The English Department of Barrington High School embraces the understanding that people are literate when they can comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and analyze concepts from a text; synthesize those concepts with their own thinking and experiences; and transfer their understanding to solve problems and create new texts. The English department’s curriculum provides opportunities for students to unlock meaning and possibility in language, question conventions, and explore the ideas of literary and informational texts that shape our existence and culture. In an age of immediacy and globalization, the ability to recognize patterns and make meaning by reading and listening carefully and communicating clearly have never been more important. In a serious study of literary and informational texts and the English language, students learn how to read carefully, with attention to language, context, purpose, and audience. An understanding of archetypal patterns and rhetorical strategies guides our study of classic and contemporary novels, drama, poetry, literary non-fiction, informational texts, and visual and oral texts. Speaking and active listening provide an important underpinning to our curriculum, a set of skills taught in every course. In each English class, clear, sophisticated, cohesive writing is the goal, with an emphasis on original voice, the building of a strong argument with supporting details, and the effective manipulation of grammar, diction, and syntax. We want all students to graduate with the understanding that words have power and help them shape their perceptions and that the imaginative use of language empowers them and offers them a richer appreciation of life.
Students must take four full years of English to graduate and meet state requirements, choosing from a rich array of courses that are both challenging and appropriately responsive to student needs and abilities.