Department Highlights* Classroom Libraries: In the past two years, the English department has ordered thousands of new, diverse books and created classroom libraries in each of our classrooms. This is a part of our new Voice and Choice program that aligns with the research of educational leaders Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher. Both experts have encouraged schools to raise student achievement by offering choice based on skill, interest, and identity. We've seen much success with our new goals and will continue to provide anchor, group, and independent texts that ellicit insightful discussions relating to both historical and contemporary concerns.
* Advanced Placement Courses: The English Department offers AP Language and Composition in the 11th grade and AP Literature and Composition in the 12th grade. All four AP teachers are committed to preparing for the AP exam through complex readings of various genres and voices, formalist and reader-response analysis, various writing activities, and project-based learning. We encourage all students committed to the challenge to talk to their English teachers, counselors, and parents and register if the course feels right for you.
* Writing Workshop: Writing Workshop is a course designed for the heterogeneous learning experience. This unique course focuses on skill improvement in a unconventional way with students from all backgrounds, grades, and levels. Advanced students are encouraged to elect the class as mentors while concentrating on ways to get their work published.
* Keystone Exams: Keystone Exams are intended to be given at the end of the course for which they are associated. The three subjects currently scheduled for Keystone Exams are Algebra, Biology, and Literature (associated with our 10th grade English). Like the preparation for the PSSA, Common Core Standards will be strategically embedded through carefully designed lesson plans, and student data will drive many of the targeted performance goals.
* Senior Graduation Project: Each 12th grade student is required to complete a culminating project in order to graduate. The goals of the project are to provide students with choices so he or she can demonstrate strengths; create a valid, equitable, and reliable learning experience for all students; create an opportunity for students to self-direct and reflect on their work; and encourage students to explore a topic of personal interest and passion to promote lifelong learning skills. See Ms. Rieger's webpage for more information.
* Theater Program: Working in concert with our electives, the high school produces a yearly dramatic play and musical. The quality reputation of our high school productions continues year after year. Any student interest may participate. See Mr. Darnell, Ms. Imhoff, or Ms. Durland for more information.
* Newspaper and Literary Magazine: Our high school Journalism and Creative Writing classes are responsible for preparing for and contributing to a quarterly newspaper, The Viking Call, and a yearly online literary magazine, Valhalla. These electives are open to all students. Though encouraged, a student does not need to take the electives to participate in the newspaper and magazine activities after school. See Ms. Rieger or Mr. Darnell for more information.
* UM Reads: UM Reads is the high school's reading series created to encourge all writers 9-12 to submit and share work in an entertaining public platform. UM Reads showcases in the LGI or library 2-3 times per year. Work can be submitted to the Valhalla staff for consideration.
* The Morning Buzz/Viking Channel: Though not immediately associated with the English program in the high school, The Morning Buzz and the Viking Channel provide a number of students with the opportunity to improve speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. The department also has a Film and Television course, which compliments these extracurricular activities. These extra-curricullars are open to all interested students. See Mr. Schurtz or Mr. Reagan for more information.
* English as a Second Language: As the demands of ESL grow, our teachers have been enthusiastically pursuing seminars, courses, and workshops that foster on-going creative instruction. Open to students in need of ELL support. See Ms. Nagy and Mrs. Schumacher for more information.