The English department curriculum reflects the goals of the high school by leading students to a deeper understanding of themselves and the communities of which they are a part. Through reading and discussing appropriate literature and refining their communication skills, students learn to examine their own ideas and to comprehend and value the ideas of others who are different from them. The objective of the department is to develop the critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills necessary for effective personal and community enrichment.
PHS develops students’ abilities to read critically about significant strands of the vast literature written in English across history and around the globe. An offshoot of this will also be the ability to read any text, whether literary or not, with subtlety and insight.
This goal prioritizes understanding the differences between historical periods and recognizing that literature created during disparate moments needs in ways that must be approached with an awareness of specifically political and social contexts quite different from the present.
Critical Speaking & Writing
Through the study of literary texts students will explore the structure and use of language throughout history as well as questions and relationships between literature and other forms of symbolic narration, for example film and television. The aim is not merely to master reading many different kinds of creative writing, but to articulate what literary art and narrative achieves within culture.
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English 9 Honors
|English 10 Honors
English 10 Honors is a course that challenges students to think critically about the disparate ideas and the vast information available in our contemporary world. Students learn to use technology as a means to enhance their learning experience through class blog discussions and other online academic tools, while also learning to assess the vulnerabilities created by technology through studying dystopian novels like Fahrenheit 451 and 1984.
|English 11 Honors
English 11 Honors is a course where students are challenged to consider the ethical implications of the status quo of various historical eras through the study of some of the most influential works in American Literature, such as Frederick Douglass' Narrative of The Life of An American Slave, and The Great Gatsby. Through this course, students hone their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills by learning to think through the complexities of the popular ideas that shape American culture.
|Language Arts 9
This course is designed to increase literacy in all students. We will be studying various forms of literature with the purpose of becoming better writers. Each student will assemble a writer’s notebook throughout the course of the year to keep track of their writing process and build a portfolio of polished pieces.
|Language Arts 9 Honors
This course seeks to develop skills in writing style, grammar, and critical thinking through analysis of classic works of literature.
|Language Arts 11
This course is designed to increase literacy in all students. We will be studying various forms of literature from American authors with the purpose of becoming better writers. Each student will assemble a writer’s notebook throughout the course of the year to keep track of their writing process and build a portfolio of polished pieces.
|Language Arts 11 Honors
This course seeks to develop skills in writing style, grammar, and critical thinking primarily through analysis of influential American literature.
Mythology is a course that not only seeks to familiarize students with popular mythical literature, but also to challenge them to consider what about human nature is reflected in the age-old appeal of myth and fantasy. Students' reading, writing, and critical thinking skills are cultivated through a study of various pieces of mythical and fantasy literature which give insight to the human condition.
|Philosophy & Literature
This course seeks to spark an appreciation for the literal meaning of philosophy, a "love of wisdom," as students are introduced to the subject of philosophy and some of the literature from its most influential thinkers. Students will hone their writing and critical thinking skills as they engage the most basic questions in philosophy and are challenged to consider what bearing those questions have on their everyday lives.
|Speech & Debate
This course is designed to increase literacy and communication skills through the study of logic, argument, and presentation skills.