Course Descriptions:

English I:

At the English I level, writing, research, and the study of world literature are the main objectives of the course. The students learn sound writing skills with a focus on organization, clarity and logic. The writing assignments and literature selections complement both subject matter and follow a chronological sequence. Students develop and improve their analytical reading skills via both in-class reading assignments, as well as, through outside reading projects. Research and technology skills help students to develop the necessary tools to locate and present information. Students who successfully complete English I develop the skills they need to meet with success in all high school courses and are able to carry on independent research in any subject area and present that research in an appropriate medium. World Literature includes cooperative learning, formative assessments, and performance-based assessments. The class strives to hear the voice of each individual as students learn to listen actively, question, and comprehend. Students are asked to show their understanding of concepts and material in a variety of ways, both individually and collectively.

English II:

The primary purpose of the English II program in literature and composition is to acquaint students with the major writers and themes in American literature from our nation's inception to 1900. The literature is organized chronologically and exposes students to a variety of works from different authors and genres covering: Shakespearean drama, Colonial America, Romanticism, Regionalism/Realism.

The course emphasizes the developmental skills necessary to enhance students' ability to read critically and understand not only the literature itself, but also the literacy movements and influences that helped shape the prose and poetry of American writers.

In addition to literary study, students will focus on strengthening skills in critical thinking, writing, research, vocabulary, grammar, test-taking strategies and values clarifications. The overall objective of English II is to provide a rich environment in which students develop and refine the critical reading, writing, and analytical skills required to achieve success.

English III:

English III, American Literature II, offers a sampling of American literature and film designed to capture the momentous conflict and change from 1900 to the present. The course is organized thematically with consideration to a diversity of voice and view. Themes include:

  • The Hero Figure/Dreamer

  • Human Struggle and War

  • Family Relationships

  • Alienation: The Search for Personal Identity

  • Man and the Environment

Analytical/ critical reading and viewing skills are emphasized, as well as the strengthening and refinement of writing skills. Formal prose and creative writing assignments assist in the development of the student’s personal voice and style. In addition to literary study and writing, students continue building strengths in vocabulary, grammar, research, and study skills. The overall objective of English III is to foster an understanding of the American experience through literature and film, and to experience self-discovery through the process of writing.

English IV:

English 4 exposes students to a selection of classic and modern literary and artistic works and emphasizes analytical, expressive, and discovery writing based primarily on their responses to those works. The course is delivered through thematic units as follows: Transition/Identity, Home and Family, Moral Choices, Tradition and Progress and Commentary on Society. Each thematic unit will focus on a major literary work, with support selections drawn from short stories, poetry, drama and film. English 4 refines and enhances the knowledge and skills acquired during the first three years of the English program, and introduces students to more sophisticated concepts through literature and film. In addition, students strengthen skills in critical thinking, writing, speaking, viewing, research, and vocabulary. The overall objective of English 4 is to help students develop the necessary language, writing, and analytical skills required to transition effectively to college study or alternate life directions.

The English IV curriculum will divide areas of study by theme as follows:

  • Transition/Coming of Age/Identity: How do authors convey voice and identity through narrative?

  • Home and Family: How does culture influence family relationships?

  • Moral Choices: How do individuals respond to external pressures that challenge their personal principles?

  • Tradition and Progress: How do we determine what traditions are worth keeping? Commentary on Society: How do society’s expectations influence the way we define ourselves?

Throughout all four quarters, students will engage in sustained writing in various formats and in readings intended to expand the scope of course work and to increase the rigor of the program in preparation for college.

AP English Literature and Composition:

AP English Literature and Composition is a college/university-level course which meets the rigors of a university Humanities course. The class provides intellectual challenges with thought provoking questions and the opportunity to read, understand, explain, and analyze literature.

The literature that is studied in this course requires close reading in order to comprehend the multiple meanings and the rich social, artistic, and cultural values of the works. The historical development of literature will provide the framework in which dramas, novels, short stories, poetry, and expository essays are studied. Extensive independent reading and participation in class discussions are necessary for success in this class.

Students will explore writing as a diverse form of communication. Attention will be paid to elements of style, structure, and tone. Assignments include frequent analytical essays where close attention is paid to textual detail, historical context, and literary elements such as symbolism, characterization, setting, theme, and motif. Creative writing for self-expression is another essential element of the course. Grammar instruction will include sentence and paragraph construction, voice, organization, tone, and vocabulary enhancement.

Assessments consist of in-class exams in which students complete timed critical analyses of literature and multiple choice test questions. Also, essays will be written independently and re-writing will take place after peer editing and teacher feedback is given. At the conclusion of the course, students will secure college credit by obtaining a score that demonstrates proficiency on the required comprehensive exam.

Upon enrollment in the course, students will be given a summer reading list and a writing assignment in order to prepare for the year.

Unifying Concepts

Throughout the course, students will connect literature to other works with common themes and evaluate the social and cultural significance of the works. Literature will be connected to an historical timeline and relevant world events. In addition, timeless human themes and personal connections will be made to the works.