The basic focus of the English program is the development of communication skills, particularly the skills of effective reading, writing, speaking and listening, on both the practical and the aesthetic levels. Organized sequentially, instruction in reading develops comprehension and interpretation skills, as well as the ability to recognize and respond to different forms of reading texts; instruction in writing focuses on the ability to express ideas coherently; instruction in speaking provides opportunity to master presentation skills; and instruction in listening enables students to practice careful, open-minded receptivity to the thoughts and insights of others, in addition to the practical listening skills needed for effective note taking. The English program is organized thematically by grade level, as each yearly course is designed around a central unifying concept or idea.


All required English courses are grouped into AP/Honors, College Prep Enhanced, and College Prep categories. Movement from a CPE-level course to an Honors or AP-level course will be considered for students who have earned an A average over the four marking periods. A teacher recommendation is required for students interested in moving from a CP-level course to a CPE-level course. The writing of a special assessment essay may also be required.


• The Honors grouping provides the necessary background for those students who wish maximum challenge, who demonstrate superior ability, and who have developed personal and time-management skills that allow them to maintain focus and to meet multiple deadlines. The Honors grouping in freshman and sophomore years is part of a sequence that leads to the junior and senior year AP curriculum in English.

• The College Prep Enhanced grouping is designed to meet the needs of students who desire a strong background in skills and subject matter rigor.

• The College Prep grouping is designed to meet the needs of students who are preparing for college or a career and are seeking more guidance than is given at the CPE level.



The English 1 program is a required course that provides the foundation for success in all areas of the language arts and at all ability levels. Focusing on the theme of “identity,” students will read and respond to a variety of texts, including short stories, novels, drama, and poetry, as well as to a variety of non-fiction essays taken from both departmental collections and from contemporary newspapers and magazines. As they work with these materials, students will make thematic connections while learning and practicing analytic and critical reading skills. Students will learn and engage in all stages of the writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. In so doing, they will recognize and practice the strategies and skills of content development, organization, and mechanical construction that are the building blocks of effective written communication. To monitor their growth, students will maintain writing portfolios of all compositions, along with periodic reflections of their writing strengths and weaknesses. As part of their experience in English 1, students will also engage in vocabulary development through exercises in word recognition, understanding new words in context, and review of roots, prefixes and suffixes; speech development through activities of oral presentation and speeches; and study skill development through an emphasis on note-taking and listening strategies. They will also apply the research process to a variety of assignments, each requiring the student to effectively find, evaluate, and use both electronic and paper-based sources. Central to all of the above, students will learn and apply the skills of critical reading, problem solving, decision-making, and self- managing that will support their success in the English program.


The English 2 program, at all ability levels, continues the sequential development of the skills essential for effective verbal and written communication. Examining the theme of “the individual’s role in society,” students will read and respond to a variety of texts, including short stories, novels, drama, and poetry, as well as to a variety of non-fiction essays taken from both departmental collections and from contemporary newspapers and magazines. As they work with these materials, students will continue to develop analytic and critical reading skills while making thematic connections. Students will continue to engage in all stages of the writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing, as they expand and refine the techniques of content development, organization, and mechanical construction essential for effective written communication.


To monitor their development as writers, students will maintain writing portfolios of all compositions, along with periodic reflections of their writing strengths and weaknesses. Students will apply the research process to a research assignment focused on a social problem, condition, or controversy in their community or in the larger society. In so doing, they will find, evaluate, and use a variety of sources, including paper-based resources, online and electronic databases, and personal interviews.

Prerequisite:  English 1



The Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum in English Language and Composition engages students in the process of becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Organized around the “American Experience,” students engage in extensive reading and writing exercises relative to this theme, as they examine the intricate relationships between a writer’s purpose, audience, subject, and use of rhetorical conventions. The course is designed to enable students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. In this course, students develop their own process of composition: the way they explore ideas, reconsider strategies, and revise their work. The course assumes that students already understand and demonstrate mastery in the use of Standard English.


Accordingly, this program is designed to foster stylistic maturity by emphasizing a more intensive awareness of sentence structure, voice, and diction. Students will examine challenging texts and engage in a variety of compositional activities ranging from the expository, analytic, and argumentative forms of academic and professional communication to the personal and reflective forms, fostering the development of writing skills in any context.

