Faculty

  • Christopher Harrington

    Vassiliadis Family Chair in English
    858-569-7900 x 4409
    Bio
  • Nancy Anderson-Bruno

    Teacher & Grade 10 Dean
    858-569-7900 x4159
    Bio
  • Jared D'Onofrio

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4197
    Bio
  • Chris Glover

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4209
    Bio
  • Kristy Keith

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4208
    Bio
  • Rachel Krause

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4214
    Bio
  • Christopher McGrath

    Teacher and Head Coach - Sailing
    858-569-7900 x4202
    Bio
  • Jeffrey Mezzocchi

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4335
    Bio
  • Carol Obermeier

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4200
  • Ninamarie Ochoa

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4200
    Bio
  • Ross Robertson

    6-12 Teacher of English
    Bio
  • Katie Rosin

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4165
    Bio
  • Gretchen Taylor

    Teacher
    858-569-7900 x 4175
    Bio

Select A Department

US-English

  • English 10

    English 10
    The course will emphasize works from other cultures and other worlds in order to help broaden students? perspectives and cultivate an appreciation for the global human experience. The texts of the course — a wide selection of novels, drama, and poetry — will be studied for their internal value as works of art and as windows into the larger historical circumstances in which they were created. Ultimately, the course is designed to help students foster a lifelong love of literature and embrace the rich powers that stem from reading and writing. The discussion-based format of the class will emphasize informed listening and respectful engagement, as students will be strongly encouraged to develop and articulate their own unique points of view. Writing Emphasis: The writing component of the course is directed principally toward thesis-driven argumentation and academic scholarship. As they engage a wide variety of challenging texts, students are asked to develop, articulate, support and sustain original and analytical interpretations of the text. Special emphasis is placed on structure, organization, and appropriate use of textual support. As they investigate specific works in depth, students are encouraged to explore the world of ideas and search for deeper and more nuanced structures of meaning. In addition to academic writing, students will also engage the rich texts of the course through creative works, imitative assignments, and a variety of reflective essays.
  • Advanced Journalistic Writing

    Advanced Journalistic Writing (10-12)
    Does not fulfill English graduation requirement Prerequisite: Departmental Approval
    This course will build on students' understanding of journalism basics ? journalistic ethics, interviewing, simple news and feature writing ? to move on to more advanced forms of reportage. Evaluation methodology includes peer evaluation of presentations and writing, as well as teacher assessment. Students may join The Scribe as a staff writer without having taken Introduction to Journalism, Photojournalism and Design. However, only students who have completed the intro course or attended a summer journalism program approved by the adviser will be eligible for editorial positions.
  • AP Language & Composition *

    AP Language and Composition (11) - Weighted Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria
    This survey course examines representative poetry, fiction, drama, and nonfiction of all the main periods of American literature, from the Colonial period to the present day. Students will consider the broadest themes of the American experience, keeping a close eye on the how the chosen texts are reflective of the historical moments in which they are written. Many perspectives will be considered, from the traditional voices of American letters (such as Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, Hawthorne, Fitzgerald) to less well known voices speaking for entirely different perspectives (such as Zora Neale Hurston, Olaudah Equiano, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison). The course will utilize a rich variety of texts to prepare students for the AP Language and Composition exam. Writing Emphasis: The writing component of this course builds on the strong analytical base of English 10. Students will continue to write analytical essays about literature, but they will also be introduced and reintroduced to modes of written expression that are specific to the exam: persuasion, synthesis, and stylistic analysis. One of the most important goals of the class is to help students increase their stylistic range as writers. The writing tasks of the course will send them in a number of directions, from analyzing the great works of American Literature to breaking down the dynamics of a particular prose style to imitating the style of a chosen author. Additionally, reflective works and practice college essays will push students toward finding and embracing their own voices as writers.
  • AP Language and Composition *

    AP Language and Composition (11) - Weighted Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria This survey course examines representative poetry, fiction, drama, and nonfiction of all the main periods of American literature, from the Colonial period to the present day. Students will consider the broadest themes of the American experience, keeping a close eye on the how the chosen texts are reflective of the historical moments in which they are written. Many perspectives will be considered, from the traditional voices of American letters (such as Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, Hawthorne, Fitzgerald) to less well known voices speaking for entirely different perspectives (such as Zora Neale Hurston, Olaudah Equiano, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison). The course will utilize a rich variety of texts to prepare students for the AP Language and Composition exam. Writing Emphasis: The writing component of this course builds on the strong analytical base of English 10. Students will continue to write analytical essays about literature, but they will also be introduced and reintroduced to modes of written expression that are specific to the exam: persuasion, synthesis, and stylistic analysis. One of the most important goals of the class is to help students increase their stylistic range as writers. The writing tasks of the course will send them in a number of directions, from analyzing the great works of American Literature to breaking down the dynamics of a particular prose style to imitating the style of a chosen author. Additionally, reflective works and practice college essays will push students toward finding and embracing their own voices as writers
  • AP Literature & Composition *

