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Staff Directory

Bigelman, David (408) 522-2488 ex.3853 English Teacher
Clark, Brendan (408) 522-2400 English Teacher
Dalton, Patti (408) 522-2488 ex.3894 English Teacher
Dass-Hanson, Sonia (408) 522-2488 ex.3815 English and Read 180 Teacher
Dery, Monica (408) 522-3915  Teacher
Frecceri, Catherine (408) 522-3891  Special Education Teacher
Fujii, Stephanie (408) 522-2488 ex.3865 English/AVID Teacher
Gibson, Amy (408) 522-2488 ex.3863 English/ Leadership Teacher
Javier, Robert (408) 522-2488 ex.3867 English Teacher
Patrik Bystrom (408) 522-2488 ex.3812 English Teacher
Long, Alyssa (408) 522-2488 ex.3925 English/AVID Teacher
Martin, Emer (408) 522-3866  English/ Journalism Teacher
Morgan, Jenna 408-522-3902 English Teacher
Perez, Daniel (408) 522-2491 ex.3911 English Teacher/Department Chair
Russell, Sharon (408) 522-2488 ex.3900 English Teacher
Salvador, Chary (408) 522-3870  Teacher
Schuet, Monica (408) 522-2488 ex.3843 English/AVID Teacher
Zabinski, Onette (408) 522-2488  English Teacher


Literature & Writing (9th Grade)

Literature and Writing is the foundational English course for students in their ninth grade year. This course integrates the study of literature with instruction in the writing process. Students will explore the ideas and issues of literature while improving their writing, speaking, listening, thinking and language skills. Materials could include poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction.

Core units include 

To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet and Fahrenheit 451

Supplementary Texts

House on Mango Street, Of Mice and Men, Ender's Game and selected poetry.

World Literature (10th Grade)

FHS World Literature provides a historical and literary lens in order for students to understand important historical events and their role in shaping the world. The literature component revolves around works of world literature, and 10th grade students explore themes of human experience and inquiry from a historical perspective. The literature includes novels, plays, stories, memoirs and poetry by historical and contemporary authors from around the world.  This literature-based program provides instruction and experiences for students to build their listening, speaking, reading, writing and thinking skills, while transferring these skills to their studies in history. The program emphasizes the importance of literature on historical remembrance and as a force for change.

Core Texts

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Rhetoric and speeches (Industrial Revolution)
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
In My Hands by Irene Gut Opdyke
Night by Elie Weisel
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Supplementary Texts

A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
Romantic Poetry

Course Goals

  • To introduce and develop to mastery the skill of synthesis between English & History.
  • To further develop reading and writing stamina and skills.
  • To serve as a course that sets high expectations to prepare students for personal and academic success.
  • To help students to explore their identities as a scholars and world citizens.
  • To expose students to various kinds of literature from around the world.
  • To support students in developing self-awareness in reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking processes.

11th Grade English

Students have the option of taking one of the following courses for 11th grade English: American Literature, American Literature Honors or Advanced Placement Language and Composition.

American Literature

This course provides rigorous and challenging experiences for the student in the areas of critical reading, critical thinking, effective discussion, note-taking, essay test-taking, expository writing and research. The core of the curriculum is a chronological or thematic study of American literature, its literary periods, and major writings. Outside reading focuses on broader philosophical ideas, and encourages a wider range of reading including classics and contemporary works by American authors.

Core Works

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Additional Texts May Include

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Black Boy by Richard Wright, works by Edgar Allan Poe or The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

American Literature & Writing Honors

This course is an intensive study of American literature designed for students who desire further challenge in literature and writing, and who are prepared to accept the responsibilities of that challenge. This challenge includes reading at a faster pace, sometimes reading two works at a time, and a deeper probing of a text through literary analysis. Like the American Literature course, the honors course is a chronological or thematic study of American literature, its literary periods, and its major writers; however, the honors course will include more extensive reading, writing (both timed and process essays) and analytical thinking. Furthermore, students in the honors program are expected to invest significantly more academic energy into the course and to work more independently than students taking American Literature and Writing.

