Since the English curriculum is college preparatory, critical thinking and analytical skills are developed, and English teachers stress the application of learned skills and methods in all classes. The freshman and sophomore courses offer the student the fundamentals of literary analysis, basic writing instruction, as well as thorough grammar coverage. Junior and senior classes concentrate on more sophisticated application of the concepts. Oral and written communication skills are further developed in junior and senior classes. Four English credits are needed for graduation. 


List of 12 items.

  • COLLEGE PREP ENGLISH I – 2211 and 2212

    College Prep English I, a foundational course for freshmen, reinforces instruction in Standard English grammar and usage within an integrated college preparatory program that promotes every aspect of literacy through reading, writing, and speaking. College Prep English I supports the later DSHA English Department curriculum by focusing on building a strong foundation in grammatical and rhetorical conventions, allowing students to practice using these conventions as effective writers. Additionally, this course strengthens vocabulary development and reading comprehension through an exposure to a variety of texts: non-fiction, poetry, drama, short stories, and novels.

    grade 9, 2 semesters, required
  • COLLEGE PREP ENGLISH II – 2251 and 2252

    College Prep English II builds on the skills and concepts of College Prep English I to prepare students for the more complex reading and writing assignments they will receive as upperclasswomen. A survey of American literature, the course introduces students to the various authors and genres of American literature from the colonial era to the modern and contemporary age. A variety of reading assignments in American literature including short stories, novels, poetry, essays, and other nonfiction strengthen reading comprehension and more nuanced understanding of American identity and culture. In the context of American literature, students focus on writing skills such as paragraph development, proper use of sources and citations, grammar, sentence structure, thesis development, and essay structure. Students complete three to four formal analytical assessments each semester in addition to a number of shorter assignments as they work to become capable and competent readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers.

    grade 10, 2 semesters, required

    Women’s roles in art and literature reflect the changing values, cultural biases, and social mores of society. This course offers students an opportunity to examine female authors’ perspectives involving the impact of women in various spheres of the world. Students will explore contemporary and historically significant women writers from both a feminist perspective and an historical perspective. As a composition-based course, The Female Identity in Literature will require students to write numerous essays of critical analysis derived from discussion and independent analysis and examination. Works will include novels, short stories, and nonfiction essays.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester

    In The Writing Course, students will engage in a variety of types of non-fiction writing including narrative, descriptive, expository. During the semester, students will be required to write two narrative assignments, two descriptive profiles, an art review and an audit of their own writing. We will read samples of these types of writing from nationally recognized publications like The New Yorker and study the authors' use of rhetorical strategies. Students will then utilize these strategies in their own writing. Students will complete reading reflections and will engage in the daily discipline of writing to encourage routine practice. Given the significance of syntax and vocabulary in every writer's work, grammar, vocabulary, and sentence composition instruction will be a part of every unit.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
  • SHAKESPEARE – 2325

    This course will provide students with a comprehensive view and understanding of the Shakespearean canon through reading and writing about tragedies and comedies. Reading and critical (written) analysis of Shakespeare’s sonnets will also be included. A composition-based course, Shakespeare will require students to demonstrate essential literary criticism skills in class discussion and within numerous papers throughout the semester.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester

    Topics in Literature is a thematic or genre-based course that fosters a student’s analytical writing, reading, and thinking skills through the examination of literature. Like other English courses at DSHA, students who choose this course are engaged in college preparatory work and are situated in a community of learners who offer diverse perspectives that can enrich our understanding of literature, humanity, and the chosen topic. Notably, the topic itself is determined by the teacher, so students who choose this course should approach it with an open mind and willing spirit. Previous topics have included world literature, the intersectionality of society and self, social change in literature, and the short story.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester

    *PLEASE NOTE: THIS COURSE WILL ONLY BE OFFERED DURING THE SUMMER OF 2023, in an online format (i.e., it will not be offered during the 23-24 school year). 

    World Literature offers a thematic study of texts from around the globe. This course provides students with the opportunity to examine theme, perspective, and purpose within a diverse set of traditional and contemporary writings that may include short stories, poetry, drama, and novels. Each unit will take students on a journey to another corner of the world, allowing them to engage with literature from a variety of cultures. With a focus on both reading and composition, World Literature will require students to write consistently throughout the course. In addition to writing, students will build upon their thinking and speaking skills through large group discussions, small group interactions, and independent work. 