    AP Literature and Composition (12) - Weighted Prerequisite: Departmental approval
    AP Literature and Composition focuses on specific authors and movements within British literature, with the goal being to study major pieces of literature in significant depth. Within this study there will be intensive coverage of the Elizabethan theater and the changing nature of British literature from epic poetry to the Victorian novel and beyond. During the first trimester, the focus is on developing the voice of each individual student through personal writing drawn from the discussions of the literature. During the second trimester, the writing shifts towards more formal essays as the students focus more closely on literary analysis. This course is taught in a seminar format. The students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the texts with the instructor and hold conflicting views in an effort to explore the ideas of their classmates. Evaluation is based upon participation in seminar, presentations, essays, and respect for the views of others.
  • AP Literature and Composition *

    AP Literature and Composition (10-12) - Weighted Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria Does not fulfill English graduation requirement AP English Literature and Composition will serve as a supplemental English class for highly motivated students in grades 10_12 whose love of reading, writing, and literary discussion is strong enough to take two simultaneous courses. Students will take the Advanced Placement literature exam, which requires careful reading and critical analysis of representative texts from various genres and periods, so the terrain of the course will involve a wide variety of classic literature, from Shakespeare to Dickens to much more contemporary work, including a good deal of poetry. In order to qualify for the class, students need to have earned an A- or above in their previous English class and demonstrate rhetorical proficiency in a writing sample.
  • Creative Writing

    Creative Writing (9-12)
    Does not fulfill English graduation requirement
    In this full-year workshop students will write a good deal of fiction, poetry, and drama, and critique that of their peers. Reading in each of the genres will provide a guide for student work, but will be far less extensive than in a traditional English course. The emphasis will remain always on the students' own work and revision, culminating in public readings and submission to various literary magazines and contests.
  • Creative Writing 1

    Creative Writing 1 (9-12) Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this full-year workshop students will write a good deal of fiction, poetry, and drama, and critique that of their peers. Reading in each of the genres will provide a guide for student work, but will be far less extensive than in a traditional English course. The emphasis will remain always on the students' own work and revision, culminating in public readings and submission to various literary magazines and contests.
  • Creative Writing 2

    Creative Writing 2 (10-12) Prerequisite: Creative Writing 1 Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this course, students build on their foundations from the previous year and take on more independence.
  • Creative Writing 3

    Creative Writing 3 (11-12) Prerequisite: Creative Writing 2 Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this course, students build on their foundations from the previous year and take on more independence.
  • Creative Writing 4

    Creative Writing 4 (12) Prerequisite: Creative Writing 3 Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this course, students build on their foundations from the previous year and take on more independence.
  • English 11

    English 11
    Students in this survey course will read a wide variety of representative poetry, fiction, drama, and nonfiction of all the main periods of American literature. Special emphasis will be placed on inclusiveness, as a wide variety of voices and perspectives will be encountered, from Native American storytelling to classic novels to contemporary poetry. The breadth of the curriculum will lead students to view literature as a window into the larger ideas and themes that are unique to the American experience. This discussion-based course is designed to build on the independent thinking skills honed in 9th and 10th grade, and help students build on their skills as informed listeners, independent thinkers, and effective writers. Writing Emphasis: Students will continue to write analytical essays about literature, but they will also be introduced and reintroduced to other modes of written expression: persuasion, synthesis, comparison and reflection. Assignments will vary, but all will push students toward thinking independently, reading the text closely and carefully, and writing with passion and purpose. Additionally, reflective works and practice college essays will push students toward finding and embracing their own voices as writers.
  • English 12

    English 12
    The focus of this course is to connect the themes and meanings of contemporary and classic literature to life as we know it. The year will start off with a heavy focus on writing the college essay and encouraging each student to find his/her voice. Portfolio work will be the crux of the class; the students will graduate in June with a year?s worth of writing as a ?file? to have as they embark upon writing in college. Reading will include anything from nonfiction to memoir to fiction to the latest New York Times best seller. The reading workshop will follow a seminar format with an emphasis on theme and personal connections, with students leading the discussion as a way to embrace and reflect upon the works at hand. The writer?s workshop will follow suit; there will be writing groups and peer analysis and all will contribute to the writing portfolio. Ultimately, this course is geared to challenge and excite even the most reluctant readers and writers all the while building confidence and promoting a passion for lifelong reading, writing, and learning.
  • English 12 Honors - 19th Century Russian Literature *

