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English Department Staff
9th Grade Course Selection Guidelines

American High School English Department

The Decision to Take English 9 or English 9 Honors
Upon entering high school, many students (and parents) wonder which English class will be the best fit for them. English 9 Honors covers the same curriculum and the same core works of literature as English 9, but with greater complexity and higher expectations.  Both courses are year-long classes that fulfill entrance requirements for four-year colleges and universities.  The main differences are in the amount of writing and the pacing of the courses.  In honors classes students write much more frequently and are expected to do more work independently.

The ultimate goal is for your child to be happy, healthy, and appropriately challenged.

English Course Descriptions and Objectives                                                                                All English courses have the following attributes:
•     Follow a rigorous curriculum
•     Require students to work toward mastery of the California Common Core State Standards
•     Develop critical thinking skills
•     Require students to go beyond the surface of the text to discover deeper meanings rather        than to simply summarize
•     Require students to write argumentative essays, narratives, responses to literature, and 
      summaries, and to proofread their reading actively to enhance and improve it
•     Provide opportunities for students to improve listening and speaking skills
•     Use technology to improve reading and writing skills
•     Advance and refine knowledge and usage of vocabulary and grammar

Honors classes differentiate in the following ways: •     Offer greater depth and complexity of study
•     Move beyond current grade level standards to advance skills
•     Required course reading is more often done as homework outside of class
•     Writing is more sophisticated and more frequent (more complex and varied sentence                 structure, greater depth of thought and analysis)
•     Homework requires students to think critically and synthesize the material learned in                class
•     Grammar applications are more sophisticated and complex

Checklist of Student Expectations

A student who demonstrates the following skills is typically most successful in English 9H:                                                                                                                                                             •    English is one of his/her gifts or passions
•     Has an exceptional work ethic; highly self-motivated, and works well independently
•     Masters concepts quickly in a fast-paced, rigorous curriculum without the need for much 
•     Values the challenges of complex, critical thinking opportunities and often takes ideas to           a higher level
•     Actively and productively contributes to small and large group discussion
•     Enjoys reading higher level, complex texts in a variety of genres
•     Enjoys the writing process and understands the need for multiple revisions
•     Is receptive to constructive academic criticism and actively works to improve based on 
•     Thinks critically about social issues related to assigned reading to make connections and 
•     Manages time well and is able to balance schoolwork, family obligations, and extra-                     curricular activities
•     Organized and able to work concurrently on multiple assignments and keep track of                   different due dates

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there specific requirements to get into Honors English?
There are not any specific requirements for entry into Honors English.  However, prior to signing up for this course, parents and students should carefully consider if the student is prepared for the challenges of this course (in addition to the standard challenges of adapting to high school).

Are students’ grades for Honors English weighted on their transcripts?
No.  The only grades that are weighted are for Advanced Placement classes.  In the English 
Department, we only offer AP classes at the junior and senior levels.

Is it possible to transfer out of an Honors English class?
This is an open-enrollment course; however, students should not expect that they will be able to “try the course out” and drop if they find it to be too difficult.   The ability to transfer out of 
an Honors English class depends on the space availability in other classes.  In addition, when 
students transfer, they take their grades with them to the new class.  The grade does not start over.

If my child earns an unsatisfactory grade in Honors English, can he/she make it up in summer 

Honors classes are not offered in summer school.  Therefore, a student who earns a D or F would need to make up the credits during summer school, but in a standard-level English class.