English 7 is a year-long program that emphasizes the integration of writing, communication, and reading with an emphasis on critical thinking and creativity. Students write a variety of narratives, informational and explanatory essays, research reports, and arguments. Reading texts include a thematic anthology, electronic media, and a diverse collection of fiction, nonfiction, and informational materials. Students learn to become strategic readers by annotating texts, accessing prior knowledge, and using context clues. Students develop language arts through a variety of individual and collaborative activities.
"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong." -F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist
English 8 is a year-long program that builds on the seventh grade skills, emphasizing the integration of writing, listening, speaking, reading, and technology. Students write a variety of narratives, responses to literature, research reports, and arguments. Reading materials include a thematic anthology, electronic media, and a diverse collection of fiction, nonfiction, and informational materials. Students respond to reading using critical, interpretive, and evaluative processes, and identify significant literary devices.
"When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young."
-Maya Angelou, American poet
Students who are not native English speakers and are in the process of becoming fluent in English are screened with an ELPAC test. If needed, they are placed in English Language Development (ELD) classes based on the ELPAC results. Students receive instruction in structural analysis, vocabulary, comprehension, listening, writing, and speaking skills. English acquisition is taught by using visuals, dramatization, music, technology, and the latest methodologies. Students do not sign up for this course.
English and history honors students must be skilled writers with an extensive vocabulary. Students are expected to be intrinsically motivated, focused, and comfortable in a fast-paced, rigorous learning environment. The program is a rigorous course designed for advanced students who want to combine writing skills with the study of history and the humanities. Advanced reading, writing, and time management skills required. Students are considered for placement in the Honors Program based on the following criteria: teacher recommendation, a grade of “A” in sixth-grade/seventh-grade English and history, 90% or higher on current State Standardized Tests (or equivalent testing) and a passing score on the Honors Placement Test administered at Serrano Intermediate School. Seventh grade students earning an A or B in honors courses will be placed in eighth grade honors. All other eighth grade students must meet the requirements listed above.