Skip To Main Content

Course Description by Grade Level

Ninth Grade: Our freshman year English course focuses on literature that highlights the theme of Coming of Age. Building on their knowledge of literary elements in traditional literary genres, students study the relationship between narrative voice and style, while also analyzing literary and stylistic elements in literature. They develop persuasive writing skills by using rhetorical appeals. Performance and oral interpretation of literature build students’ speaking and listening skills. Research plays an important role as students evaluate social, cultural, and historical influences on texts. Both Regents and Honors levels are offered for this course.

Essential questions: What does it mean to “come of age”? How are rhetorical appeals used to influence an audience? How do authors and directors use specific techniques to achieve a desired effect? What is poetry? What impact does historical, cultural, geographical, and social context have on a novel? How have the strategies I have learned this year helped me to be a better reader, writer, speaker, and listener?

Representative texts:To Kill a MockingbirdRomeo & JulietA Separate Peace, Of Mice and Men; poetry, short stories, and non-fiction pieces related to coming of age; various independent reading assignments.

Tenth Grade: With a focus on the concept of culture and community, this course examines how these influences shape identity and perspective. Students read and analyze works of world literature, with emphasis on analysis of how stylistic choices and rhetorical elements shape tone in persuasive and argumentative texts, both print and nonprint. Students deconstruct writing prompts and write a synthesis essay that incorporates perspectives from multiple sources, an important skill in our most rigorous courses. Students develop their independent learning skills as they respond to opportunities for self-evaluation. Both Regents and Honors levels are offered for this course.

Representative texts:The Color of Water,Funny in Farsi, Antigone, Tuesdays with Morrie, Flowers for Algernon, Macbeth, Lord of the Flies; poetry, short stories, and non-fiction pieces from around the world exploring culture and community; various independent reading assignments.

Essential questions: What is cultural identity, and to what extent does culture shape an individual's perspective? How can one incorporate voice and aspects of identity into an original piece of writing? how does an author use literary devices and techniques to convey a theme? What is the meaning of 'justice' and how are views of justice affected by culture?

Eleventh Grade: In junior year, students will focus on American fiction and nonfiction, using literary and other texts to present the iconic idea of the American dream. Students research historical and contemporary texts as they articulate the origins and impact of the ideals and realities of the American dream on life today and on personal thinking. Students are expected to articulate personal convictions and propose solutions to social issues. Writing in a variety of modes – personal essays, opinions and editorials, credos, reflective self-evaluation, speeches, satire, dramatic scripts, surveys, literary analyses, and research projects - students expand their skills in communicating well through written language. Both Regents and Honors levels are offered for this course.

Representative texts:The Crucible, The Catcher in the Rye, Into the Wild, The Great Gatsby, Montana, 1948; poetry, short stories, and non-fiction pieces related to the American Dream; various independent reading assignments.

Essential questions: What is the American Dream? In what ways does the American Dream manifest itself in American life? How do newspapers impact public opinion or public perception? How can artistic expression advance social commentary? What does it mean to pursue happiness? What will people sacrifice in the pursuit of happiness?

 AP Language & CompositionThis course engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and in becoming writers who compose for a variety of purposes. The course enables students to read complex texts with 

understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. A wide range of literature from various genres and historical periods will be read. Students are required to pay the fee and take the Advanced Placement Exam in English Language and Composition in order to receive the weighted grade.

Twelfth Grade: Senior English capitalizes on the confidence and expertise students have gained as interpreters and analyzers of texts by introducing them to multiple lenses through which to view text. Students are asked to broaden their understanding and their interpretive skills by thinking deeply about themes and ideas from multiple perspectives. Using Historical, Cultural, Feminist, Marxist, and Archetypal Criticism, students learn to view texts through some of the filters that result in multiple interpretations of the same text or media story. Students apply the theories of criticism to their own reading and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction texts.

Representative texts:Othello, The Arrival, Pygmalion, Rear Window, “Shooting an Elephant”; poetry, short stories, and non-fiction pieces allowing for a wide range of interpretation; various independent reading assignments.

Essential questions: What does it mean to be a stranger in a village? How do writers and artists organize or construct text to convey meaning? What role does literature play in the examination of recurring societal issues? How do media production elements shape a message? How do media sources impact our understanding of the truth and significance of an issue?

AP Literature& CompositionThis course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of literature. Through close reading and critical analysis of selected texts, students will deepen their understanding of the way writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure to 

the readers. The course includes an intensive study of representative works from various genres and periods, concentrating on works of recognized literary merit. A variety of writing experiences are incorporated into the course. Students are required to pay the fee and take the Advanced Placement Exam in Literature and Composition in order to receive the weighted grade.

English 4 ACEThis is a dual enrollment course offered in collaboration with Westchester Community College (WCC) through their Advanced 

College Experience (ACE). The course focuses on the full range of English studies in the four strands of the English Language Arts curriculum. Readings will include essays and may also come from other forms of literature. Students will write essays which demonstrate their ability to articulate personal responses, to draw inferences, to synthesize information, and to express informed opinion. Students develop proficiency in speaking and in evaluating oral discourse through such activities as discussion and oral presentations. Research and its proper documentation will be included in this process. Students must pass a placement test in order to be eligible to register for college credit for this course.

In addition to the full-year courses described above, the English department offers a variety of half-year elective courses. Please see the course catalog for these options.