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.
Upper School students train intensively in reading, writing, listening and speaking to learn about others' experiences and ideas and to express their own with clarity and power. In the English 9-11 sequence, students learn to read closely as well as to write in a wide variety of genres with goals of emerging with nuanced tools, greater resourcefulness, and nuanced self-awareness that will help them navigate our complex and changing world. Seniors take electives that allow them to follow their interests in particular genres of writing and research disciplines to deepen their writing skills and prepare them for the rigors of college English programs. Fostering confidence, empathy, adaptability, and creativity are all aspirations of the Upper School English program.