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English

English I (3120)
This course develops the students’ fundamental skills of literacy—reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through an integrated program of literature, grammar, vocabulary, and writing, students gain the skills needed to become more discerning readers and intelligible writers. Students explore literature, both fiction and non-fiction, by genre: short story, essay, poetry, drama, myth, and novel. They review the principles of sound grammar and sentence structure while building a broader vocabulary to support their ability to articulate thoughts. Writing instruction places emphasis on writing as a process and focuses on the elements of the expository essay while introducing other forms of discourse, such as the personal narrative. Students learn to become discriminating users of the internet for research and collaboration. They begin to develop four-year writing portfolios that provide opportunities for evaluation and self-assessment.

English I Honors (3130)

This course develops the students’ fundamental skills of literacy while encouraging independent and higher-level critical thinking appropriate for the honor student. Consistent participation in class discussion and a willingness to take academic risks are expected. Through an integrated program of literature, grammar, vocabulary, and writing, students gain the skills needed to become more discerning readers, intelligible writers, and analytical researchers. The course highlights cross-curricular themes through challenging pieces of literature, fiction and nonfiction, across the five major genres. Students review the principles of sound grammar and sentence structure to support their ability to articulate thoughts. Writing instruction emphasizes writing as a process and guides students to construct clear and well-supported literary analysis while introducing other forms of discourse, such as the personal narrative. Pre-AP rhetorical analysis skills are introduced for enhanced reading comprehension and applied to the evaluation and construction of the argumentative essay. Students learn to become discriminating users of the Internet for research and collaboration. They begin to develop four-year writing portfolios that provide opportunities for evaluation and self-assessment. Prerequisite – Placement by the English Department chairperson.

English II (3220)

This course reinforces and expands the literary analysis and writing skills taught and practiced in the ninth grade. All areas of course content—literature, grammar, vocabulary, and writing assignments—serve to advance comprehension, while strengthening the students’ ability to formulate and convey well-founded thoughts. Reading selections draw from major works of British Literature, representing various genres, paired with companion pieces from varying cultures. Throughout the year, students study the development of various literary movements and expand their understanding of the human experience. Through close reading, students are guided to discern the writer’s purpose. As students explore the written word, they undertake a range of oral, multi-media, and written assignments that include journals and the narrative, compare-contrast, and synthesis essays.

English II Honors (3230)

This course reinforces and expands the literary analysis and writing skills taught and practiced in the ninth grade. All areas of course content—literature, grammar, vocabulary, and writing assignments—serve to advance comprehension, while strengthening the students’ ability to formulate and convey well-founded thoughts. Reading selections draw from major works of British Literature, representing various genres, paired with companion pieces from varying cultures. Throughout the year, students trace the development of British literature, examine its influence on world literature, study the development of various literary movements, and expand their understanding of the human experience. Through close reading, students are guided to discern the writer’s purpose. As students explore the written word, they undertake a range of oral, multi-media, and written assignments that include journals and the narrative, compare-contrast, and synthesis essays. Prerequisites – Current English teacher and English Department chairperson approval.

English II Advanced Honors (3240)
The sophomore Advanced English Honors course reinforces and expands the analysis, critical thinking, research, and communication skills introduced in the ninth grade Honors English language and literature course. The four branches of course content, including literature (fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry), writing, grammar, and vocabulary, aim to strengthen and advance comprehension and research capabilities. Emphasis is on clarity of thinking, on expanded reading comprehension (by using close-reading techniques that help students discern authors’ purpose, tone, and primary arguments), on increasing students’ understanding of rhetoric as used for effective communication (oral, written, visual), and on advancing vocabulary skills. Reading selections draw from major works of British literature, representing various genres, paired with companion pieces from varying cultures. With a greater emphasis on nonfiction readings, students expand their understanding of topics central to the appreciation of the human experience and its predicaments, dilemmas, and achievements. The inclusion of readings from a supplementary pre-AP text, Advanced Language and Literature, help to prepare students for the possibility of AP English classes in junior and senior years. During all facets of the yearlong course, students undertake a range of oral, multi-media, and written assignments that include compare-contrast, argumentative, and synthesis essays. Prerequisites – English I Honors, an outstanding writing portfolio, and teacher recommendation. Final approval by English Department chairperson.  

English III (3320)

This course seeks to answer the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” through a chronological study of major American works across genres. Students engage in literature that encompasses the themes, diversity, and complexity that characterize American thought and society. This course also comprises the process of writing a research paper, during which students hone their ability to evaluate and synthesize sources in an internet-driven environment. Practice in analytical and persuasive essays encourages clearer thinking and more effective writing. Continued study of both vocabulary and grammar supports the students’ preparation for the SATs and the college application process.

English III Honors (3330)

This course seeks to answer the question, “What does it mean to be an American?” through a chronological study of major American works across genres. Students study literature that encompasses the themes, diversity, and complexity that characterize American thought and society. Select works in this honors course require a higher level of both critical reading skills and independent analysis from students. This course also comprises the process of writing a research paper during which students hone their ability to evaluate and synthesize sources in an internet-driven environment. Practice in analytical and persuasive essays encourages an increasingly mature quality of writing that evidences original thought. Students continue to develop vocabulary and hone grammar skills in preparation for the SATs and the college application process. Prerequisites – Current English teacher and English Department chairperson approval.

