English courses are required for all four years at Hanover High School. All ninth graders take a year-long, genre survey course intended to elevate their skills and knowledge in preparation for their effective participation in the elective program in subsequent years. In grades ten through twelve, students may select from the department’s rich array of elective offerings. Because our aim is to match individual students with the course and area of study best suited to their needs and interests, the English Department does not designate elective classes by grade level, nor do we have a required sequence of courses which all students must take. We do require that students take at least two literature and one writing course. In place of more elaborate requirements, we require that students each year review with their current teachers their progress to date, their success in developing fundamental skills, their evolving intellectual interests, and so forth. Based on this individual review of a student’s needs, courses are chosen for the following year.
New Hampshire requires four years of English, and our department affirms that all students can improve their skills over time. Therefore, we require all students to take an English class every semester that they are enrolled here at Hanover High as a full-time student. The only exception is that a student who has exceeded the requirements in terms of English credits and has an educationally valid reason to not take English may petition the English Department for a waiver for a semester.
English Department Statement of PurposeThe Hanover High School English Department seeks to imbue our students with an appreciation of literature, language arts, and other media and to develop our students’ ability to think critically and communicate thoughtfully and articulately. In addressing these goals, we strive to expose our students to a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and film from a variety of genres and periods. Because quality works of all types frequently address challenging topics, some students may find certain material we use to be disturbing, objectionable, or provocative. Because the range of topics is so broad and students’ histories are so variable, it is impossible for our staff to anticipate every student’s response to the content. Through our thoughtful and empathetic approach, we strive to make all students feel supported when they engage with the material, but we cannot—and should not—refrain from offering content that fosters student growth.
Students must take at least one writing course. Students may take no more than two writing courses overall. However, Fiction Writing and Journalism only count as a writing course for those students who need the writing credit. Please note though, the English Department strongly discourages students’ taking two writing classes (APW, Comp I, Comp II, SWS, Journalism, Fiction Writing, and Intro to Creative Writing) in successive semesters either year-to-year or in a single year. Students interested in Senior Bridges for English credit should as juniors choose a first, second, and third choice for an English course and fill out the registration form in February — just as they would if they were not anticipating doing a Senior Bridges project.