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English: Upper School Courses

OVERVIEW OF UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH

In the Upper School, we extend the fluency in the study of literature, writing, and thought that our students have already acquired in Middle School. Our Upper School English curriculum starts with a required course for all students in both 9th and 10th grades as students advance to a more complex understanding of language, genre, voice and style, both in the writing of others and their own.

Our English curriculum adds many further options for 11th and 12th graders including exciting electives such as Modern Poetry, Film and Aesthetics, Latin American Literature, and Literary New York. We also encourage juniors and seniors to consider our rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) English Language Seminar and AP English Literature courses.

With departmental approval and the appropriate instructor, highly motivated students may take independent study as juniors and seniors. Seniors not taking AP English courses in the fall of their senior year enroll in our dynamic Senior Seminar, where students refine the critical writing and reading skills they have developed during their first three years in the Upper School.


Writing opportunities abound in the curriculum and in extracurricular settings. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may enroll in A Writer’s Life to develop talents as writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. The English Department also offers workshops in fiction and poetry. Student publications– such as The Poly Arts Journal, The Polyglot (our yearbook), and The Polygon (our student newspaper)—offer committed student writers the chance to conceive, design, edit, and write for the entire Poly community.

Ultimately, Poly 12th graders will finish Upper School prepped for the rigors of college writing across many disciplines. Poly seniors also graduate with a sophisticated ability to ground thematic perceptions in close textual analysis, make cogent arguments, formulate their own ideas, and imagine the inner lives and points of view of characters very different from their own.
UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH COURSE SEQUENCE
 
     FORM III FORM IV FORM V FORM VI
English Literary Awakenings
English Electives
The Modern Problem
English Electives
The American Experience
AP English Language Seminar
English Electives
Senior Seminar
AP English Literature
English Electives
COURSES (Click on the Expandable Links Below To Read Course Descriptions)
English 9: Literary Awakenings
Required in Form III
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English 10: Exploring the Modern Problem
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English 11: The American Experience
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Senior Seminar
Required for all non-AP Form VI students in the fall
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Advanced Placement Options (Click on the Expandable Links Below To Read Course Descriptions)
AP English Language & Composition Seminar
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AP English Literature
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English Electives (Click on the Expandable Links Below To Read Course Descriptions)
Debate
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Film & Aesthetics
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Gender Studies through Literature
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Gods and Monsters
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Identity through Literature's Prism
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Literary New York
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Magical Realism: The Art of Surprises
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Men and Women with Weapons
Elective for Forms V and VI
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Philosophy: An Introduction
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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Shakespeare
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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The Writer's Life
Elective for Grade 11/Form V and Grade 12/Form VI
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INDEPENDENT STUDY IN ENGLISH
With the approval of the department and an instructor, Poly students (generally in Grade 11/Form V & Grade 12/Form VI) may arrange to take independent study in English.  Among the possible topics are:
  • Playwriting
  • Poetry Workshop
  • Creative Writing
  • Works by Anton Chekov (Russian Literature in translation)
Other independent study topics may also be available, dependent upon faculty expertise.