English 9-12 Overview

The English Program 9-12
We are proud of the depth and breadth of our 6-12 program, and of the talents of our teachers who bring great vitality, intelligence, and versatility to their curriculums. Our curriculum is a response to the world around us and not apart from it.
All 6-12 English Language Arts students will work toward college and career readiness. To that end, students will 
  • write in the narrative, argument, and informational modes,
  • engage deeply in the writing process,
  • participate in summer reading picking a book of choice from a list of available texts,
  • read engaging texts of their own choice,
  • practice close reading,
  • respond to text-based questions,
  • develop synthesis skills,
  • further refine and develop vocabulary,
  • continue to develop their understanding of literary conventions,
  • improve  their speaking and listening abilities,
  • regularly engage in group activities fostering a cooperative sensibility
9th Grade is a huge transitional year. In addition to required coursework students can take Creative Writing, Speech, or Journalism. Students who have benefitted from literacy support at the middle school can continue to receive support to improve reading fluency and comprehension.  
In all courses students work intently to become college and career ready through many of the following works:
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Odyssey
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (L3)
  • The Book Thief (L3)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
  • The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Choice Novels Include
  • All American Boys 
  • How It Went Down, Magoon
  • On The Come Up, Thomas
  • Dreamland Burning
  • More Happy Than Not, Silvera
  • The Poet X, Acevedo
  • Aristotle and Dante Uncover the Secrets of the Universe
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
  • Finding Audrey

Students in English 10 encounter themes related to social and personal justice as they move toward college and career readiness. The works they will see include:
  • Macbeth
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens (L3 & Humanities)
  • Jane Eyre, Bronte (L3 & Humanities)
  • Twelve Angry Men, Reginald Rose
  • Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Circle, Dave Eggers
  • Feed, M.T. Anderson
  • Station 11, By Emily St. James Mandel
Other Choice novels include:
  • Blackfish City, Miller
  • EXO, Fonda Lee
  • Black River Falls, Hirsch
  • Prodigy, Marie Lu
  • Rule of One, Saunders
  • Unwind, Shusterman
  • Vox, Dalcher
Our L4  Humanities students see some of the above plus
  • Beowulf
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Dante’s Inferno
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Excerpts from The Bible
11th Grade is our American Literature year corresponding to the social studies department’s emphasis on American History. In 11th grade able students have the option of taking Advanced Placement Language and Composition with its emphasis on nonfiction and rhetoric.  In addition to great short fiction, poetry and informational texts, all students read from the following list:
  • The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne (L3)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain 
  • The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald
  • The Awakening, Kate Chopin
  • Essays from Thoreau and Emerson
  • The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
  • Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck
  • The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
  • Fences, August Wilson
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston (L3)
  • Dear Martin, Nic Stone
  • Kindred, Octavia Butler
In the 12th Grade, Our students can select from a tremendous variety of single-semester electives or take a full year of Advanced Placement Literature or Senior English Pathways. In all courses students will conduct serious literary research and analysis and complete original creative works in the genre of study. College and career readiness is the goal. Our Electives include,

Nonfiction contains such works as The Glass Castle, Tweak, Beautiful Boy, Into the Wild, Girl, Interrupted, Born a Crime, Lab Girl, Unbroken, and Boys in the Boat  along with an enormous selection of cogent and current memoir, biography and essay.

Secrets and Lies in Literature is a theme-based course devoted to the motives and consequences of deception. Novels like The Kite Runner, The Body and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King,
The Handmaid’s Tale, (Margaret Atwood), Hamlet, and A Streetcar Named Desire, (Williams)
are prominently featured.

Poetry Matters focuses on what poetry “does” through analysis of and practice with a huge variety of works and forms using Perrine's Sound and Sense.
Nightmares is devoted to the horror genre and includes many great works such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, short stories by a variety of masters of the genre, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, and novels by Stephen King.

Science Fiction provides a critical look at works such as Brave New World, 1984, and Slaughterhouse Five among others to analyze futuristic worlds in terms of possibility, probability, and preferability, and to discuss the implications of such fiction for the present and for our institutions.
Black Voices focuses on African American writing. Native Son, and The Hate U Give, are at the center of the course which examines the black experience in America in the present day.

Short Fiction sounds so basic—but consists of several rich thematically organized units of highly readable stories to study the elements of fiction and the varieties of human experience culminating in the creation of an original short story. Texts come from The Story and Its Writer.

A Room of One’s Own: Women’s Literature studies texts featuring gender issues and conflicted roles and expectations. Works such as A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison  are the core of the course.

Visions of Nature utilizes a marvelous anthology compiled by the great nature-writer Bill McKibben to examine man’s relationship to the natural world. Core writings are both scientific and creative.
Shakespeare focuses on five key plays of the Bard, including Henry V, Richard III, Twelfth Night, and  The Tempest.
Film I and II are fabulous elective courses (taught by an English teacher, but classified as Media) that teach students how to “read,” analyze, and produce film. Film II focuses on film production and student projects which go deeper.