In Upper School English, students build on their reading, writing, and critical thinking skills through guided practice. We challenge them to read with imagination, think logically, and write clearly and persuasively. With each new year, students navigate more sophisticated texts and ideas while developing their voices. In 9th grade, students explore literary genres: short stories, novels, poetry, essays, and drama. Tenth grade takes students on a journey through British literature, 11th grade offers literature of the United States, and 12th grade features a variety of topics and genres, often rooted in teachers’ particular passions and interests. As teachers, we model what we hope our students will gain: an enthusiastic appreciation for literature and an understanding of the strength that comes from forming personal connections to the literature.

Classes are generally discussion-based, thought-provoking, and fun, and students are expected to ground the discussions in the particular text. We are grateful for students who bring their receptivity, curiosity, sense of humor, and, most important, their willingness to be involved. We expect students to approach the reading in a spirit of inquiry and discovery, an approach that harmonizes with the Quaker notion of “continuing revelation.” Students regularly practice supporting their claims with evidence and are pushed to think critically and creatively. Writing improvement also requires regular practice, and students do so through journals, analytical essays, and creative pieces that develop their voices and strengthen their skills. Students are also encouraged to meet with their teachers for more individualized attention.

Studying literature lets us learn more about being human and being with humans. By listening to the literature—and to each other—with care and imagination, we gain deeper insights than we would find alone. We hope our curriculum and our teaching provide students with an array of resources: the ability to communicate effectively, use humor, appreciate the powers and pleasures of language, and be mindful of the complexity within our world and within ourselves.

Student Publications