English Department

Upon graduation at FHSA, each Arts graduate will have experienced rigorous and engaging coursework in Language Arts. Culminating in research using scholarly articles in the upper level courses, all students entering Fordham High School for the Arts are enrolled in ELA 9, regardless of level in 8th grade. This course, designed to create a strong foundational toolkit of argumentative writing and text analysis, provides all learners with the opportunity to sit for the CCLS ELA Regents Exam in January of their first year, and June if necessary. By front loading students for Regents success, our course catalog is developed with SAT and college-readiness aligned indicators that promote critical thinking, inquiry, and real-world performance tasks for students to create meaningful outcomes in their vertical progression in Language Arts.


At FHSA, our department has recently grown to include the following courses, including College Board and dual enrollment offerings through Syracuse University to provide every student with the opportunities to experience and engage in college-level work during their high school years at Arts. Below is a description of each of these course offerings. 

AP Language & Composition

“At the heart of an AP English Language & Composition course is the reading of various texts. Reading facilitates informed citizenship and this increases students’ capacity to enter into consequential conversations with others about meaningful issues. Also contributing to students’ informed citizenship is their ability to gather source materials representing particular conversations and then make their own reasonable and informed contributions to those conversations. Students’ ability to engage with outside sources in their reading, writing, and research is an important measure of their intellectual growth.”

AP Literature & Composition

“An AP English Literature & Composition course engages student in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through 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, themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.”


AP Seminar (Y1 of 2-Year AP Capstone)

AP Seminar is a foundational course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. Students learn to investigate a problem or issue, analyze arguments, compare different perspectives, synthesize information from multiple sources, and work alone and in a group to communicate their ideas.


AP Research (Y2 of 2-Year AP Capstone)

Build on what you learned in AP Seminar to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, or issue of individual interest. Through this exploration, you will design, plan, and conduct a year-long research based investigation to address a research question. AP Research is an interdisciplinary course that encourages students to demonstrate critical thinking and academic research skills on a topic of the student’s choosing. To accommodate the wide range of student topics, typical college course equivalents include introductory research or general elective courses.



Syracuse University Project Advance – Studios of Academic Writing – WRT 105 (Fall)


The course challenges students to understand that effective communication requires people to be aware of the complex factors that shape every rhetorical context, including issues of power, history, difference, and community.

Students explore the histories and knowledges that shape the positions from which they write and that inform the perspectives of various audiences, and they learn to recognize that writing as a true communicative act may potentially change the perspectives of both the writer and audiences. Developing this understanding helps students perceive ways in which their work as writers extends beyond the immediate requirements of the classroom and prepares them for effective engagement with issues in the workplace, local community, and global society. The writing course is a site of active learning where students have responsibility for their own progress and for that of their peers.


The course is organized into three units, in which students engage in various activities that culminate in a formal paper for each unit and a writing portfolio.

  • Open to qualified high school seniors only.
  • SU’s class cap policy is 20 students maximum per session.


Syracuse University Project Advance – Social Class and Literature – ENG 181 (Spring)

Invested in theoretical and historical frames of reading, the course takes as its starting point the concepts of social class and engages with literary texts ranging from the early modern period through the Industrial Revolution and into the present moment, when digital technology is dramatically shifting the way we work, live and communicate. Accordingly, as participants in a writing-intensive course, students will respond and engage with texts by writing short and long-form papers as a way of critically and personally engaging with the texts from class. Students in this course will learn to read analytically and, through their writing, demonstrate a critical faculty for understanding how these texts can be vital markers of the ways that social class, and the struggles that come with it, stratify, divide and define us today.


This class is offered as a ‘linked’ course – and open to students who enroll in WRT 105 during the Fall semester of their 12th grade year. 



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