English Department

Reading and Writing; Speaking and Listening; Critical Thinking

The WRHS English Department fosters in all students the ability to think critically by giving students a solid grounding in reading and writing, and speaking and listening. After taking the core courses of English 9 and English 10, Wachusett students choose from a variety of English electives during their junior and senior years. A key component of all English courses, in both the lower and upper schools, is the literary analysis, or critique. The critique is one component of the Wachusett Writing Standard that all students must complete to achieve a determination of competency in writing.

English Department Program Guide, Faculty


English Program

WRHS students must pass four years of English to graduate. Students receive a core curriculum in English 9 and English 10 in the Lower School, before choosing from a variety of English electives in the Upper School. The complete English Program Guide contains complete descriptions of English courses, policies, and prerequisites. English courses are offered at the Honors, CPA, and CP levels.

WRHS Writing Standard

All students must meet the WRHS Writing Standard to earn a diploma. English 9 and English 10 teachers will review with their students the provisions of this policy. The complete WRHS Writing Standard and English Department Policy on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism, is available for download.

Students must properly cite all their sources. Failure to do so could result in a grade of 0 on an assignment. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an excellent resource to help students follow MLA conventions when citing sources.

Policies of the WRHS English Dept.

Students must take at least one English class each semester and may not take more than three in a year. The freshmen and sophomore curriculum focuses on the study of literary genres so students can become familiar with the conventions of literary structures and with literary vocabulary. The freshmen classes focus on structure and form, while sophomore classes broaden the study to include audience, purpose, a writer's style, and voice. All freshmen will read The Odyssey, or substantial excerpts; at least one play by Shakespeare; and at least one novel. Sophomores will read A Raisin in the Sun, at least one novel, and at least one play by Shakespeare. Both grades will study various poems, short stories, and nonfiction pieces.

Literary Analysis: Critical thinking and analysis lie at the heart of WRHS English instruction. Students will write one literary analysys in freshman year, two in sophomore year, and at least one in all literature electives they take. The WRHS English Department Guide to Literary Analysis offers an explanation of the literary analysis and of its elements.

Students are expected to complete  homework assignments in all WRHS English classes. English teachers assign homework according to the English Department Homework Philosophy, which follows District policy in emphasizing that homework be reasonable and purposeful.