    English 12 Honors † 19th Century Russian Literature - Weighted 19th Century Russia may seem distant and abstract, but it is not. In many ways the _story” of 19th century Russia is the story of all human beings: the story of an authentic search for†and formation of†identity. We will explore this fundamental theme of personal and collective identity as well as others such as: knowledge and the unconscious; ethics; compassion and suffering; freedom and self-determination. The literature of the course will focus primarily on the writings of Dostoevsky, but we will start with Turgenevs Fathers and Sons and parts of Chernyshevskys What is to be Done? (the most popular novel in Russia in the 19th century). These works will introduce us to the socio-political context of the mid-19th century where generational conflicts converge with European philosophical influences to create a climate of both excitement and skepticism. From there we will launch into Dostoevsky. Texts will include Notes from Underground and Crime and Punishment as well as some of his short stories, notes, and letters. We will conclude our study with Tolstoys Anna Karenina and possibly some plays by Chekhov. In addition to reading the literature of the era, we will explore the copious secondary literature, peer reviewed academic journals, film, and other visual arts as we form our own interpretations of the texts and ourselves. Students will be expected to do formal and informal presentations as they increasingly become classroom leaders and teachers to their peers. The writing will include analytical essays, both short and long, as well as numerous short, creative pieces that will allow students to expand their own writing style by imitating certain rhetorical techniques of the authors we read.
  • English 12 Honors - Literature and Revolution *

    English 12 Honors † Literature and Revolution - Weighted This course takes its inspiration from the excitement of making connections between events in history and the artistic response to these events. Spanning the 150 years between the American and French Revolutions and the Great War of 1914-1918, students will be asked to think about the ways in which the revolutionary ideas inspired by the Enlightenment were transformed by the Romantics whose view of the importance of Nature and the individual experience was to be severely tested by the social changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution, eventually culminating in the trauma of the First World War, the marker which destroyed the Old World Order. Students will study the ways in which novelists, poets, composers, and artists responded to and imaginatively represented these events, often helping to shape the views and feelings of contemporary readers as well as to alter the perception of these events in the minds of later readers. Some of the authors to be read include Jane Austen, Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope and Thomas Hardy, as well as Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Browning, Tennyson, Arnold and Yeats.
  • English 12 Honors - Literature and the American West *

    English 12 Honors † Literature and the American West - Weighted The West has always played an important role in the collective imagination of Americans. This class will examine literary works linked by their connections to the Western region of the United States. The course will be centered on important Western novelists _ Steinbeck, Cather, Kesey, London, Fante, Kerouac, Silko, McCarthy, Didion, and others _ but will also explore fiction, prose, and poetry devoted to specific western regions, different ethnicities, and various time periods. On the one hand, we will explore how different kinds of people experienced and wrote about the West in different ways; on the other, we will look for common themes that connect them as examples of Western literature. We will look at a novel like Shane (Jack Schaefer), a traditional Western that relies upon all of the myths and conventions of the genre, and compare it to the work of Cormac McCarthy, much of which destroys those same myths and conventions in bloodbaths of violence. During the second half of the year, as we navigate our way through more contemporary literature, we will see how Western themes have been altered, reinvented, resurrected or otherwise adapted to a world that no longer has any real frontier. From Northern California (Cannery Row, Steinbeck) to the Southwest (Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko, Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya) to Alaska (Into the Wild, Krakauer) to Southern California (Ask the Dust, John Fante), we will see how creative artists have adapted frontier themes to create rich and expressive senses of place all up and down the Western United States. In addition to the analytical writing required of all English 12 Honors classes, students will engage in an extended writing project devoted to creating a sense of place. Through their own writing, students will consider the special role that Southern California plays in the American imagination and the literature of the West.
  • English 12 Honors - Literature as Moral Philosophy *

    English 12 Honors † Literature as Moral Philosophy - Weighted Which is more important, loyalty or independence? Does sacrifice require recognition by others to have meaning? Is revenge ever good? These are the questions raised in moral philosophy, and in this course. Moral Philosophy is a branch of philosophy concerned with determining how we know right from wrong, and how and why we choose one or the other; it is about how we choose, individually and as a society, to live. Heady stuff, and the subject of long and dense books by everyone from Plato and Aristotle to Kant and Nietzsche, but another way of approaching these questions is not through the complex essay but through story, through poetry, even through music and film. So before reading a short story or watching a movie, we will take on a couple of these questions, then revisit them after the reading and discussion to see how and whether our opinions have changed. Vonnegut, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Faulkner, Keats, Borges, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Flannery O'Connor and other authors will be our guides as we wrestle with these questions. We will also occasionally use the texts of the "real" philosophers for reference and contrast, but you can expect to read more Shakespeare than Socrates. Students will write traditional analytical papers about the work we read watch, but will also write informally and personally in response to the questions raised by the reading, and should be prepared to share their thoughts and their writing with the class. This course requires a willingness to consider, listen, reconsider, and explain.
  • English 12 Honors - Literature on Cultural Turn *

