Department Head


Christine Wheeler

(203) 977-5628

Department Office:

(203) 977- 4490


The four-year English program is designed to provide students with reading, writing, and oral skills to encourage responsible social interaction, to enhance the learning process, and to generate enthusiasm for the power of language. All students are required to take four years of English: English 9, English 10, English 11, and one of the required senior offerings. The English curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for ELA/Literacy. In addition, students are encouraged to select English electives that will broaden their experience and enrich their knowledge of language and literature.


Course Offerings

Poetry Grades 9/10

  • 1st-Jahdavid James, “Silver Linings in Dark Clouds”
  • 2nd-Victor Carias, “Dead Souls among Living Bodies”
  • 3rd-John Coleman, “Stand Out”
  • Honorable Mention: Byron Chavaque

Poetry Grades 11/12

  • 1st-Jarrod Trief, “Ode to My Memories”
  • 2nd-Nastaja Houghton, “Collections of Poetry/Prose”
  • 3rd-Maria Swayne, “The Loss of a Soul”


  • 1st- Jykira Harkness, “8:21”
  • 2nd-Nastasja Haughton, “Lost One”
  • 3rd- Marvin Sandoval, “Dark Hunters”

Nonfiction Literary Nonfiction:

  • 1st-Rosa Swan, “Growing Pains”
  • 2nd-Kimberly Roig, “Farewell”
  • 3rd-Britney Millington, “Mom”

Academic Essay:

  • 1st-Katherine Martinez, “Once Upon an Icy Time”

Graphic Novel:

  • 1st-Maria-Paula Guerrero, “Isn’t That Something?”


  • 1st-Shamar Bryce, “Broadway”

Photo Essay:

  • 1st-Adriana Di Salvo, “The Beginning of Something Beautiful”

Unless a student is enrolled in an AP English class or an elective s/he will be taking a district generated midterm exam and a district generated final exam.

In order to be successful on district English exams students must:

  • Be prepared to read and annotate a passage they are seeing for the first time.
  • Evaluate how an author uses literary devices (i.e. diction, figurative language, imagery, etc.) to convey meaning.
  • Use evidence from the text to respond to three constructed response questions.
  • Write a multi-paragraph literary analysis essay.

Students have practiced these types of activities throughout the year in their unit assessments.  However, it is certainly a good idea for students to review frequently used literary devices and perhaps even practice reading, annotating, and analyzing a short story or a passage from a grade-level appropriate work of literature.


Best In... 2016

Congratulations to our winners!

Best in English - Noah Zussman

Best in Drama - Julianna Goldfluss

Best in Technical Theater - James Covello

Congratulations to Kiana Michel, the recipient of the Josephine Melfi Memorial Scholarship.


Department Plagiarism Policy

Westhill High School English Department

Plagiarism Policy


Plagiarism is a very serious violation of academic rules.  According to the Westhill Student Handbook, plagiarism is a form of cheating when a student claims someone else’s work, words, and/or ideas are his/her own.  Examples of plagiarism can be found on page twenty of the handbook.


The English Department of Westhill High School formally states that any student who is found to have plagiarized in his or her English class will automatically receive a zero on the assignment.  Additional, escalating consequences may result in specific cases where the offense is extremely severe or if a student has previously engaged in academic dishonesty.  Students should be aware that any form of academic dishonesty may also result in their inability to receive a college recommendation, in their removal from an honors or AP class or in a parent conference with the teacher and the English Department Head.

English Department Resources

Writing Center is open for business!  This year Writing Center is being taught by Ms. Denninger and is located in Room 213.


The Hillside Muse, Westhill's own literary magazine, is back!  Students interested joining The Hillside Muse should contact Mr. Pinsince (Room 219) or Mr. Von Wahlde (Room 216).


If you are interested in being a part of our award winning newspaper, The Westwordplease contact Mr. Von Wahlde or Mr. Wooley.  This year The Westword will continue to publish a print edition and an online edition of the paper!  ​The Westword​ is located in Room 224. -