The English Department strives to work on developing analytical thinking skills and writing skills in all students so that each student can contribute to society in a positive way and find success in life. Students and parents should carefully read the English Department Guidelines posted below to familiarize themselves with policies and procedures that apply.


  1. Each student should have a writing folder that includes all writing efforts made throughout the course of the The writing folder will remain in the classroom.
  1. Each student should prepare for class by bringing the materials that his or her teacher requests (i.e. notebook, binder, loose leaf, textbook, ). All English textbooks are to be covered.
  1. Teachers will assign a minimum of two essays per quarter, written and typed outside of Essays should be at least three paragraphs in length for freshman and sophomores and five for juniors and seniors. One paragraph does not qualify as an essay.
  1. Students will follow MLA guidelines for formatting the essay, which must be typed and handed in with prewriting and drafting All teachers will follow and review the steps of the writing process.

Points will be deducted for late work. Students will be notified at least one week in advance of due date.

Essays about literature are to be written in active voice, present tense, and third person. Introductory paragraph should include the following: title and author, thesis statement, and essay map.


All teachers will follow a rubric for grading essays. Copies will be provided for students.


If a student needs help in writing the essay, he or she must schedule an appointment after school for a writing conference with his or her teacher. Students should prepare a list of questions for the teacher to answer and highlight sentences that lack clarity and precision so that the conference is a productive as possible. Rough drafts may be reworked before the final copy is due.


If a parent has a question about an essay, the English department requests the parent follow this sequence of steps: the student should schedule an appointment for a writing conference after school, the parent should acquire a copy of the essay, and then, if still necessary, the parent should contact the teacher to schedule a conference. Both student and parent should be prepared with a list of questions for the teacher to explain or answer.

  1. A minimum of three major unit tests will be given each All major unit tests will include an essay question or a choice of essay questions. Teachers may give an essay test or use a combined format of objective and essay questions.
  1. Juniors will compose a research paper by the third quarter of their junior Freshman and sophomore teachers will work on teaching research tools such as preparing a list of works cited, narrowing a topic, note taking, creating bibliography cards, etc. Teachers of juniors will require students to research and compose the paper, and teachers of seniors will review, assign, and evaluate a research paper. All students in college preparatory or honors courses will write a fully documented, multiple source paper both junior and senior years.

All English teachers will use the MLA system of documentation for research papers. Useful sources include The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, seventh edition and A Writer’s Reference, sixth edition, by Diana Hacker. (See also dianahacker.com/writersref).

  1. All teachers will assign written homework on a regular basis, and students will be held accountable for completing assigned Each teacher will devise a system to hold students accountable. Each teacher will post assignments online. Any student who has missed class should access the school website to keep up with assignments.
  1. All teachers will assess summer reading that has been Each teacher will use a written assessment of some kind, either an in class essay or an out of class essay.
  1. All teachers will assign at least one novel a semester in addition to the readings assigned from the anthology.
  1. Cheating Policy: The goal of every teacher of English is to improve writing Since the main focus of writing in a literature-based course is to develop the writing and critical thinking skills needed to analyze and interpret literature, students should not access Internet sources unless directed to do so by the teacher. Using websites that include literary criticism is not permitted. If a student has difficulty understanding a literary work, then that student should schedule an appointment after school to meet with his or her teacher. The English department encourages students to think for themselves, and pirating from the Internet is both unethical and counterproductive.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism derived from the Latin word plagiarius or kidnapper means to commit literary theft and present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source. Often plagiarism in student writing is unintentional. However, students must lea