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester

    The AP English Language & Composition Course is designed to emulate a first-year college composition course. The AP English Language and Composition course is designed to help students become skilled readers and writers through engagement with composition in several forms (e.g., narrative, expository, analytical, and argumentative essays) about a variety of subjects. Through writing that proceeds through several stages or drafts, with revision aided by teacher and peers; through writing with recurring frequency, students will become aware of themselves as writers and the techniques employed by other writers. By writing expository, analytical, and argumentative compositions based on readings representing a variety of prose styles and genres; by reading select nonfiction, argumentative essays, and two major works of fiction, students will have opportunities to identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques; by developing research skills and the ability to evaluate, use, and cite primary and secondary sources; by conducting research and writing argument papers in which students present an argument of their own that includes the analysis and synthesis of ideas from an array of sources; and, through citing sources using a recognized editorial style (e.g., Modern Language Association). Students will complete an 8-10 page research project at the end of the semester, and all enrolled students are expected to take the AP English Language & Composition Exam in May.

    With a score of 3, 4, or 5, on the exam, a student may receive college credit (though a university’s
    acceptance of AP credit and its criteria will vary by institution).

    11th grade, 2 semesters
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here. 

    AP Literature and Composition is a college-level literary analysis course consisting of course numbers 2151 and 2152. Students advance their understanding of literary analysis through the examination of character, setting, structure, figurative language, and point of view in various literary works. As prescribed and recommended by the College Board, the course repeatedly cycles through three genres throughout the year: short fiction, poetry, and long fiction. Students committed to and interested in engaging in a critical examination of literature across genre and time periods, as well as in improving and advancing their own personal writing style, are well suited for this course. Notably, students who elect to take this course should expect frequent reading and writing assignments, as this approximates a college level English course.

    Although not required, most students choose to take the AP English Literature and Composition Exam administered in May by the College Board.

    12th grade, 2 semesters 
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here. 

    ENG 263 is a study of contemporary literature written in English, written roughly within the last 25 years. The class will approach this literature from a variety of thematic, historical, and/or stylistic vantages. Authors and topics under consideration will focus on understanding the elements of contemporary literature. Students will receive an introduction to higher level, collegiate literary critical theory through specific viewpoints from a critical anthology. These lenses will then be used to engage with and understand the literary content in deeper, more insightful ways. In addition to critical foundations, we will consider the development of contemporary society and culture and literature's reflection of contemporary concerns. Students will be evaluated by means of reading check quizzes, critical thinking essays, and longer essays that will serve as mid-term and final exams. 

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    **Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from UW-Whitewater through the Partners In Education (PIE) dual-credit program. 
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here. 
  • ENGL 2020: TEXTS, SOCIAL SYSTEMS, and VALUES - 2265**

    EN 211: ETHNICITY IN AMERICAN LITERATURE - 2265 (former name)
    NEW course title in 23-24: ENGL 2020: TEXTS, SOCIAL SYSTEMS, and VALUES - 2265

    This is a study of American writers of diverse ethnic backgrounds (including, but not limited to, Native, African, Asian, Hispanic and European Americans) and how ethnicity plays a role in the themes, structures, and genres of literature.  Various historical periods may be considered. Aesthetic, historical, cultural, and gender issues will be explored.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    ** Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from Marquette University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.

    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here. 

    EN 215:  IRISH LITERATURE - 2260 (former name)
    NEW course title in 23-24: ENGL 3513: MODERN IRISH LITERATURE - 2260

    This course explores how the powerful stories found in Irish mythology and folklore influenced the “Celtic Twilight” of W.B. Yeats and still show up in contemporary literature and art. Ranging from ancient stories of heroes, gods, and sacred sites to cultural beliefs in the supernatural (particularly fairies, the banshee, and ghosts), legends and storytelling traditions will be explored, as well as Irish history and Irish mythology. Students will understand that the mythology and folklore of Ireland influenced and contributed to some of the most important literature of the Western world. We will read folktales, legends, plays, poetry and short stories, study artwork and film, and draw connections from the pre-Christian Celtic myths and beliefs to contemporary literature and current cultural practices and politics.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    ** Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from Marquette University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here. 


The DSHA English Department prides itself upon being a writing-intensive department. In addition to curriculum-based instruction, DSHA students have opportunities to develop and hone their writing and speaking skills both in and outside of their English courses. Discover some of the English-related opportunities below:

Department Related Opportunities:

List of 4 items.

  • Film Study Co-Curricular

  • Forensics Co-Curricular

  • Reading Co-Curricular

  • The Word Student Publication Co-Curricular

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