    English 12 Honors † Literature on the Cultural Turn in America: from the 1950s to the 1960s - Weighted The idea for this class came from the realization that a number of culturally significant books were written in the same year: 1961. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, The Bell Jar, Revolutionary Road, Travels With Charleyó all were being written in the same cultural and social environment, all were imagined and created at a volatile transition point in the cultural history of the United States, and all wrestle with the changes that were occurring in political, social, cultural, and deeply personal ways. In many of these works, we see one world crashing loudly and violently into another: freedom vs. control, rebellion vs. authority, the individual vs. the machine, all of the great conflicts that define this era. A rallying call of the 1960s was to rage against the machine. But what makes up the machine? Why does it work so efficiently? What are the human costs of its efficient operation? Who is challenging the machine and why? What does it take to stand up to its unrelenting power? How is the challenge different for African Americans? For women? A rallying cry of the 1960s was _Down with the Man!” -- but who was this Man? why did he need to be brought down? What did it take to bring him down? The class is about neither the 50s nor the 60s, but, rather, the space between the two, the crossroads between the the homogeneity of one era and the radical challenges of another. Some texts include Native Son (Richard Wright), Goodbye, Columbus (Philip Roth), One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (Ken Kesey), The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath), Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates), Going to Meet the Man (James Baldwin), and a wide array of shorter works. A selection of films (The Graduate, Easy Rider, some others) will used to supplement the literary texts.
  • English 12 Honors - Literature Through the Looking Glass *

    English 12 Honors † Literature Through the Looking Glass: Adaptation and Other Kinds of Fan Fiction - Weighted Leo Tolstoy allegedly said that _all great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” In this class, we'll explore the ways in which writers both ancient and modern have taken these journeys and strangers and made them their own. As we look at _core” stories like the hero/heroines journey and a wide range of other texts, well explore how writers co-opt and remix other narratives, as well as how and why they create fan fiction and other adaptations. Course themes will include feminism, colonialism and post-colonialism, as well as religion, myth, and morality. We'll spend time with questions such as: why do some stories (like Pride and Prejudice or Romeo and Juliet) become cultural touchstones that are told and retold? What does it mean for a writer with less cultural/socioeconomic power to reframe and retell a _canonical” story about a less-privileged person? How far afield can a "fanfic" get from the source material before it's a wholly original work? And what's with all the Shakespeare updates? Texts may include: Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, Miltons Paradise Lost (Books 1-4), Celtic fairy tales, selected readings from Ovids Metamorphoses and Virgils The Aeneid, multiple tellings of the Orpheus myth, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis The Magicians Nephew, Lev Grossmans The Magicians, and Ian McEwans Atonement. Media resources will include sites like tvtropes.org, as well as film, television, and vlog interpretations of key texts. We will also revisit texts from your Parker English career in order to place them in a larger cultural framework. In addition to critical responses to the readings, there will also be a substantial creative writing component in which students will workshop techniques such as canon extension, divergent timelines, POV shifts, and alternate universes.
  • English 12 Honors - Modernism and the Novel *

    English 12 Honors † Modernism and the Novel - Weighted Darwin, Freud, Marx, together with World War I, set the stage for the necessity of a different way of telling stories, both in form and content. Across the globe, in the face of such radical scientific information, theorizing, economic disparity, and catastrophic wars, concepts of human freedom and human dignity are called into question. However, the anxiety resulting from a loss of confidence in human values does not preclude hope, humor, and understanding, all the more reason to study the modern novel, particularly as 20th century concerns are exacerbated in the 21st century. By examining works by such authors as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and Ernest Hemingway, students will better understand the nature of modern (and postmodern) alienation and its possible responses. Poetry, non-fiction, art, photography, and film will supplement the material.
  • English 12 Honors - Philosophy and Literature *

    English 12 Honors † Philosophy and Literature - Weighted In the preface to the second edition of Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche writes about the question mark placed upon the value of existence. In the face of suffering and the human experience, how do human beings respond in ways that are meaningful? His book is an attempt to answer that question in a particular way, but the true answers linger on the pages of great literature. This course will explore some of the classics of Western philosophy: writings from Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard. We will explore how many of the fundamental questions of philosophy (reality, knowledge, meaningful living, beauty, and love) emerge in the works of literature as well as in contemporary film. Texts will include Shakespeares King Lear, Fyodor Dostoevskys Notes from Underground and Crime and Punishment (and other texts from 19th century Russian literature), Sartres No Exit, as well as shorter works by Albert Camus, Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, and Ursula LeGuin, among others. In addition to the readings, students will engage in creative and philosophical writing of their own from personal philosophical investigations to original short stories. Lastly, we will explore how many of these philosophical questions emerge in modern cinema, both documentary and feature films.
  • English 12 Honors - Serious Laughter: Parody and Satire *

