The Overlake English Department fosters a passion for learning through the study of literature and writing. By cultivating students’ abilities to think critically, read closely, and communicate effectively, we aim to inspire and empower students to become active participants in a diverse and global society.
The Overlake English Department values the power of student voice and student choice. Our classrooms are safe places where students experience mutual respect among peers and adults, where they feel heard, and where their opinions matter. We value risk-taking, as we believe that the best learning takes place on the edges of discomfort. We believe our role as teacher is to foster a community of thinkers while modeling the authenticity and curiosity we hope our students come to embrace.
To make this mission a reality for Overlake students, we focus on three core values:
- Community: We facilitate collaboration among students so that they a) carefully consider their peers’ opinions, b) approach writing as a collaborative process that enriches their thinking, and c) confidently and competently join existing conversations about the larger questions of humanity.
- Authenticity: We expose students to a range of perspectives in literature so that they a) see their identities affirmed and discover their voices, b) build empathy through exploring different experiences, and c) develop a deep appreciation for the variety of lived experiences around the globe.
- Curiosity: We create learning environments so that students a) feel safe and empowered to take risks, b) think and communicate, both critically and creatively, about literature and the questions it provokes, and c) develop a love for reading that extends beyond the humanities classroom.
To learn more about the values surrounding the essential skills in English classes, read the English Department mission.
Upper School students are required to take four full years of English. English 9 and 10 are required. Juniors and seniors choose one full-year elective. English Department Policy requires that all students in grades 5-12 bring print copy books with the ISBN specified by the teacher rather than other editions or e-readers for in-class studies. This allows students to access the page and paragraph being discussed easily and provides a richer and less stressful learning experience for all. If using a previously annotated text, please be sure to have your students annotate in a manner readily distinguishable from the notes already in the book.
View the English Advanced Placement Criteria