In 10th grade English, sophomores read classic texts like The Catcher in the Rye and Macbeth alongside modern young adult novels, allowing them to consider multiple forms of literature and practice and improve their skills with both classic and modern works. The year focuses on a consideration of our social context, what it means to live a good life, and how teenagers are perceived in our society. Students work to develop their own well-considered opinions, to support their points with facts and quotes, and to keep an open mind while listening to classmates’ thoughts. They spend most of the year working in book clubs, discussing their young adult texts, collaborating on projects, and learning to work both cooperatively and independently at high levels.
In 12th grade English, seniors read classics such as Hamlet and Frankenstein, focusing on the gray areas in the texts – areas of ambiguity in ethics, morality, science, politics, and interpersonal relationships where there is no clear “right” or “wrong.” In working with issues that do not have a readily apparent answer, students hone their critical thinking skills and push themselves to truly consider an issue, rather than accepting the “easy” answer. They work to develop their own personal opinions and beliefs while supporting them with research and expert opinions, and are challenged to share and debate their stances with classmates in a respectful and open-minded manner through class debates. Throughout the year, they strive to become deep and critical thinkers on a wide range of issues, to better prepare them for life after high school.