The English program seeks to foster a love of reading and writing. We offer students literature as a place for exploring the deepest human questions, and writing as a way to capture ideas, connect with others, and respond to and reimagine our lives.
Lower School students practice observation skills, posing questions and theories, and telling their stories while listening to those of others. Reading and writing workshops highlight the details of language, building up literacy and craft. Major projects draw students deeply into inquiry with an emphasis on collecting information, working towards a common goal, organizing their thoughts, and presenting their work with joy and confidence.
Middle School students grow in their engagement with literature, analyzing for theme and perspective while noting writers’ choices. In the sixth grade combined English-History Humanities class, and later in English 7 and 8, they learn to build evidence-based arguments and account for their reasoning, while continuing to experiment with different genres. The themes involve coming of age, finding agency in the world, and the literature—from Peak to Maus—powerfully opens up those explorations.
Learning to read closely (focusing intently and thoroughly on text to gather meaning), Upper School students grow in their empathy for and understanding of the many ways of being human. They train intensively in writing, learning to write clearly and powerfully through English 9 to 11 and in the various senior courses, whether organizing their thoughts into an argument, accounting for their research, or developing their voice in a specific genre or form. Emerging with greater understanding, resourcefulness, and self-awareness, students are prepared to engage confidently and creatively with the world around them.