The English department offers courses that build skills for deep understanding of any text presented, the historical/cultural/and political contexts in which they are written, and the many methods writers use to express their views and critiques. Classes teach grammatical conventions, methods of annotation, how to identify rhetorical devices utilized by writers, and how to use those devices themselves to build strong writing. Students learn skills in summarizing, explaining, analyzing, synthesizing, researching, extrapolating, and persuading. And we have a good time doing all of this.
High school students take classes in American Literature, 20th Century, English Literature, and AP English Language and Composition. Students learn through creative writing projects how to put into practice the strategies and moves made by good writers. Through AP English Language and Composition, students engage in a semester-long research paper project using primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, resulting in a research paper with multiple source citations in MLA format.
In social studies, students begin with AP Human Geography, learning about the movement of people and the places they inhabit, and then move on to AP Comparative Government, which allows students to examine and contrast several countries and forms of government in depth. As juniors, students study the US Constitution, which helps them understand the foundation of our government and their own rights as citizens. Seniors study AP Psychology, which is perhaps the most cross-curricular class, combining biology, research methodology, various psychological theories, and studies of social and individual behavior across cultures.
Ultimately, our graduates can examine different perspectives both critically and empathetically, write using various literary devices and rhetorical strategies, and come from a place of having experienced “in the field” through our experiential education focus, how all of these more abstract theories and concepts work in the world where we live and breathe.