COVID 19 and Remote Learning Information

Due to Covid-19 circumstances, most of a student’s course loads are divided between two semesters. During one semester, a course covers the equivalent of curriculum from a full fall term and a full spring term for a total of one year of instruction. 

A student receives 2.0 credits per course (equivalent to 1 year of instruction.)


By offering our courses on a semester basis, we are supporting deeper and more focused learning. We offer more personalized support, without sacrificing time allotted to the course. AP courses have the equivalent of twice the amount of time to engage in the content and skills compared to years past. 


When college admission representatives review a student’s transcript, they review it holistically and with attention to student progress from year to year. Colleges review the courses a student takes in the fall as well as the spring semester of their senior year. 


Julissa Marrero, Assistant Principal

The English Department is committed to developing and enhancing our students’ ability to think critically and express themselves effectively. The critical and aesthetic examination and analysis of classic and contemporary literature serve as a context for students’ development as critical thinkers and writers with their own creative voice. All students must complete four years of English. The English Language Arts (ELA) Regents examination is generally taken after the junior year, but English honors students do so after the sophomore year (i.e. English 4H).
Close textual reading, process writing, and critical thinking skills drive the curriculum. A balanced literacy approach is also utilized.

The ELA curriculum includes the following components each term:

  • Studying three or four major works (novels, dramas, and memoirs) in addition to short stories, poetry, and non-fiction essays.
  • Producing a variety of writing products, including: reading responses, expository essays, reflective essays, literary essays, research papers, poetry, monologues, and dialogues.
  • Writing a minimum of four essays, two specifically written in class to give students practice writing an organized, thoughtful essay in a forty-minute period of time.
  • Building vocabulary, with a minimum of 100 new words pulled from the texts studied and/or SAT lists.
  • Employing literary terms, with a minimum of 5-10 specific terms assigned each term according to grade level to ensure the scaffolding of skills and knowledge.
  • Employing grammar devices, with a minimum of 5-10 specific devices assigned each term according to grade level to ensure the scaffolding of skills and knowledge.
  • Mastering specific skills needed for success on the ELA Regents including modeling of essay prompts. Skills covered include: listening, reading and producing reports, reading graph material, comparing/contrasting two pieces of literature, interpreting texts through a critical lens, and firmly taking a position or point of view in writing an essay.
  • Utilizing skills needed for success on the SAT 2400; models of the SAT essay prompts are utilized to help students prepare for the writing portion of the exam.

Course Sequence

Grade 9

English 1 and 2 – The grammar and composition component is focused on the study of grammar components, literary texts, vocabulary, and other related skills with the main objective to hone written and verbal communication. Types of writing produced include: reading responses, reflective essays, personal narratives, literary essays, and creative assignments. Literature studied includes: plays by Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Wilson; novels by Salinger, Kingsolver, and Morrison; and a variety of non-fiction essays, short stories, myths, and poems.
English 1 Honors and English 2 Honors – Freshman Honors follows the Freshman English curriculum at an accelerated pace with higher expectations and more required independent reading and writing.

Grade 10

English 3 and 4 – British literature is the focus of the Sophomore curriculum, with a heavy emphasis on works by William Shakespeare. Students continue their progress as critical readers, writers, and thinkers. The stress is on writing analytic literary essays, but students also practice expository and persuasive strategies in preparation for the ELA Regents. In addition to Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies, students read works by Chaucer, Swift, Austen, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Hardy, Joyce, Wilde, Woolf, Huxley, Orwell, and various poets.

English 3 Honors and English 4 Honors – Sophomore Honors follows the Sophomore English curriculum at an accelerated pace with higher expectations and more required independent reading and writing. Students are also prepared for the ELA Regents Exam in June.


Grade 11

English 5 and 6 – American literature is the focus of the Junior curriculum with a theme that explores what it means to be American, the role of literature in shaping the American identity, and the power of the American dream. Students are exposed to research skills and develop deeper analytic thinking and writing skills. In addition to analytic literary essays, students produce reading responses and creative assignments. Literature studied includes: plays by Miller and Williams; novels by Hawthorne, Chopin, Twain, Wharton, James, Hurston, Wright, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, and Ellison; and a variety of poems.

English Language and Composition, Advanced Placement – This course engages students in becoming skilled readers of non-fiction essays and texts from a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers for a variety of purposes. Students are prepared for the AP Language and Composition exam. The course also incorporates some of the American literature covered in the Junior year curriculum.


Grade 12

English 7 – World literature is the focus of the Senior fall term and covers literature from all continents, including writers like Aristotle, Sophocles, Flaubert, Marquez, Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, Saikaku, Kafka, Sartre, Hesse, Allende, and Yoshimoto. Students work on their college application essay, write a research paper, and produce comparative literary essays.
English 8 – The spring term offers Seniors a variety of electives, including: Creative Writing, Film and Literature, and Psychology and Literature. In each course, students are required to make formal presentations, write analytic and creative essays, and read a book independently in preparation for collaborative work in book groups.
Creative Writing – This course is designed to hone students’ creative voices while they study different genres and styles. Students produce a portfolio of creative poetry, essays, and short stories. Students in the class are also involved in writing for and helping produce the school’s literary magazine, The Lively Arts. In addition to creative writing, students work on the college application essay and the analytic literary essay.
English Literature and Composition, Advanced Placement – This course involves close and critical reading of outstanding works of literature from ancient to present times. Students analyze the writers’ craft and use of language to both better appreciate literature and to prepare for the AP examination. Literature studied includes work by Aristotle, Shakespeare, Balzac, Ibsen, Shaw, Joyce, Kafka, Hesse, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Marquez, and poets like Donne, Keats, Eliot, and Plath. Students also work on their college application essay, write an extensive research paper, and produce a variety of analytic literary essays.
Journalism I – Reading and Writing the News – Students will create four issues of our school newspaper, State of the Arts, in Journalism I and II. We will elect editors who will assign stories to staff writers. Students will interview peers, teachers, and administrators and publish original articles in paper and on the Web. Skills taught include identifying newsworthy stories; writing hard news articles; writing opinion pieces; copy editing; practicing objectivity; and learning Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, and basic computer programming. The layout of the newspaper will occur in the computer lab during school hours. We will read news media publications, discuss current events, and read Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Strong writers and students with computer skills are encouraged to apply for this class. This credit bearing elective course does not fulfill the NYS graduation requirement. This course is for Seniors only.

Journalism II – Media Studies – We will continue to produce the school newspaper. Texts include Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X, George Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War, and several supplementary works. Students will maintain their own news blogs and learn more about career opportunities in journalism. We will analyze the news media critically through a variety of lenses. Students will complete a major research paper on representation of a contemporary story in the news media. This credit bearing elective course does not fulfill the NYS graduation requirement. This course is for Seniors only.