Department Chair: Ms. Torri Park

The aim of the English Department is to enable our students to achieve proficiency in all four skills – writing, reading, speaking and listening. Our curriculum reinforces basic skills and develops critical thinking and analysis through the study of classic and contemporary literature. Our methods encourage students to achieve a positive attitude toward communication while raising their interest in and understanding of language and culture. Our intent is that, by furthering our students’ understanding of the English language and western literature, we will assist them in becoming bilingual and bicultural.

All students are required to take an English class at all grades. And for each grade, students are able to take elective courses offered by the department.

Please refer to the following description of each grade level. 

English 9

This course will focus on reading, writing, and communicating in English. In order to acquire these skills, student must also encompass collaboration skills. In 9th grade English, students will be working together to acquire these skills through various genres of literature. Topics covered in the 9th grade include Greek Mythology, Memoirs, and ‘How society shapes people’. The titles include: Boy (Roald Dahl), Seedfoldks (Paul Fleishman), True Grit (Charles Portis), The Lightening Thief - Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan). Students will be grouped according to three ability levels. 

English 10

This course will focus on improving reading and composition skills through a study of language and literature. Emphasis is placed on developing oral and written expression. Included in the course are grammar study, vocabulary building, reading skill development, the process of composition, and oral communications. Students will read and analyze various genres: short story, novel, play, and poetry. Titles include: Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, Wonder (R.J. Palacio), and The Boy Who Dared (Susan Campbell Bartoleti). Students will be grouped according to three ability levels.

English 11

This course will focus on building skills beyond basic reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills while also developing critical thinking skills through classroom discussions and themed literature. This will be an interdisciplinary course; all selected readings will be written by American authors having contexts related to their US Government and History course. Titles include: The Great Gatsby (Scott Fitzgerald), Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck), and Paranoid Park (Blake Nelson). Students will be grouped according to three ability levels.

English 12

This course will focus on exploring literature from all over the world and exposes students to a variety of literary genres. Students will be expected to examine the literature studied with both an academic and creative perspective. Titles include: Angels and Demons (Dan Brown), The Blue Fairy Book (Andrew Lang; a collection of classic fairytales from around the world), The Real Thing (Tom Stoppard), and other short story collections. Students will be grouped according to two ability levels.


An in-school placement test, as well as semester grades and teacher recommendation will determine whether a student should be placed in required elective courses in 9th and 10th grades.  The student’s score on the TOEFL test (or other standardized tests) will not necessarily have an effect on the placements. In 11th and 12th grade, a wider variety of elective courses are offered for students to choose from. 

Oral Communication 9

The purpose of this course is to develop students’ speaking and listening skills, as well as to have them acquire a love of learning and speaking English. The students must be ready to speak, take notes, participate, and practice. The level of English will be mixed.

ESL 10

The purpose of this course is to work on students’ basic grammar skills – Verb Tenses, Prepositions, Phrasal Verbs, Pronouns and so on. In addition to grammar practice, there will be journal writing, giving short presentations, and note taking. Vocabulary and spelling activities will be based on not just vocabulary from the course, but words from other content area courses as well.

Language Arts 10

The purpose of this course is to improve and enrich the students’ language skills. The curriculum includes reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary development, and oral presentations. Students will be required to show steady improvement in these essential skills.

Advanced Language Arts 10

The purpose of this course is to facilitate student growth in the areas of reading, writing, spelling, and grammatical skills. This course will expose students to a variety of styles of English; including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, journalism, etc. Skills such as language, word identification, writing, vocabulary, and comprehension will be taught. The course also focuses on applying writing, spelling, and grammatical skills in developing the writing process.

Language Arts 11

The purpose of this course is to increase fluency and confidence in all areas of English language development. The purpose of this course also includes inspiring each student to develop insight into American culture. Through various activities, students will achieve higher comprehension of English. Students will be required to show steady improvement in the essential skills. Students will be assigned to this course. Even if a student chooses other English Elective courses (Drama or Creative Writing) he/she may be placed in Language Arts 11. Enrollment will be limited to students who were assigned but other students may take the course with permission from the English Department.

Drama 11-12

This course will provide opportunities for students to be exposed to and learn about all aspects of theater, both on stage and backstage. Students will learn about performance through engaging in theater exercises such as improvisation, monologues, and scene construction. But students will also be exposed to staging, directing, lighting, set designing and script writing. Throughout the year, there will be numerous performances, but the class will come together to work toward a final play in the spring. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn all aspects of drama.

Creative Writing 11-12

This course will use a workshop format to develop a community of writers. Students will experiment with various forms of writing, such as short stories, poetry, plays, and articles. Focus will be put on self and peer revision. Students will also keep a weekly journal in which they will respond to writing prompts. The class will undertake the publication of a school-wide literary magazine. This is a course for writers at all levels. Space will be limited.

Developing Oral English 12

To achieve the course goal of improving oral English, students must be willing to speak in English during the class, not only to the teacher but to one another. Activities will include telling stories, giving directions and instructions, explaining topics, describing people and events, and planning activities. These activities will be designed to increase each student’s active vocabulary and fluency. Oral presentations will include reciting poems, singing songs, improvising scenes, presenting monologues, and acting short scenes before an audience. The grade will be based on individual effort, and speaking Japanese in class will lower a student’s grade. Both oral and written tests will be given.

Language Arts 12

This course will explore various universal themes and social issues through the use of readings, discussion, and film. Students will conduct a number of projects and presentations in the course of the year. There will be an emphasis on the improvement of all skills; speaking, reading, vocabulary, grammar, writing and listening. The course will also focus on improving TOEFL scores.  Therefore, weekly vocabulary tests will be a big part of the grade.  Also, during the term exams, students will be tested on grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension, similar to what is required on the TOEFL test. Due to the nature of the course, students who have a high TOEFL score cannot take the course, regardless of his/her English class level.  Enrollment will be limited. 

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