The Upper School English program stresses communication and critical thinking through the following: active, analytical reading with emphasis on identifying themes and finding supporting textual evidence; understanding fiction and nonfiction at multiple levels and from multiple perspectives; effective class discussion and articulate oral expression; active listening and note-taking; the development of grammar and vocabulary; and the effective use of technology. The English program is committed to the idea that good writing emerges from a process, beginning with close reading and note-taking and extending through brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and, most importantly, multiple stages of revision.
The Upper School English curriculum consists of a four–year sequence. The ninth and tenth grades review fundamental reading and writing skills gained in Middle School, with increasing emphasis placed on analysis in all major genres of literature (poetry, drama, novels, short stories, and creative nonfiction). The eleventh and twelfth grades continue a focus on close literary interpretation, with an added dimension of historical context; these years also include advanced instruction in rhetoric and argumentative writing. The school offers AP Language and Composition (nonfiction) as well as AP Literature and Composition (fiction) in the eleventh and/or twelfth grades.