The English Department at Humanities and the Arts High School helps immerse students in the world of literature and nonfiction. Students learn foundational literacy skills and academic vocabulary that prepares them to excel in all departments. Students explore texts holistically; taking into account not only the author’s craft and thematic trends, but also the historical, political, and social contexts of the works. For example, students reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men will learn about migrant workers and the Great Depression. Students engage in research projects and argumentative writing, often comparing concepts explored in novels to contemporary society. Students in our 9th grade English class may read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and use this text as a lens to evaluate America’s justice system. Students might compare statements from the fictional character, Atticus Finch, to the murder of Emmitt Till and the findings from the Scottsboro Trials. Through a deep exploration of the Next Generation Learning Standards, students prepare for literacy at the university level. While preparing for these future achievements, students have the opportunity to take AP English Language and Composition (11th grade) and AP English Literature and Composition (12th grade), thereby potentially earning 6 college credits. Students can also engage in a variety of electives including Creative Writing and Themes in World Literature.