepts such as framing, lighting, editing, and sound without becoming too technical. The course traces the history of cinema in the United States, and explores the star system, the importance of directors, the combat film, romantic comedy, and film noir. Films are screened in class and discussions follow each screening. Early films include those by Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers, Citizen Kane, and Singing in the Rain. Modern directors, such as Penny Marshall, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are studied as well.

Homework requirement: .5 hour per night

Drama: .5 Credit

This semester elective will study The Tempest by Shakespeare, Pygmalion by Shaw, and Our Town by Wilder to examine dramatic techniques and styles. Then, as the semester final, students will perform scenes from these plays.

Homework requirement: .5 hour per night

Creative Writing: .5 Credit

This semester elective will study a variety of great writing and students will create their own poetry, short stories, and a children’s book.

Homework requirement: .5 hour per night