Each year, the English Department groups students according to their ability levels and learning needs. Incoming freshmen are initially placed according to the entrance exam and performance in grade school. For upperclassmen, placements are reassessed at the end of each year. To move up a level, a student must have a 96% average, a writing sample, and a teacher recommendation. Electives are offered to students during their sophomore, junior, and senior years.
The English Program is divided into four years:
1. Freshman English is skills-oriented. Students have different levels of competence in language arts skills and, as evidenced in their placement tests, some need more work, especially in writing. In addition, students will be given an introduction to major literary genres (myths, short stories, novels, drama, and poetry) as well as the writing process.
2. Sophomore English focuses on American Literature. This course is a chronological approach to essays, short stories, poems, plays and novels that are part of the American experience. Reading, writing, speaking, and vocabulary building is emphasized throughout the year. Students will complete several paragraph and essay assignments in addition to a research paper.
3. Junior English focuses on World Literature and the expression of understanding through the writing process. Writing is heavily emphasized, particularly writing as process, through maintaining writing portfolios. Students choose the topics and issues that they wish to write about and are expected to improve their writing skills by continually revising their work.
4. Senior English focuses on British Literature. All genres are explored. Students are required to analyze, discuss, and write about certain areas of the literature for the purpose of developing a more in-depth awareness of genres and themes. Students are grouped according to their skills abilities in order to individualize instruction. Vocabulary, SAT skills and writing a research paper will be stressed.