Prerequisite:  English 2 H or English 2 CPE


The English 3 program continues the sequential development of the skills essential for effective verbal and written communication. Organized around the theme of the “American Experience,” students will read and respond to selections of American literature ranging from the Colonial Period to the 21st Century, while exploring common themes, concepts, and conflicts that help define what it means to be “American.” Students will continue to develop their proficiency in effective written communication through a review of the structural components of composition and an increased attention on the elements of a writing style. They will continue to monitor their growth through the maintenance of writing portfolios, along with periodic reflections of their writing strengths and weaknesses. Students will apply the research process to a research assignment focused on an issue that is distinctly “American” or that, although found in other cultures, has a distinctly American


“flavor” to it. Students will continue to prepare speech, debate, panel discussion, and electronic/ visual presentations as appropriate to the subject matter. Vocabulary study will also continue to enhance college readiness and to prepare students for standardized tests.

Prerequisite:  English 2        



American Studies is a combined offering of the eleventh grade required courses in United States History 2 CPE and English 3 CPE. The course, taught by teachers from both the Social Studies and the English departments, is scheduled for two periods each day. Students who elect to take the American Studies program receive separate grades and five credits from each department.


The American Studies course is interdisciplinary in nature and takes a thematic approach to seeking connections between the American past and present. The study of literature and art brings life and humanity to the historical investigation, while chronology and historical fact give perspective to human experience. Class work is offered in individual, small group, and whole-class investigations into what it means to be an “American.” Emphasis is placed on close critical analysis of original as well as analytic texts, along with an examination of the music, art, and other expressions of American culture.


Students are expected to write frequently in responsive, analytical and persuasive modes, and to complete a research paper on a theme appropriate to the focus of the course. Critical thinking and problem solving is key to success in this course. Writing portfolios are maintained to record student growth and to provide the opportunity for reflection and goal setting.

Prerequisite:  English 2


The Advanced Placement English 4 course, English Literature and Composition, is the equivalent of a full-year college freshman English course. It is offered to students who desire to pursue advanced, college-level studies in English while still in secondary school and who wish to prepare to take the Advanced Placement English Examination in May of their senior year. Successful achievement on the examination may qualify a student for exemption from college English, for college credit, or for advanced standing at college.


The AP English 4 course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students will expand their understanding of the way writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. Intensive study and analysis of traditional and contemporary novels, short stories, dramas, poetry, and essays from the sixteenth to the twentieth century are meant to challenge the student while developing the highest level of reading, analytical, and interpretive skills.


Students will consider a work’s literary, artistic, social, and historical values, along with language and textual details. Students will be expected to read extensively, and to make the connections that reveal a curious, alert mind coming to grips with the complexity and variety of human existence.

Writing assignments are varied, focusing on the critical analysis of literature, and include expository, analytical, and persuasive essays. Emphasis in instruction is intended to help students develop stylistic maturity and to find and recognize their own voice as thinkers and writers. Students are expected to contribute regularly to all class discussion in a seminar format, to complete all class assignments fully and conscientiously, and to maintain the pace of regular independent readings. Students are expected to take the English Literature and Composition AP exam at course’s end.

Prerequisite:  English 3 AP or English 3 CPE



The English 4 program emphasizes the need for students to maintain their developed proficiencies in verbal and written communication and also to experiment with the various forms of communication necessary in the twenty-first century. Focusing on the themes of “decisions, choices, and consequences,” students will study a variety of literary forms, such as nonfiction, drama, the novel, and poetry, as well as forms of other media, including music and film.

Students will extend their proficiency in writing as they engage in personal, analytic, and persuasive composition exercises.  Students will also continue to maintain writing folders by which they can monitor their growth and development as writers.

Students will also complete a senior research activity, which may combine literary analysis with original investigation of a topic relevant to the theme of the year. As seniors, students are expected to seek and utilize a variety of sources as part of their inquiry.

As students continue to refine their skills in all modes of communication, English 4 is designed to prepare students for success both in college and in the work/career world.

Prerequisite:  English 3



Introduction to Creative Writing focuses on the genre of creative nonfiction. Students explore varieties of creative nonfiction, such as memoir; biography; the personal essay; travel, science, and food writing; and “new journalism.” As its name suggests, creative nonfiction borrows elements from fiction and poetry (e.g., description, scene construction, dialogue, etc.) yet still aims to tell the truth. For a writer to “tell it slant,” however, is to acknowledge the ways in which one’s subjective viewpoint shapes what counts as “the truth” in telling a story about one’s own or another’s experiences. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with style, genre, and subject in a writing studio environment and to read varied examples of contemporary creative nonfiction (e.g., Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, George Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone, etc.). Students will craft and workshop their own creative nonfiction compositions.   SUPA Credit:  3 Credits

