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English Language Arts

Jaimie Kanter, Ed.D., Director of English Language Arts


The Harrison Central School District's English Language Arts (ELA) program is designed to develop students’ ability to reason and use language purposefully as they comprehend, construct and convey meaning.


The K-5 ELA program aims to develop English language skills in the four modalities of listening, speaking, reading and writing. These skills are introduced through context across a range of genres - informational, narrative, opinion/argumentative and poetry - using texts that expand readers’ and writers’ range and ability. 

Literacy Learning 

The workshop model is one in which students are taught the skills, strategies and behaviors to be successful, lifelong readers and writers. Reading and Writing Workshop is a daily, structured, differentiated time where students are immersed in a literacy rich environment and provided with guided and independent opportunities to learn, to practice, and to share their work. Students engage in literacy experiences such as:  

  • Targeted Instruction mini-lessons

  • Read alouds and shared reading  

  • Independent and guided practice

  • Conferring with teachers daily 

Word Study

The Harrison Central School District has adopted the program Fundations to address core phonics and phonological awareness which aids in spelling and writing. Additionally, across grade levels vocabulary instruction includes:  1) exposing and engaging students within high-quality academic language conversations; 2) providing explicit instruction of specific words; 3) providing modeling and instruction with word-learning strategies such as context clues and roots, suffixes and prefixes; and 4) encouraging wide-reading.                                                                                                                                                                        

Personalized and Responsive Teaching in Literacy 

Through analysis of multiple measures of learning, teachers determine their students’ strengths and needs.  This information allows teachers to plan and implement whole group, small group and individual instruction to support all learners. 

Required K-5 ELA Assessments:
  • New York State Common Core ELA Assessments in Grades 3, 4 & 5

The goals of the Middle Years Program (MYP) in English Language Arts are to continue the development of literate, thoughtful communicators who are capable of utilizing sophisticated language as they negotiate an increasingly complex and information-rich world.  The MYP framework develops skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and presenting. Through an exploration of a wide range of rigorous texts, students study various writing styles, question big ideas and themes, and make connections to the real world. Students respond in various modalities presenting their thinking about texts. 

MYP Language and Literature courses are designed to: 

  • Engage a student in the study of many aspects of the language and literature of a communities and cultures

  • Offer a study of a wide range of literary and non-literary text types, writing styles and techniques, allowing students to comment on the significance of any possible context, audience, purpose, and the use of linguistic and literary devices.

Required 6-8 ELA Assessments:
  • New York State Common Core ELA Assessments in Grades 6, 7 & 8

The English Language Arts curriculum at Harrison High School prepares students with the necessary language skills to become college and career ready. Students read, write, listen, and speak for:

  • Information and understanding 

  • Literary response and expression

  • Critical analysis and evaluation

Works of literature, across genres, cultures, and centuries, offer insights into the human condition and serve as models for students’ own thinking and writing. Through wide and deep reading of literature and literary nonfiction, students acquire strategies to analyze and evaluate intricate arguments, research topics, cite materials, and draw conclusions. Additionally, the writing experiences throughout the high school prepare students to assert and defend claims demonstrating expertise on certain subjects.  Throughout the program, students learn these skills and how to utilize writing as a tool for thinking and communicating effectively their analysis to a variety of tasks. 

Grade 9:  English 9 and Freshman Writing Seminar
Grade 10: English 10 
Grade 11:  IB Literature and IB Language Year 1 or IB Literature Year 1
Grade 12:  IB Literature and IB Language Year 2 or IB Literature Year 2 or English 12
Electives: Journalism I,II and III; ACT/SAT Verbal Prep

Required Assessments:

Regents: English - 11th Grade
International Baccalaureate: IB Internal and External Assessments - 11th & 12th Grade