Core Works

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald                                                                                                                                         

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Additional Texts May Include

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe or The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


AP Language and Composition is one of the options for English classes at the 11th grade level. Known as APLaC, this course is designed to develop and challenge students' writing skills. It is an AP-level course and demands more time, energy, focus and thought than most other classes. Writing is as much an art as a skill, and it will be through dedicated practice and close attention that students will improve and achieve.

American Focus

The 11th grade is focused on the American tradition of writing. APLaC will remain grounded in the American tradition, but will also branch out to see a world-wide perspective on rhetoric and communication.
Students will read core, canonical texts that their fellow juniors in other 11th grade English classes will read so that they will be ensured a common, basic experience for future grade levels. This includes one book for summer reading before the fall semester.

Skills Addressed

  • Summarizing: a critical way of demonstrating understanding of a key text
  • Synthesizing: connecting ideas from multiple sources
  • Analyzing: evaluate claims, be aware of counter arguments, and apply them to your own writing
  • Organizing: understand how texts are put together, and how to create your own texts


The basis of the course will be numerous non-fiction texts including:

  • The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 
  • Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (summer reading)

12th Grade English

Seniors take one of the following courses for English: Expository Reading and Writing (ERWC), Story and Style: A Critical Lens or Advanced Placement English.

Expository Reading & Writing

This course description of Expository Reading and Writing is one option available to students for 12th grade English. Known as ERWC, this course was created by the California State University system to help prepare students for the reading and writing demands of college. 


This course is designed to help students achieve the following goals:

  • Have the ability to understand high-level expository texts.
  • Meet the standards of the English Placement Test
  • Communicate ideas clearly through written media.
  • Have the knowledge and skills to be able to pass the AP Language and Composition Test
  • Meet the expectations of college and university faculty
  • Meet the California English-Language Arts Content Standards
  • Develop literacy skills critical to lifelong participation in the worlds of work and community

Skills Addressed

  • Summarizing – a critical way of demonstrating understanding of a key text
  • Synthesizing – connecting ideas from multiple sources
  • Analyzing – evaluate claims and be aware of counter arguments and apply them to your own writing
  • Organizing – understand how texts are put together, and how to create your own texts

Core Texts

  • Numerous non-fiction articles and book excerpts
  • Into the Wild by John Krakauer 
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Story & Style: A Critical Lens

This course presents students with an overview of multiple literary genres, including, but not limited to, dramas, speeches, multimedia texts, novels, and informational texts of varying length and complexity. Students will be expected to analyze and evaluate their world through the lenses of these texts, while simultaneously becoming more critical readers of multiple genres. Themes of personal reflection and the human condition will be explored through expository and analytical essays, persuasive speeches, and class discussions. Students will complete a senior thesis, which involves an extensive individual research paper and interaction with members of the community.

Course Objectives

In this course, students will:

  • Analyze and evaluate the world around them through multiple lenses and perspectives.
  • Investigate the human condition through essays, fiction, drama, poetry, speeches, and discussions.
  • Refine their skills as a sophisticated reader, writer, and thinker.
  • Reflect on who they are and who they want to be.

Core Texts

Students will engage with, at minimum, the following texts:

  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Assorted informational texts, poems, speeches and short stories

Advanced Placement Literature

The Advanced Placement English course in Literature and Composition engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style and themes, as well as smaller-scale elements, such as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone. The course includes intensive study of representative works from various genres and periods, concentrating on selections that do not yield all of their pleasures of thought and feeling the first time through. Students will read deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand a work’s complexity in order to absorb its richness of meaning and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form.

Core Texts

  • Othello by William Shakespeare
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • M. Butterfly by David Henry Huang
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • Poetry
  • Other outside reading and supplemental texts