Prerequisite:  English 3 AP or English 3 CPE



Gender & Literary Texts explores the construction and representation of ‘gender,’ especially as it affects the production and reception of literary and other cultural texts. The course foregrounds readers’ interpretive practices, i.e., how we read and make meaning in texts, particularly if we interpret them using the premise that gender is a social construct—rather than a natural, ahistorical “essence” that somehow “expresses” our true “selves.” To examine the ways in which literature participates in the social reproduction of gender, as well as the difference that gender makes in the production and reception of literary texts, students will practice extensive close reading, evidence-based analysis and argumentation, and independent- inquiry. Raising awareness of how meanings are created through acts of critical reading, students will thus learn to analyze the ways texts construct categories of difference, including differences of gender, race and social class. Credit:  3 Credits

Prerequisite:   English 3 AP or English 3 CPE


This course uses the invaluable tool of film to help students interpret and evaluate literature and to promote media literacy.  The class will highlight the process whereby written texts, including novels, drama and/or screenplays are translated from the written to the visual, and students will have an opportunity to appreciate the techniques employed in the evolution of film from concept to screen. Students will learn the vocabulary of film and employ this terminology to discuss the merit of films as works of literature to be studied using critical thinking skills and an understanding of the cultural and historical context. 

Prerequisite:   English 3



This course will ask students to examine the unique relationship between sports and society, the impact that sports have had on our society, and how our culture’s development is mirrored in athletics. Students will investigate the relationship through novels, non-fiction works, short stories, newspaper columns, and other media to gain an understand how these ideas are reflected through literature. 

Prerequisite:   English 3



This course will encourage students to investigate dystopian themes in literature to explore how authors craft a range of dystopian visions to explore the themes of totalitarian regimes that restrict individual freedoms, post-apocalyptic worlds, and seemingly improved societies that mask jarring inequities. In studying a variety of dystopian novels, short stories, and film, students will identify and analyze how dystopian authors turn an inquisitive eye on their own societies.

Prerequisite:   English 3



This course will expose students to a global view of mythology and culture. Students will explore the universal qualities of humans’ search for meaning and understanding of the world in which they live. They will read and study Greek, Roman, Norse, Native American, Eastern, and modern mythologies, and examine universal archetypes as the means of connecting such a vast body of literature.  In an effort to appreciate the unique qualities of each culture, students will analyze myth as a reflection of these societies and the qualities that they valued.

Prerequisite:   English 3



This course will provide students the opportunity to explore the genre of science fiction and analyze how the concepts introduced by writers of science fiction affect our understanding of modern life. Students will also read non-fiction articles from current science magazines in order to juxtapose theory introduced in literature with modern advances and understandings in science.

Prerequisite:   English 3



This course will focus on developing guided inquiry strategies, methods of research, and modes of presentation. Students will share a common experience in the study of texts, films, and readings through an increasing reliance on their own independent work.   Students will be expected to complete guided independent research, write in a number of formats, and present their findings to the members of the seminar.  As in the case in the conventional program, a priority will be placed on the development of communication skills and the application of the writing process, including prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing.  The seminar format is distinctive in three major ways: 1) The seminar will increasingly rely on the independent work of the students to explore and analyze the literature and content that is being studied; 2) Students will be expected to collaborate with the teacher to set learning agendas for the class; 3) Because of the emphasis that will be placed on guided inquiry and independent research, a priority will be placed on using non-traditional assessments. 

Prerequisite:   English 3





This course is designed to provide students with the foundation to develop their craft as a performer. The course provides students with a safe environment in which they may experiment and explore a variety of acting techniques. Additionally, students will apply these techniques to the texts of select master modern and classic playwrights.



This course is designed to teach students how to mix and edit audio using Pro Tools, as well as how to film and edit video footage using Final Cut. Lighting, filming techniques, recording, and mixing, as well as proper care for equipment will be taught and utilized throughout this project-based course.



From Martha Graham to Mia Michaels and Bach to Beyoncé, this is your chance to develop a unique style and create a choreographic masterpiece! Choreography is an introductory level composition class in which students will explore a variety of techniques for creating choreography. Basic, intermediate, and advanced compositional elements will be examined, as students seek to create innovative solos, duets, and group pieces that enhance individual expression. In addition to studying the styles of a diversity of master choreographers, students will develop a language to constructively and critically examine the work of professional choreographers, of their peers, and of their own.



Communications is an introductory, experiential course in which students will study various forms of media, use available technology, and create individual and group projects to reveal their level of understanding. The students’ process of understanding will involve critical thinking, problem solving, creative, technical and performing skills that form the basis of media theory, history, technology, industry and personal relationships. From their study and projects, students will develop a discerning and knowledgeable attitude toward media, develop proficiency in the use of each medium, and develop an understanding of the effects of media on themselves and on society.



