- Graduation requirement: 4 years
- Satisfies Category B of the A–G requirements: 4 years
The English Department is committed to developing and enhancing students' ability to think critically and to communicate effectively. The critical and aesthetic examination and analysis of classic and contemporary literature serve as context for students' development of individual voice, deep comprehension and nuanced argument in spoken and written work. Close textual reading, process-based writing, and analytical thinking drive the curriculum.
9th Grade Courses:
English 9 A/B
Honors English 9 A/B
English 9AB is organized into three standards-based instructional components that focus on persuasion, exposition, and literary analysis, integrating skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. During the persuasion instructional component, students will read persuasive texts, with a focus on the credibility of an author's argument, the relationship between generalizations and evidence, the comprehensiveness of evidence, the way in which the author's intent affects the structure and tone of the text, and extend ideas through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration. Students will also write persuasive essays and deliver persuasive presentations. In the exposition component, students will read expository texts, with a focus on synthesizing and extending ideas presented in primary and secondary sources, including works by a single author dealing with a single issue. In addition, students will write expository essays and deliver expository presentations. During the literary analysis component, students will read literary texts, with a focus on analyzing central themes in multiple works as well as analyzing themes in relation to issues of an historical period. Students will write responses to literature and deliver oral responses to literature.
10th grade Courses:
Honors English 10 A/B
English 10AB is organized into three standards-based instructional components that focus on persuasion, exposition, and literary analysis, integrating skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. During the persuasion instructional component, students will read persuasive texts, with a focus on the credibility of an author's argument, the relationship between generalizations and evidence, the comprehensiveness of evidence, the way in which the author's intent affects the structure and tone of the text, and extend ideas through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration. Students will generate relevant questions about readings on issues and engage in research. Students will also write persuasive essays and deliver persuasive presentations. In the exposition instructional component, students will read expository texts and use what they have learned to establish a controlling impression or coherent thesis that conveys a clear and distinctive perspective on a subject and maintain a consistent tone and focus throughout a piece of writing. They will use primary and secondary sources accurately, distinguish between information and the significance of the data, be aware of audience, anticipate misunderstandings, and use subject-specific terms accurately. During the literary analysis component, students will read literary texts (e.g., short stories, poetry, and longer works, including novels), recognize and understand the significance of various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal. Students will also explain how voice, persona, and the choice of a narrator affect characterization and the tone, plot, and credibility of a text. Students will write responses to literature and deliver oral responses to literature.
11th grade Courses:
American Literature (first semester)
Contemporary Composition (second semester)
AP English Language
American Literature and Composition (First Semester)
American Literature and Composition is a semester-long reading and writing course that includes standards-based instruction centered on recurrent themes and genres in United States literature from the colonial period to the present and reflects on the diversity of American life. Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance their studies of history and social science. The philosophical approach is the focus for the eleventh grade, as students analyze the philosophical arguments presented in literary works to determine whether the author's positions have contributed to the quality of each work and the credibility of characters. As a means of developing the critical thinking and communication skills necessary for the demands of college and work, students will engage in discussion to prepare oral and written arguments that provide all relevant perspectives and consider the validity and reliability of sources. The California Reading/Language Arts Framework states that students in the eleventh grade are expected to read two million words annually on their own, including a good representation of classic and contemporary literature, magazines, newspapers, and online articles.
Contemporary Composition (Second Semester)
This standards-aligned semester course explores ideas, issues, and themes from contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and informational materials and focuses on writing coherent and complex texts that convey well-defined perspectives and tightly reasoned arguments. Students will read, write, speak, and think about the structure, style, content, and purpose of contemporary literature, expository, and visual texts through different lenses and various perspectives to investigate personal, American, and global views on current events, issues, and themes. As a means of developing the critical thinking and communication skills necessary for the demands of college and work, students will engage in discussion to prepare oral and written arguments that provide all relevant perspectives and consider the validity and reliability of sources.
This course focuses on writing, specifically the genres of writing on college placement tests in English. Two new compositions are introduced in the eleventh grade: reflective composition and historical investigation. Reflective compositions require the student to explore the significance of a personal experience, event, or concern, while maintaining an appropriate balance between describing the incident and relating it to a more abstract idea. The historical investigation report requires students to use primary and secondary sources to compare different points of view regarding a single historical event and explain reasons for the similarities and differences. This course provides students opportunities to increase awareness of the audience, purpose, and progression of the stages of the writing process and writing conventions to produce narrative, persuasive, expository, and descriptive texts of at least 1,500 words each, including timed writing.
Advanced Placement English Language and Composition AB
This course engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer's purposes, audience, expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing. The English Language course allows students to write in a variety of forms—narrative, exploratory, expository, and argumentative—and on a variety of subjects from personal experiences to public policies, from imaginative literature to popular culture. The purpose of the course is to enable students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. This course will provide students with 11th grade English credit, prepare students for the AP English Language Exam in May, prepare students for AP English Literature in 12th grade, and ultimately prepare students for college-level English classes.
12th grade Courses:
Expository Composition (first semester)
World Literature (second semester)
AP English Literature
Expository Composition (First Semester)
This semester course provides experiences in writing that are characterized by logical and coherent organization, clarity of expression, and suitability of style, usage, and the conventions of writing. The student is required to read closely within and across expository and informational genres (e.g., essays, biographies, critiques, précis, and newspaper and magazine articles) for literal and implied meaning and to demonstrate through classroom discussion, oral presentation, and written expression an understanding of text(s).
The interactive reading and writing assignments move from pre-reading activities, through reading and post-reading activities, to formal writing assignments. Students learn to make predictions about texts, analyze both the content and rhetorical structures, and properly use materials from the texts they read in supporting their own oral and written arguments. Students are expected to write and revise a minimum of eight academic compositions within the twelfth-grade year, including timed writing pieces and developed compositions. Students will apply and refine their command of the writing process, writing conventions, and rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each.
World Literature (Second Semester)
The major purpose of this elective course is to study world literature in order to examine and analyze the historical, social, and cultural forces that influence writers and their unique aesthetic, social, and cultural contributions to global literature. The selected works are organized by genres (fiction and nonfiction) or themes that explore values, ideas, and ideals both similar and different from our own and to the literary quality of the work. Students will develop an understanding of international works through investigations of universal themes across cultural, social, historical contexts and evaluations of how the influences of the regions and historical eras shaped the characters, plots and settings. As a means of developing the critical thinking and communication skills necessary for the demands of college and work, students will engage in discussion to prepare oral and written arguments that provide all relevant perspectives and consider the validity and reliability of sources. Students will engage in a study of interpretive theories to help them understand multiple perspectives and ways to understand literature through different lenses.
Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition
Through the critical analysis and appreciation of literature, AP English Language and Composition is designed to provide students with the intellectual challenges and rigors of an undergraduate English course. This course requires intensive critical reading and analysis of fiction, culminating in interpretative essays requiring students to examine specific components in relation to works as a whole. Through careful consideration of ambiguity and subtle nuances of language, structure, and style, students will explore authorial intent, theme, and historical significance of representative works in narrative fiction from various genres and periods from the 16th century to the present.