Effective reading and writing skills are as important for effective communication as speaking and listening skills. Reading and writing are the basis of written communication and, therefore, are an integral part of each educated individual’s life. Written communication is an essential tool for people to express their ideas and learn about the ideas of others.

English Course Descriptions

AP English Language & Composition

Following the College Board’s suggested curriculum designed to parallel college-level English courses, AP English Language and Composition courses expose students to prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts. These courses emphasize the interaction of authorial purpose, intended audience, and the subject at hand, and through them, students learn to develop stylistic flexibility as they write compositions covering a variety of subjects that are intended for various purposes.

AP English Literature & Composition

Advanced Placement English is for twelfth-grade students who want an intensive, college-level English course that prepares them to take one or both of the AP English Exams. The course is conducted much like a college seminar, and therefore it requires high-quality work in and out of class.Students read works of literature analytically and critically, and they respond with increasing sensitivity and discrimination of language. Essays focus on literary analysis but students have some opportunity to practice creative writing.

Biblical Literature

Biblical Literature courses have the same aim as general literature courses (to improve students’ language arts and critical-thinking skills), focusing on the books of the Bible. Students may compare techniques, styles, and themes of the various books; examine the Bible’s influence on secular literature; and may study historical events of Biblical times. Oral discussion is an integral part of these courses, and written compositions are often required.

Core +

Tutorial courses provide students with the assistance they need to successfully complete their coursework. Students may receive help in one or several subjects.​

English 9, 10, 11, 12

English 9 builds upon students’ prior knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, word usage, and the mechanics of writing and usually include the four aspects of language use: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Typically, this course introduces and defines various genres of literature, with writing exercises often linked to reading selections.

English 10 usually offers a balanced focus on composition and literature. Typically, students learn about the alternate aims and audiences of written compositions by writing persuasive, critical, and creative multi-paragraph essays and compositions. Through the study of various genres of literature, students can improve their reading rate and comprehension and develop the skills to determine the author’s intent and theme and to recognize the techniques used by the author to deliver his or her message.

English 11 continues to develop students’ writing skills, emphasizing clear, logical writing patterns, word choice, and usage, as students write essays and begin to learn the techniques of writing research papers. Students continue to read works of literature, which often form the backbone of the writing assignments. Literary conventions and stylistic devices may receive greater emphasis than in previous courses.

English 12 blends composition and literature into a cohesive whole as students write critical and comparative analyses of selected literature, continuing to develop their language arts skills. Typically, students primarily write multi-paragraph essays, but they may also write one or more major research papers.

Environmental Literature/Law/Policy

​Through the analysis of environmental literature and examination of important laws and policy, students will explore the complex relationship between human beings and the environment. Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of how literature, philosophy, and governmental action have correlated historically with important environmental issues. Content will include local, regional and global policy changes and current legislation and will be supported by a combination of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and case studies.

ESOL 1, 2, 3

ESOL 1: Students begin a journey of adding a new language and culture to their international experiences. The course fosters a love for reading by using a readers’ workshop model that allows students to explore new texts in English. Students practice English across the domains of writing, speaking, listening, and reading in lessons that explore open-ended questions and model real-world environments to follow the interests of students. They use English to solve problems as well as to investigate personal interests and academic themes. Students learn social vocabulary quickly and build understanding of key academic vocabulary that spans across disciplines. The course explores students’ cultures and how these connect to their new community. Students use their strengths in these cultures and their native languages to learn English. Each student in ESOL 1 forms a graduation plan to achieve individualized post-secondary goals.

ESOL 2: Students use academic English vocabulary in open-ended projects that require public speaking and writing for real audiences. Students continue their exploration of reading and supplement this with a writers workshop model that focuses on learning the process of revision to express ideas in public forums. Students continue to use their own cultures and languages as strengths for gaining new insights and expressing themselves in English. They build on and refine their individual graduation plans, with teacher and counselor support, and explore options for connecting with school and community extracurricular resources and activities. Finally, the ESOL 2 teacher coordinates with content teachers to tailor instruction to the needs of students in ESOL 2 who are also taking courses required for graduation.