    English 12 Honors † Serious Laughter: Parody, Satire, and Other Forms of Literary Humor - Weighted From Aesop to Austen, from Voltaire to Vonnegut, from Jonathan Swift to George Saunders, through every age and in every culture writers have used humor to explore some of the most serious and important themes and questions we face. This course will examine the various modes and degrees of humor authors have employed, the trouble they've gotten into (and in some cases avoided) by employing it, and the reasons some of it is still hilarious while some of it seemed dated within a single generation. We'll read plays, poems, short stories and novels, and even consider how and where television and the movies fit in the tradition by watching some obvious, riotous descendants of our texts. Along the way we'll be looking at some "serious" literature that was the basis for parody and satire. Texts will range from short Native American legends all the way to substantial portions of Don Quixote, from essays by Dorothy Parker to songs by Randy Newman, from a Molire play to sketches from Key and Peele. No sense of humor required†you'll have one by the end of the course, and you'll also know how to take it all quite seriously. Likely texts: Aristophanes, Lysistrata; Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Voltaire, Candide; Molire, The Bourgeois Gentleman; Heller, Catch-22; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Austen, Sense and Sensibility; Allen, Bananas; Beatty, Bulworth, and many more.
  • English 12 Honors - The Literature of War *

    English 12 Honors † The Literature of War - Weighted In 1932, the League of Nations asked Albert Einstein to choose a problem of interest to him and to exchange views with someone. Einstein chose _Is there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war?” as his problem and Sigmund Freud as his correspondent. In The Literature of War course, we shall begin with their exchange of letters on _Why War?” Topics covered include the following: Was everyone susceptible to feelings of hate? Must right always be supported by might? Why are men eager to go to war and sacrifice their lives? If you think about it, The Literature of War is a counterintuitive concept in that beauty and truth emerge from atrocity and barbarism. This course examines the way heroism and morality can sometimes be confused and not readily apparent. It is also about the resilience of the human spirit, and the unfathomable human tendency towards evil. Students will examine works from the Peloponnesian War to the Civil War to World War I and II narratives to a Gulag in what used to be called The Soviet Union to the Vietnam Conflict (police action) to the Islamic Revolution, but we shall also study the war within ourselves, war with Nature, class wars, and the war on drug cartels. Studying various perspectives from women in the military, the poor and uneducated in the military, and those who promote religious wars, will further enrich our study. Poetry, art, and film will contribute to our understanding of what constitutes destruction of life and spirit. Sometimes the course will seem to be about horror; other times, intense sadness, but, at bottom, it is a course about survival and salvation.
  • English 12 Honors - Utopias and Dystopias *

    English 12 Honors † Utopias and Dystopias: Literature of Power and Possibility - Weighted In 1516, Sir Thomas More offered up a _perfect” society governed completely by reason and free of greed: his Utopia took its name from the Greek prefix ou meaning _no” and the word topos meaning _place.” It seems that even the author of this imagined universe had little hope that real people would ever achieve such an existence. Five hundred years after Utopia, authors, artists, and activists continue to use imagined worlds to offer up criticisms and dire warnings about their own societies. In the modern era, most of these worlds are distinctly uninviting, distinctly dystopian. From Tolkien to Huxley, Orwell to Atwood, fiction and fantasy somehow manage to be our most accurate mirrors, and, in some cases, our most prophetic parables. In this course, we will confront questions of identity, oppression and power. What is the difference between having freedom to and freedom from? What does it mean to be a hero in a dystopian world, and who gets to play that role? Who gets left out of a _perfect” society and what does this perfection cost? Why are titles like 1984 and Brave New World selling out on Amazon well into the 21st century? We will also examine the ever-evolving sub-genres of dystopian fiction, including environmental and digitized dystopias as well as the philosophies that underpin these authors visions. Because dystopian novels exist to challenge cultural norms, trends and values, this course will do the same. Possible texts include Utopia by Thomas More, 1984 by George Orwell, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, California by Edan Lepuki, The Circle by Dave Eggers, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, as well as an array of short fiction and contemporary issue informational texts.
  • English 12 Honors - Women and Men *

    English 12 Honors † Women and Men - Weighted Prerequisite: satisfaction of departmental criteria N.B. Juniors may take this as a second English class with Departmental Approval Ah, The War of the Roses. This course will focus on the complex relationships between women and men as depicted in literature across the globe and dating back to antiquity. We will apply textual analysis and close reading to understand how literature constructs, sustains, or subverts concepts of masculinity and femininity. By exploring the idea of romantic affection, power, domination, deception, and deceit, students will trace the evolution of traditional and nontraditional relationships, as well as touch on relationships with self, God, and Nature. Authors studied include Sophocles, Sappho, Arundhati Roy, Salmon Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoevski, Ibsen, Shakespeare, and Oe, among others. As adjunct, non-fiction, poetry, art, music, and films will be tapped to enrich our understanding of the way relationships play out in our lives. Bringing together voices from so many global _villages,” will inform our understanding of ourselves and others. Not an unfortunate way to spend a year.
  • English 9