Drama is an introductory, experiential course in which students produce individual and group projects based on selected theater interests. Through these areas of interest, which may include play analysis, acting, basic designing of costumes, make-up, lighting, or scenery, play writing, and publicity/house management, students are encouraged to develop both their practical knowledge and aesthetic awareness of the creation process and of the principles involved in creating a tangible, artistic product: a play.



This humanities course is open to all seniors and juniors, and those sophomores who have received permission to take the course. The course is designed for students of all abilities and interests. The purpose of the course is to establish a community of inquiry as students examine four major inquiry questions: a) What is humankind’s relationship with and attitude toward the natural environment? b) How do humans find and define the purpose of their existence? c) Are humans capable of peaceful resolution of conflict? and d) Are humans unique? These explorations are multi-disciplinary and will include inquiries into philosophy, literature, music, fine arts, psychology, and history. In addition, these topics will be presented through a global perspective of mankind, emphasizing multi-cultural and multi-ethnic experiences.



Journalism is open to all grades levels and provides students with hands-on experience in writing for publication in print and electronic media. Areas of special interest include gathering and writing news, conducting and recording interviews, and crafting features, sports stories, and effective editorials. Students will examine the history of journalism and the role of journalistic reporting in society.



This course examines the form, theory, history, and changing styles of the American book musical, which has dominated the Broadway stage for the past century. Students will learn and apply a variety of musical theatre performance techniques as they play a vital role in creating a successful production.



This honors level course is scheduled for all Grade 12 students in the University Program. The course will use the Ways of Knowing curriculum, which proposes that there are different ways of understanding nature and human behavior, as reflected in our different University Programs. The highest goals for the Ways of Knowing program is developing an inquiring spirit, maintaining a pattern of open-mindedness, and demonstrating a love for the pursuit of wisdom.



This is an experiential, 2.5 credit, survey course of various types of speaking situations. In their individual and group presentations, students will study speech composition and presentation techniques through the use of style, voice, articulation and physical presence. Additionally, students will focus on critical thinking, problem-solving and creative expression as the basis for their speech work. Students will also use various media to develop, prepare and present their speeches. The ultimate course goal is to promote the construction of meaning through the interaction and integration of speaker, topic and audience.



Using a balance of lecture, writing exercises, and work-shopping, Script Writing offers a safe and supportive environment for young writers of all levels to gain a firm grounding in the art and craft of writing for the stage and for screens of all sizes.  In this course, students will master manuscript format, conflict, plot structure, characterization, dialogue, and finding their own voice through the writing process.



Stage Movement is a dance fundamentals class for any student interested in a variety of movement styles and approaches to dancing.  Students will work together to improve dance skills including alignment, strength and flexibility.  In addition, students will create original movement pieces enhancing creativity, and use dance as a means for expressive artistry.

Techniques include:

  • Body Conditioning (including yoga, Pilates, and physio-ball technique)
  • Ballet and Modern Dance
  • Cultural Dance Forms
  • Social Dance Styles



This course is designed to provide students with a “behind-the-scenes” look at today’s theatre. Students will have the opportunity to study various aspects of stagecraft and theatrical production, including theatre safety, stage management, set design and construction, lighting design, audio engineering, properties mastery, costuming, as well as stage makeup and hair design.



The changes in broadcasting techniques have been dramatic with the advent of digital technology. This course allows students to learn the latest in digital editing, as well as the parameters for creating projects for broadcast. Students will utilize the TV studio to create and develop independent projects.


WRITER’S WORKSHOP (Creative Writing) CP

Writer’s Workshop is a course designed for students of all levels of writing proficiency who want to further develop their writing skills. In a workshop environment, students progress at their own pace and receive feedback through individualized teacher conferencing and by engaging in peer and self-evaluation.  Students use group discussion to analyze elements of effective writing and then apply these features to their own work. The course focuses on creative expression; the skills mastered easily transfer to academic class settings as student writing becomes more focused and descriptive in nature and the student writer develops an awareness of the role of language in communication.



ELL is open to any student based on language need.

English for Speakers of Other Languages is an English course individualized to meet the unique needs of limited English proficient students. The course combines reading, writing, speaking, and listening instruction with an introduction to literature. Following comprehensive testing and a review of student achievement in all school courses, students may leave this course at the end of the first, second, or third marking periods to enter a regular English classroom.  At the end of the school year, students who do not achieve sufficient English language proficiency are required to take a five credit English for Speakers of Other Languages course in the following year. They may also elect a 5 credit regular English course.