The overall goals of the English program are to develop students’ appreciation of literature, encourage a lifelong habit of reading, and guide students to speak, listen, read and write with increasing depth and sophistication.
Students may study classic works such as The Catcher in the Rye, Macbeth, or Jane Eyre, learning about the historical context of the work and spending time discussing how a classic work relates (or doesn’t) to their lives, as well as the current social or political world. The curriculum also includes many contemporary authors such as Toni Morrison, Tim O’Brien, and Julia Alvarez, and students explore how these texts connect to the world they live in and the literature that came before. Students attend performances at the Flynn Theater, workshops led by dancers or actors, watch relevant films, and practice creative writing to connect to texts in a variety of ways. Students are given differentiated assignments and assessments that both appeal to their interests and challenge each student individually.
A favorite part of the English curriculum is our participation in the Vermont Young Playwright’s Festival. Each year, one or two classes work with a professional playwright to produce student-written, ten-minute plays. Students workshop their plays, do staged readings of them in class, and a few plays are selected to be produced for the school’s annual Drama Club performance. Professional playwrights also select two plays to be performed by professional actors at a statewide festival.
In English class, students grow academically and personally. Literature is a springboard for them to consider their own intellectual, creative, and moral development. Some skills that are developed in the English curriculum are:
- reading comprehension
- critical thinking
- public speaking
- group discussion
- test preparation
- time management & organization