    English 9
    This course serves as an introduction to the study of literature and high school writing. Utilizing a wide variety of representative, age-appropriate texts, from classical works to Shakespearean plays to contemporary fiction and poetry, the English 9 curriculum takes freshman on a journey toward growth, confidence, maturity, and increased self-knowledge. The core texts, and the additional works chosen by the specific instructor, are used as catalysts for both class discussion and written reflection. As the year progresses, the course targets specific skills in areas that will be valuable to students not only in future English courses but also in a variety of courses across the curriculum: critical reading, informed listening, analytical thinking, oral communication and clear and elegant writing. In a broader sense, the course is designed to encourage and inspire students to take the first steps toward intellectual independence. Writing Emphasis: The overarching goal of the writing component for English 9 is preparation for high school writing. As a result writing tasks are many and various. Students write both formally and informally: personal narratives or poems, analytical or persuasive essays, short journal entries, casual notes, memos, tweets, and everything in between. In addition to preparing freshmen for future writing challenges, the wide variety of assignments serves to push them away from the security of formulaic writing and toward written expression that demonstrates independence, creativity, originality, and a true personal voice. The course also covers and reviews the fundamentals of proper citation form, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and usage.
  • Honors English 12 - Literature on Cultural Turn *

    Literature on the Cultural Turn in America:  from the 1950s to the 1960s  (12) - Weighted
    Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria 
    The idea for this class came from the realization that a number of culturally significant books were written in the same year: 1961.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Bell Jar, Revolutionary Road, Travels With Charley… all were being written in the same cultural and social environment, all were imagined and created at a volatile transition point in the cultural history of the United States, and all wrestle with the changes that were occurring in political, social, cultural, and deeply personal ways.  In many of these works, we see one world crashing loudly and violently into another: freedom vs. control, rebellion vs. authority, the individual vs. the machine, all of the great conflicts that define this era. A rallying call of the 1960s was to rage against the machine. But what makes up the machine?  Why does it work so efficiently? What are the human costs of its efficient operation? Who is challenging the machine and why? What does it take to stand up to its unrelenting power? How is the challenge different for African Americans? For women? A rallying cry of the 1960s was “Down with the Man!” -- but who was this Man? why did he need to be brought down?  What did it take to bring him down? The class is about neither the 50s nor the 60s, but, rather, the space between the two, the crossroads between the the homogeneity of one era and the radical challenges of another. Some texts include Native Son (Richard Wright), Goodbye, Columbus (Philip Roth), American Pastoral (Roth), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey), The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath), Revolutionary Road (Richard Yates), Going to Meet the Man (James Baldwin), and a wide array of shorter works.  A selection of films (The Graduate, Easy Rider, some others) will used to supplement the literary texts.
  • Honors English 12 - Literature Through the Looking Glass *

    Literature Through the Looking Glass: Adaptation and Other Kinds of Fan Fiction  (12) - Weighted
    Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria 
    Leo Tolstoy allegedly said that “all great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” In this class, we'll explore the ways in which writers both ancient and modern have taken these journeys and strangers and made them their own. As we look at “core” stories like the hero/heroine’s journey and a wide range of other texts, we’ll explore how writers co-opt and remix other narratives, as well as how and why they create fan fiction and other adaptations. Course themes will include feminism, colonialism and post-colonialism, as well as religion, myth, and morality. We'll spend time with questions such as: why do some stories (like Pride and Prejudice or Romeo and Juliet) become cultural touchstones that are told and retold? What does it mean for a writer with less cultural/socioeconomic power to reframe and retell a “canonical” story about a less-privileged person? How far afield can a "fanfic" get from the source material before it's a wholly original work? And what's with all the Shakespeare updates? Texts may include: Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, Milton’s Paradise Lost (Books 1-4), Celtic fairy tales, selected readings from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Virgil’s The Aeneid, multiple tellings of the Orpheus myth, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, and Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Media resources will include sites like tvtropes.org, as well as film, television, and vlog interpretations of key texts. We will also revisit texts from your Parker English career in order to place them in a larger cultural framework. In addition to critical responses to the readings, there will also be a substantial creative writing component in which students will workshop techniques such as canon extension, divergent timelines, POV shifts, and alternate universes.
  • Honors English 12 - Philosophy and Literature *