English III AP (3340)

A chronological course in American literature, this college-level course encompasses both the development of literature in America and the rhetorical strategies that made, and make, the writing effective. Employing a journalistic and rhetorical approach to composition, students gain an appreciation for language and strive for excellence in their ability to communicate. Taking into consideration audience and purpose, students learn to recognize in the work of others—and employ in their own work—clarity, coherence, cohesiveness, and a variety of effective rhetorical strategies. In this intensive reading and writing course with a level of expected performance that is at least as challenging as college freshmen English, students are encouraged to develop their individual voices and confidently express their opinions. Prompts from the literature read and discussed, as well as from previous AP examinations, provide students with frequent opportunities for oral and written communication, with focused feedback from peers and from the teacher. SAT and AP Language and Composition examination preparation is part of the course; all students are required to take the AP exam given in May. Students are also required to do preparatory reading and journaling during the summer months prior to taking this AP English III course. The AP exam is offered in May each year.  Prerequisites – English II Advanced Honors or Honors, an outstanding writing portfolio, current English teacher recommendation, and English Department chairperson approval.

English IV (3420)

In this college preparatory English course, students explore works of world literature in a variety of genres including novels, short stories, poems, and dramatic works. The literature invites students to journey into fantastical worlds, to evaluate works of social criticism, to delve into complex characters’ minds, and to examine the beliefs that inform societies. As students travel around the world, they gain knowledge of other cultures and the universal issues inherent in the human experience. In the study of such dilemmas, the need for justice, compassion and civic responsibility are stressed. Students are assessed both informally and formally, through class discussion as well as through writing activities, tests, quizzes, and multi-media projects. The goals in both oral and written communication are clarity, organization, and precision.

English IV Honors (3430)

This honors level world literature course presents a thematic study of human nature and the human experience through readings and films that extend from the classics to multi-cultural contemporary pieces. Students deepen their aesthetic appreciation of literature and its role as a window to understanding both the universal condition and the perspectives of past and present cultures and societies. Students enrolled in this course should have well-developed oral and written communication skills coupled with the ability and confidence to independently interpret literature. Exposure to literary criticism is integrated into textual analysis. Assessments include tests, quizzes, synthesis papers, analytical and personal essays, and multi-media presentations. Students are expected to evidence creativity and critical scholarship in their work. Prerequisites – Current English teacher and English Department chairperson approval.

English IV AP (3440)

Literature is a powerful tool. It adds to our reality in ways that we would otherwise never experience. It carries us into worlds, cultures, and minds that have been forbidden or misunderstood. Most importantly, it takes us into ourselves to find those places that lie deeply hidden or might remain dormant without an opening. Literature helps us experience emotions, develop introspection, and cultivate a sense of empathy, all of which are necessary for growth. This course is built on the notion that literature is greater than the sum of its parts; yet, knowing the sum and its parts are essential. Students of literature must be conversant in terms specific to its genres; they need to know something about the various theoretical approaches to literature, and they need to be familiar with significant works that influence Western culture. Finally, literature is grounded in morality. Each text has a moral agenda, whether it is explicit or implicit. Morality is tied to each of this course’s major themes: Truth and Illusion, Identity and Perception, the Nature of Good and Evil, and Finding Purpose. Literature challenges us to take an informed moral stance: to examine our own values and morals in the light of others. Ultimately, literature guides us in developing a moral code. AP English Literature and Composition challenges the students academically via college-level reading, writing, and reflection. Students can choose to take the AP Language and Literature exam given in May, regardless of whether they may have already taken the AP Language and Composition exam in junior year. Students are also required to do preparatory reading and journaling during the summer months prior to taking this AP English IV course. Prerequisites – English III AP or Honors, an outstanding writing portfolio, current English teacher recommendation, and English Department chairperson approval.

Creative Writing (3515)

This semester course, open to students from 10th to 12th grade, helps students interested in advancing their writing skills beyond the purely expository practice emphasized in year-long required English classes. Creative writing exercises help students find their voice and harness their creative imagination. Students write poems of various types, short stories, works of creative nonfiction, and a one-act play. Students journal throughout the course in order to expand their powers of observation. Critiquing, editing, revising, and proofreading are other skills that students refine during in-class workshops throughout the course. Students are made aware of free-lancing possibilities, and selected pieces will be submitted to the IHA literary magazine, ORB, and to writing contests. Prerequisite – Teacher approval.

Journalism (3535)
This course is a comprehensive look into the modern world of print journalism. Students learn to gather news; prioritize information; conduct interviews; structure news, feature, and editorial articles; and write reviews. Students determine the credibility of sources, gathering necessary background information from both primary (interviews) and secondary (researched) fields. Students learn to discern fact from opinion, and use both accurately and ethically. Students are introduced to Associated Press (AP) style and journalism jargon. The history of journalism and the ethics and responsibilities of journalists, as well as the impact of blogs and the `24-hour news cycle’ are also examined. Prerequisite – Teacher approval.