The main objectives of the English Department are that the students, upon graduating, will possess a general familiarity with, and knowledge of, the literature they have read, and will be able to read with comprehension and insight any material they may be presented in the future. They are expected to be able to write clearly, both in analyzing literature and in expressing themselves. This clarity of expression is encouraged by consistent study of vocabulary and grammar.
It is part of the mission statement that Saint Mary High School is a college preparatory school, and it is the hope of the English Department that every student is prepared for the rigors of college reading and writing – not only in a collegiate English class, but in any discipline. In the interest of encouraging a “caring, diverse” environment, it is the belief of the English Department that the study of literature is an opportunity to draw certain moral lessons, and literature is selected for class readings with this in mind.
A variety of writers are read throughout all of the school's English classes – authors of different times, cultures, genders, religions, and race. In directing classroom discussions in such a way as to draw various moral lessons, it is inevitable that many pieces of literature encourage students to cultivate a respect for and understanding of the diversity of the human race.
In all courses students are encouraged to use computers for word processing and the internet as a preliminary research tool.
Each student is required to take four years of English, studying the American literature, British literature, and world literature. Each course includes the study of grammar and vocabulary, giving the students a solid understanding of the structure of the English language.