Welcome to the English Department

  • The English department offers students curricula that explores the intersection of the real and imagined worlds through the analysis of texts. Units of instruction are organized around essential questions that guide students toward a mastery of the Common Core State standards. Through the analysis of a range of texts students work towards refining their critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking listening and 21st century skills. Students are required to complete 40 credits (4 years) of English to graduate including the following courses: English I, English II, English III (or AP Language), English IV (or AP Literature).

    Course Placement

    Student placement in CP versus AS/AP will be determined by achievement, teacher recommendation, and student aspirations.  For additional information see the San Mateo Union High School District’s Open Enrollment Policy. Placement of incoming ninth grade students is determined by recommendations made at the intermediate schools in the spring of the eighth grade, by available test scores and by student aspirations for college level work. Transfer students may take a reading and writing test and are placed according to the same standards as entering freshmen.

    English Levels

    All levels of English incorporate California State Standards into their curriculum. Aragon's English program places students into one of two levels. This grouping allows students to work at a pace appropriate to their mastery of English. These groups aren't permanent or exclusive. At the end of each semester a student’s progress will be evaluated and changes may be made if the student, parents, teachers, and counselors agree.

    College Preparatory (CP): This level of English provides challenges for students with an average or above average command of basic skills in reading, writing, and speaking to prepare them for college. Students in need of remediation of their English skills will have assignments provided to improve their reading, writing, speaking, and study skills.

    Advanced Standing (AS): This level of English suits students who have above average to superior English skills and who seek academic and intellectual challenges. At the freshman level, placement is determined by the eighth grade English teacher, and at the sophomore through senior level, it is determined by the districts open enrollment policy as well as teacher recommendation, an “A” or “B+” in a college prep class, and student willingness to work at an accelerated level. A student is encouraged to maintain at least a “C” grade in Advanced Standing English.

    Advanced Placement (AP): Students enrolled in Advanced Placement English work toward the Advanced Placement examination in Language (junior year) and Literature (senior year) given each May by the College Board. The course work reflects four years of work starting in the ninth grade advanced standing track. Students enroll in the class for an entire year and are highly encouraged to take the test. If they pass, they may receive college credit and earn the chance to take other subjects of interest to students in college, including upper level English course (the exact benefit is determined by each college).

    Summer Reading
    San Mateo Union High School District has a no summer homework policy.  While there are no books assigned, the Aragon English Department encourages all students to continue reading over the summer. If you are looking for ideas, ask a teacher, visit a local bookstore, go to the public library, check out the library's book recommendations, search the internet, or ask a friend to discover what books are available for young adults and beyond.

    Suggested Summer Reading for AP English Language and Composition (11th grade)