    Philosophy & Literature  (12) - Weighted
    Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria
    In the preface to the second edition of Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche writes about the question mark placed upon the value of existence. In the face of suffering and the human experience, how do human beings respond in ways that are meaningful? His book is an attempt to answer that question in a particular way, but the true answers linger on the pages of great literature. This course will explore some of the classics of Western philosophy: writings from Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir, Irigaray, and Judith Butler. We will explore how many of the fundamental questions of philosophy (reality, knowledge, and meaningful living; beauty, madness, and love) emerge in the works of literature as well as in contemporary film. Texts will include Shakespeare’s King Lear, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground and Crime and Punishment, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as shorter works by Nikolai Gogol, Albert Camus, and Ursula LeGuin, among others. In addition to the readings, students will engage in creative and philosophical writing of their own from personal philosophical investigations to original short stories. Lastly, we will explore how many of these philosophical questions emerge in modern cinema, both documentary and feature films.
  • Honors English 12 - Poverty and Power *

    Poverty and Power (12) - Weighted
    Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria
    While most of us are not lacking material goods, we forget that too many others, be they American or Palestinian, Jewish or African, are shaped by the necessity of survival, but also the right to be heard. This honors elective explores the powerful voices of those who have found their spirit despite poverty of resources, cultural divides, or familial tragedies.  In each text a silenced population, a silenced man, woman, or child speaks volumes about the resilience of the human condition, resulting in the reader’s empathy for, and understanding of, those struggling to exist. Not all “rise above” nor are they victims of circumstances. In poverty, each finds either strength and courage or resignation and, sometimes, death.  Drawing on authors addressing Erdrich’s Native Americans, Faulkner’s South, the Black experience in Mississippi, Russian’s gulags, Algerian prisoners, Asian dissidents, African genocides, and Middle Eastern refugees, the course emphasizes the strong, hopeful, and sometimes forgotten people in our world. In many ways these characters are existential heroes, fighting for a life recognized, even noticed.  We rejoice in these voices because they are raw, honest, complex, and even fierce. It's a complicated world and we are compelled to listen not just to power but to people.
  • Honors English 12 - Reading the Victorian Mind *

    Reading the Victorian Mind  (12) - Weighted
    Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria
    The publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species in 1859 revolutionized Western conceptions of humanity. No longer were the boundaries between humans and animals as distinct as once imagined; humanity was inextricably linked to wildness. Similarly, 19th-century medicine problematized apparently irrefutable delineations between life and death, and the rapidly expanding British Empire awakened feelings of awe, terror, repulsion, and wonder as the British encountered previously unfamiliar African and Asian civilizations. It makes sense, then, that the Victorian Age is characterized by a fascination with trespassing borders: between human and inhuman, life and death, virtue and corruption, the familiar and unfamiliar. Arising from this network of increasingly permeable boundaries are literary figures that represent an enduring human desire to reconcile our attraction to bewildering and seemingly opposing forces. In keeping with these themes, this course will examine such texts as Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1855), Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). Twentieth-century philosopher Jacques Derrida argues in a 1989 lecture, “Monsters cannot be announced. One cannot say: ‘here are our monsters,’ without immediately turning the monsters into pets.” What if, however, an announced monster, instead of becoming a pet, remains monstrous? Theorist Susan Stryker writes that monsters announce the extraordinary: “Pay attention: something of profound importance is happening.” Could this be why Victorian literature is so replete with specters of fear? Furthermore, this course asks, exactly what fears did Victorians seek to mollify and domesticate through the invention of literary monsters? What produced these fears? In this course, we will decipher the Victorian mind through its rich, defiant literary record—its “heretic narrative”—that sought to repress and manifest both the incandescence and shadow of 19th-century humanity.
  • Honors English 12 - Serious Laughter: Parody & Satire *

    Serious Laughter: Parody, Satire, & Other Forms of Literary Humor From Aesop to Austen, from Voltaire to Vonnegut, from Jonathan Swift to George Saunders, through every age and in every culture writers have used humor to explore some of the most serious and important themes and questions we face. This course will examine the various modes and degrees of humor authors have employed, the trouble they've gotten into (and in some cases avoided) by employing it, and the reasons some of it is still hilarious while some of it seemed dated within a single generation. We'll read plays, poems, short stories and novels, and even consider how and where television and the movies fit in the tradition by watching some obvious, riotous descendants of our texts. Along the way we'll be looking at some "serious" literature that was the basis for parody and satire. Texts will range from short Native American legends all the way to substantial portions of Don Quixote, from essays by Dorothy Parker to songs by Randy Newman, from a Moliˆre play to sketches from Key & Peele. No sense of humor required?you'll have one by the end of the course, and you'll also know how to take it all quite seriously. Likely texts: Aristophanes, Lysistrata; Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Voltaire, Candide; Moliˆre, The Bourgeois Gentleman; Heller, Catch-22; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Austen, Sense and Sensibility; Allen, Bananas; Beatty, Bulworth, and many more.
  • Honors English 12 - The Literature of War *

