The study of literature is central to the education of our students. It helps them examine great ideas, pose ethical questions, and gain insight into the human condition—all of which lead them to a greater understanding of themselves and to the development of their own personal voice.
Students learn a school wide writing process. Each year builds upon that instruction, so that by the time students graduate, they are clear and competent writers who have written frequently in many genres. To help them develop their writing skills, students learn and master a variety of resources of language: vocabulary, grammar, and stylistic techniques. All grade levels keep a written portfolio in the classroom that is maintained and analyzed through their senior year.
Students develop their public speaking and dramatic interpretation skills in their English classes through lively discussion, dramatic performance, and individual speeches. Every class reads a Shakespearean play annually—and performs scenes from those plays at the spring Renaissance Festival.
The goal of the English Department is to graduate articulate and confident critical thinkers whose verbal and writing skills give them the tools they need to be highly successful in college and to become lifelong learners who have developed a love of and appreciation for various forms of literature. All graduates of this program develop their personal voice as a tool to transform themselves, their community and the world.
The English Department has two levels - college preparatory (C) and honors (H/AP). Initial placement in the honors program for students entering grade 9 is determined by test scores (90th percentile or above in vocabulary, reading comprehension and Language), a writing sample, and approval of the department chairperson. Placement can be challenged at any point during a student’s high school career. For the past five years, more than 60 percent of the senior class has taken and passed the Advanced Placement Language Test as a student in CP or AP English.