San Francisco High School of the Arts

High School English Department

Our English program focuses on Western classics. Students explore the merits of traditional values through activities designed to enhance core language skills, critical thinking, and literary analysis.

Our literature-based program helps students’ develop literary analysis skills, understand complex rhetorical analysis, and learn how to write well-organized, expository essays. Grammar, vocabulary, poetry, and public speaking are all formally taught in our English program. Further, students practice creative writing through interdisciplinary activities such as playwriting and media projects.

Our Intensive ESL Program facilitates the development of essential academic and everyday English language skills for international students from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Course Description

  • English I
  • English II/English II Honors

Grades Offered: 9

Prerequisites: none

UC Approved: Yes

English I is a comprehensive reading, writing, and public speaking course. Students practice literary analysis skills using novels, short stories, and poetry of multiple genres. They build a foundation of strong writing skills through essay writing, literary response, and creative writing. In this class, students expand their academic vocabulary, demonstrate proper use of grammar, and strengthen their public speaking skills.

Grades Offered: 10

Prerequisites: English I or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

English II, focuses on rhetorical analysis, application of rhetoric to writing, and composing extensive academic papers. Students refine their listening and reading comprehension, writing skills, and academic vocabulary. They prepare and deliver effective messages in a variety of ways. This includes learning how to conduct an interview or give a speech on an academic topic. Completion of a substantial creative writing project is also required for this class.

  • English III/English III Honors (American Literature)
  • English IV/English IV Honors (British Literature)

Grades Offered: 11

Prerequisites: English II or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

English III, explores American culture, traditions, and history through a diverse study of literature, beginning with oral stories of Native Americans and ending with works from contemporary American authors. Major themes include the forming of American identity; transcendentalism; national conflicts and the Civil War; modernism and postmodernism; and modern media and its implications. Possible readings include: The Grapes of Wrath, A Raisin in the Sun, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Moby Dick, and The Red Badge of Courage.

Grades Offered: 11/12

Prerequisites: English II or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

English IV explores ​​the origins of the English language and English literature through European classical works that have significantly influenced western thought and culture. Possible readings include: Pride and Prejudice, Lord Jim, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Macbeth, A Man For All Seasons, Excerpts from ​Utopia, Canterbury Tales, Gulliver’s Travels.

  • AP English Language and Composition
  • AP English Literature and Composition

Grades Offered: 11,12

Prerequisites: English II or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

AP English Language helps students become skilled readers of a variety of prose and adept writers able to compose written work for many different purposes. Students also prepare for the AP test in May.

Grades Offered: 12

Prerequisites: English III or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

AP English Literature​​ examines great works of literature from the 1600s to the present and analyzes not only themes but also the authors’ craft and use of literary elements. Students also prepare for the AP test in May.

  • The Art of Rhetoric (Honors)

Grades Offered: 12

Prerequisites: English II or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

This course enables students to read and comprehend complex non-fiction texts and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers.

High School Academic Departments

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