    The Literature of War (12) - Weighted
    Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria
    In 1932, the League of Nations asked Albert Einstein to choose a problem of interest to him and to exchange views with someone. Einstein chose “Is there any way of delivering mankind from the  menace of war?” as his problem and Sigmund Freud as his correspondent.  In The Literature of War course, we shall begin with their exchange of letters on “Why War?” Topics covered include the following: Was everyone susceptible to feelings of hate? Must right always be supported by might? Why are men eager to go to war and sacrifice their lives? If you think about it, The Literature of War is a counterintuitive concept in that beauty and truth  emerge from atrocity and barbarism.  This course examines the way heroism and morality can sometimes be confused and not readily apparent. It is also about the resilience of the human spirit, and the unfathomable human tendency towards evil. Students will examine works from the Peloponnesian War to the Civil War to World War I and II narratives to a Gulag in what used to be called The Soviet Union to the Vietnam Conflict (police action) to the Islamic Revolution, but we shall also study the war within ourselves, war with Nature, class wars, and the war on drug cartels. Studying various perspectives from women in the military, the poor and uneducated in the military, and those who promote religious wars, will further enrich our study. Poetry, art, and film will contribute to our understanding of what constitutes destruction of life and spirit. Sometimes the course will seem to be about horror; other times, intense sadness, but, at bottom, it is a course about survival and salvation.
  • Honors English 12 - Utopias and Dystopias *

    Utopias and Dystopias: Literature of Power and Possibility  (12) - Weighted
    Prerequisite: Satisfaction of Departmental Criteria
    In 1516, Sir Thomas More offered up a “perfect” society governed completely by reason and free of greed: his Utopia took its name from the Greek prefix ou meaning “no” and the word topos meaning “place.”  It seems that even the author of this imagined universe had little hope that real people would ever achieve such an existence. Five hundred years after Utopia, authors, artists, and activists continue to use imagined worlds to offer up criticisms and dire warnings about their own societies.  In the modern era, most of these worlds are distinctly uninviting, distinctly dystopian. From Tolkien to Huxley, Orwell to Atwood, fiction and fantasy somehow manage to be our most accurate mirrors, and, in some cases, our most prophetic parables. In this course, we will confront questions of identity, oppression and power.  What is the difference between having freedom to and freedom from? What does it mean to be a hero in a dystopian world, and who gets to play that role? Who gets left out of a “perfect” society and what does this perfection cost? Why are titles like 1984 and Brave New World selling out on Amazon well into the 21st century?  We will also examine the ever-evolving sub-genres of dystopian fiction, including environmental and digitized dystopias as well as the philosophies that underpin these authors’ visions.  Because dystopian novels exist to challenge cultural norms, trends and values, this course will do the same. Possible texts include Utopia by Thomas More, 1984 by George Orwell, The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, California by Edan Lepuki, The Circle by Dave Eggers, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, as well as an array of short fiction and contemporary issue informational texts.
  • Intro to Journalistic Writing

    Intro to Journalistic Writing (9-12) Does not fulfill English graduation requirement This course will develop students' understanding of journalism basics ? journalistic ethics, interviewing, simple news and feature writing ? to move on to more advanced forms of reportage. Evaluation methodology includes peer evaluation of presentations and writing, as well as teacher assessment.
  • Journalism (Scribe) 1

    Journalism (Scribe) 1 (9-12) Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this year-long course students will learn what it takes to be a modern-day journalist. They will become proficient in interviewing, shooting, writing and designing for print as well as for the web. Students will complete actual assignments for The Scribe to find out more about how this publication works.
  • Journalism (Scribe) 2

    Journalism (Scribe) 2 (10-12) Prerequisite: Journalism (Scribe) 1 Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this course, students build on their foundations from the previous year and take on more independence.
  • Journalism (Scribe) 3

    Journalism (Scribe) 3 (11-12) Prerequisite: Journalism (Scribe) 2 Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this course, students build on their foundations from the previous year and take on more independence.
  • Journalism (Scribe) 4

    Journalism (Scribe) 4 (12) Prerequisite: Journalism (Scribe) 3 Does not fulfill English graduation requirement In this course, students build on their foundations from the previous year and take on more independence.
Francis Parker School is a private, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 from across San Diego County. Founded in 1912, the Lower School is located on the Mission Hills Campus with the Upper and Middle Schools on the Linda Vista Campus. Parker's mission is to inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Mission Hills Campus Lower School

4201 Randolph Street
San Diego, CA 92103
 

Linda Vista Campus Middle/Upper School

6501 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858 / 569-7900