ESOL 3: Supports advanced English Learners taking rigorous academic courses required for meeting graduation requirements. Students who take ESOL 3 learn academic vocabulary that may be applied across a range of courses required for meeting graduation requirements. They explore their linguistic and cultural heritage and connect these to the civic and economic life of their community in individual and collaborative projects. The ESOL 3 course emphasizes applying academic vocabulary in advanced academic writing, research, and projects with real-world audiences. Students use these skills to excel on class assignments and give presentations using formal oral English. Students create, revisit, and revise individual graduation plans and connect their curricular and extracurricular activities to postsecondary goals. The ESOL 3 teacher coordinates with content course teachers to tailor instruction to the needs of students in ESOL 3 who are also taking courses required for graduation.

Prerequisite: Assessment

ESOL Study Skills 1, 2

This ESOL course is designed as a writing-intensive resource class to support English Learners who are taking a mainstream-level course load. The ESOL teacher works closely with content area teachers to design enrichment lessons that teach content curriculum with an emphasis on comprehension and academic vocabulary. Students also receive support in test-taking and study skills, organizational skills, SOL preparation, and effective reading strategies.

Genre Studies

This course will focus on one genre each quarter, rotating through a variety of genre over the course of a year. Quarterly offerings could include non-fiction, poetry, and contemporary literature, as well as more specialized studies such as historical fiction, dystopian/science fiction, or magical realism. Students will sample a variety of writers and literature in each studied genre, and will incorporate independent and individualized reading programs designed to allow each student the opportunity to explore a variety of topics.

IB English 11, 12

​IB English 11 and 12 are organized into three parts, each focused on a different aspect of literature and performance. Together, the three parts of each course cover the critical study of literary texts, exploration of chosen approaches to a text, and realization of texts in performance. Students engage with a wide variety of textual genres to explore the concept of transformation, examining the ways in which the contexts of production and reception shape meaning.

Courses must be taken in sequence.

Media Studies

A multi-disciplinary course that will explore multimodal communication,including news writing, photojournalism, social media, fiction and documentary filmmaking, and entertainment, and their broader sociological implications. Designed to offer cross-curricular opportunities in the humanities, including English, history, psychology, sociology, and journalism. Students will be given the opportunity to explore various topics and interests through individualized projects.

Peer Tutoring 1, 2, 3

Peer Tutoring 1: Students are responsible for operating the school’s peer tutoring center. They will learn a variety of pedagogical approaches and practice leadership skills that will serve them in their future professions. In addition to tutoring, students will strengthen their own knowledge in areas such as study habits, resume writing, and research skills. All students are required to tutor for approximately 45 minutes outside of class, once per week.

Peer Tutoring 2: Students apply the knowledge they gained in Peer Tutoring 1 to take on an enhanced leadership role in the peer tutoring center. They will contribute to managing center operations, mentoring new tutors, and heightening school-wide academic achievement. They will make at least one significant contribution to the wider peer tutoring community; for example, by presenting at a conference or publishing a scholarly article.

Peer Tutoring 3: Building on the leadership skills they established in Peer Tutoring 2, tutors in Peer Tutoring 3 apprentice with a sponsor teacher for the duration of the school year, engaging in a deep study of that educator’s approach to instruction in his or her academic field. These seniors will also work with a consistent group of clients on an ongoing basis. They will report on their learning via regular reflection logs, and both create a portfolio of their learning across their three years as a tutor, and innovate a permanent learning tool for the benefit of the school.

Prerequisites: Peer Tutoring 2 students must successfully complete Peer Tutoring 1 and be tutors in good standing.

Peer Tutoring 3 is a weighted course.

PVCC ENG 111/112 College Composition I/II

ENG 111 College Composition I introduces students to critical thinking and the fundamentals of academic writing. Through the writing process, students refine topics: develop and support ideas; investigate, evaluate, and incorporate appropriate resources; edit for effective style and usage; and determine appropriate approaches for a variety of contexts, audiences, and purposes. Writing activities will include exposition and argumentation with at least one researched essay.

ENG 112 College Composition II continues to develop college writing with increased emphasis on critical essays, argumentation, and research, developing these competencies through the examination of a range of texts about the human experience. Requires students to locate, evaluate, integrate and document sources and effectively edit for style and usage.​

Prerequisite: ENG 111 or its equivalent is a prerequisite for ENG 112.

Skills Development Read/Write 1, 2, 3, 4

This course is offered for students who need significant support in literacy. It is designed to develop and enhance fundamental reading and writing skills. Course content includes skills development through decoding and encoding, vocabulary development, comprehension practice, and exposure to various reading strategies. Course content in writing includes instruction in the areas of composition, written expression, usage, and mechanics.