The English curriculum is college preparatory where critical and analytical thinking skills are deliberately developed, with an emphasis on the students’ applying these skills and methods in all classes. The freshman and sophomore level courses provide the fundamentals of literary analysis, beginning writing instruction and grammar review. Junior and senior level courses concentrate on more sophisticated application of these concepts, also offering oral presentation practice.


List of 11 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 Puritan age 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 vocabulary. 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 and articles.

    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

    In "The Writing Course," students will engage in a variety of types of writing including narrative, descriptive, expository, and argumentative. During the semester, students will be required to write two different narrative assignments, two descriptive profiles, a 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 nightly 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

    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

    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 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, The Chicago Manual of Style). 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

    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 Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here
  • EN 215: 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 Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here

    ENG 263 will constitute a wide-ranging study of contemporary literature written in English and published in the past 30 years. The class will also incorporate an introduction to literary theory and various critical theories, including New Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Feminisim, Class and Social Power Theory, and Postcolonialism. We will use these lenses to examine the literature with greater depth and analytical weight. We will also consider what each of these texts indicates about contemporary life and contemporary artistic trends. Students will be evaluated by means of shorter essays, reading check quizzes, and a mid-term and
    final essay.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    **Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from UW-Whitewater 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 3 items.

  • Forensics Club

  • The Dasher Download

  • Yearbook Club

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