English Department

The main objective of the Sage Ridge School English Department is to equip students with the skills to think deeply and incisively, communicate powerfully, read carefully, analyze accurately and insightfully, and respond authentically to complex works of literature.

Students hone essential skills throughout lower, middle, and high school, spiraling back to and reinforcing these skills while at the same time advancing in their skill level in preparation for college. As students gain these skills, they also engage in self-exploration and self-discovery, expressing themselves and reflecting upon their worlds.

Engaging in robust classroom discussion,

Students develop their perspectives and voices, and learn to articulate these in writing assignments and presentations. Beginning in grade 3 and continuing throughout their time at Sage Ridge, students master narrative, descriptive, persuasive, and then analytical writing, producing paragraphs and essays that are written in rhetorically effective and grammatically correct prose and coming to an understanding of the expectations of college writing. Grasping grammatical concepts of mounting difficulty, students write sentences of increasing syntactic complexity and punctuate them correctly. Students become attentive to stylistic considerations, acquiring the ability to select words aptly and precisely and to vary sentence length and structure. With the goal of achieving clarity, concision, and control, students write sentences that are appropriately formal and avoid repetition and wordiness. Students also gain research skills, summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing sources and documenting them appropriately, as well as presentation skills. 

What we do in our English Department sets us apart.

The classrooms are places of active learning, as teachers use a variety of pedagogical approaches to engage students, such as discussion-based learning and student-centered teaching. At Sage Ridge, students read whole books rather than selections from readers and are introduced to all major literary genres. They practice close reading and analysis in every grade, in the process gaining an appreciation for historical and cultural context. Lower and middle school students read challenging texts with confidence and upper school students read college-level material with ease and become aware of dialogue among authors that extends over generations and even centuries. Even from the beginning, students write frequently and receive written feedback from teachers. High school students write and receive feedback weekly. Throughout their time at Sage Ridge, students meet with teachers to discuss their writing and how to improve it. Students leave Sage Ridge as well rounded, lifelong readers and writers who communicate effectively.


Department Head

Tara McGann

Tara McGann

English Department Head, English Faculty

Curriculum Pathways

First page of the PDF file: PathwaysEnglish2020-05-15

Courses Offered:

  • Lower School
    • Grade 3 Language Arts
    • Grade 4 Language Arts
    • Grade 5 Language Arts
  • Middle School
    • Grade 6 Intro to Literary Analysis
    • Grade 7 Intro to World Literature
    • Grade 8 Intro to American Literature
  • Upper School
    • Freshman Seminar (Required in addition to Grade 9 Ancient & Medieval Literature)
    • Grade 9 Ancient and Medieval Literature
    • Grade 10 World Literature (CP/Honors)
    • Grade 11 American Literature
    • Grade 11 AP English Language and Composition
    • Grade 12 British Literature
    • Grade 12 AP English Literature and Composition
    • Speech and Debate I - IV (Elective)