WRHS English Department

Department Head: Lynn Leschke

Course Offerings

The list of current English courses and their descriptions can be found starting on page 19 of the Educational Guide.

English Publications

Rhubarb Pie - Wachusett's Premier Arts & Literary Magazine

Wachusett Echo - Wachusett Regional High School's Student-run Newspaper & Podcast

Department Notes for Summer Assignments

Summer Assignments for the 2022-2023 school year

  • Summer Reading Requirements for Advanced Placement English Courses:  Please see these individual links for the details on the assignments and how to acquire the materials for each course.
  • AP Literature and Composition (grade 12) - AP Lit Summer Assignment 2022
  • AP Language and Composition (grade 11) - Summer Reading Assignment AP Lang - 2022
    **Please see these individual links for how to acquire the materials for each course.**

  • There will be no required reading for English 9 Honors.

  • Summer Reading Suggestions for all grades and levels: As an English Department, we believe that any reading is good reading, so if  you are looking for something to read and keep your brain engaged, we suggest anything that interests you off the list put together and published by Teacher-Librarian, Alana Stern, found here


English Department Faculty

Linda Buraczenski: English 9, American Literature, British Literature

AnneMarie Donahue: English 9, American Literature, Dystopian Literature, Gothic and Detective Literature

Sean Farrell: English 10, American Literature, Nature Writing

Karl Hartshorn: English 10, Shakespeare, Reading and Writing Illness, Contemporary Novel and Film

Laura Hazel: English 9, Language and Composition, Reading and Writing Illness, Contemporary American Culture

Christine Hicks: English 9, Drama, Bible as Literature., Creative Writing, American Literature, We the People of American Literature

Kathryn Kearney: English 10, American Literature, Contemporary Novel and Film, and Dystopian Literature

Keith Korandanis: English 9, English 10, and American Literature

Sarah Lefebvre: English 9, Dystopian Literature, Applied Communications, Stories and Storytelling, British Literature

Lynn Leschke: English 10, The New Literature, Women’s Voices, Stories and Storytelling, An Invitation to Contemporary Poetry 

Brian Lux: English 10, Contemporary Novel and Film, Filmmaking, American Literature

Ned McTigue: English 9, AP Language and Composition

Lynn Morrow: English 9, Short Fiction, American Biography

Sasha Possemato: English 10, Contemporary Novel and Film, Contemporary Lit. and Film, Dystopian Literature, Gothic and Detective Literature

Kim Reeser: English 10, Language and Composition

Emily Rejniak: English 9, American Literature

Emily Reynolds: English 10, American Literature, The New Literature, Creative Writing

Linda Sasso: AP Language and Composition, Applied Communications, American Literature, Journalism I and II

Chris Tarmey: AP Literature and Composition, Humanities I and II, American Literature

Melissa Zingarella: English 10, English 11, Contemporary Novel and Film, Contemporary American Culture

WRHS Writing Standard

WRHS students must meet the requirements of the WRHS Writing Standard in both Grade 9 and Grade 10. Achieving all parts of the standard is a graduation requirement. Students who fail any part of the standard must take and pass Language and Composition in Grade 11 or 12 to fulfill the requirements of the WRHS Writing Standard.
The WRSD Writing Standard requires students to demonstrate competency in grades 9 and 10. To demonstrate competency, a student must:

  1. Write at least one literary analysis (analytical essay) in English 9 and two literary analyses in English 10.
  2. Conduct a research project.
  3. Demonstrate acceptable written work on a variety of writing assignments.
  4. Pass the 9th-grade Writing Standard Test. This test will be scored holistically by WRHS faculty using MCAS long-composition rubrics.
  5. Score 472 or higher on the 10th-grade MCAS English Language Arts test.

A student who fails in any of these five requirements has not attained the WRHS Writing Standard and therefore must take and pass Language and Composition in his/her junior or senior year. Students who pass English 11 do not have to take Language and Composition.

English Department Policies

1. English 9 and 10 Failures - Grade 9 and Grade 10 English emphasize the core of the WRHS curriculum in developing students’ skills in reading, writing, and speaking. Unless a student is recommended by the English department head, school counselor, and school counseling department head to repeat English 9, students who fail English 9 will be placed in English 10. All students who have failed English 9 will take Language and Composition in Grade 11. Students who fail English 10 will take the Upper School elective English 11 in Grade 11. It should be noted that students who make up either English 9 or English 10 in summer school will be required to take Language and Composition.

2. Credit Deficiency - A student who is credit deficient may, during his/her junior or senior year, double up in English as necessary to fulfill his/her graduation requirements; however, no student will be allowed to enroll in more than two English courses during any semester or in more than three during a school year. Placement in the additional English courses depends on space availability and is not guaranteed.

3. Make-up - School-wide make-up provisions apply to all course work. 

4. Policies Governing English Courses Offered in Grades 11 and 12

All courses stress writing: a literary analysis and many shorter assignments are required each semester. In addition, major creative assignments and/or research projects are required in most courses. Some electives are primarily writing courses; for example, Creative Writing, Journalism, and Language and Composition.

  • Required courses for graduation: Before graduating, every student must take and pass American Literature noted by the symbol # before the course title in this guide and at least one other English literature class noted by the symbol @ before the course title in this guide. Students may fulfill their American Literature requirement by completing both years of the Applied Communications sequence or AP English Language and Composition. A student fulfills the remainder of his/her English requirement by taking any other English electives to achieve at least 20 English credits.
  • Minimum number of courses:  Students must take a minimum of two semester courses or one full-year course (5 credits) in each year of high school. Students must take a minimum of one course (2.5 credits) in each semester during each of these years.
  • Space Availability:  On a space-available basis and with the teacher’s approval, students may take a second English course in any one semester, either for enrichment or to make up an English credit deficiency. A space-available determination will be made the first week of each semester.
  • Credits:  Credits in excess of five earned during any one of these years count toward graduation.
  • Enrollment: No student will be permitted to enroll in more than two English courses during any semester and in no more than three in an academic year. If a senior needs additional English credits beyond 7.5 credits that year in order to graduate, he/she can take an additional English course. In rare cases, an independent study may be taken for English credit, but only with the express permission of the curriculum specialist and the English teacher.
  • Combining levels:  Occasionally, because of staffing and scheduling constraints, academic levels may be combined for some English courses. In these cases students who are registered at the higher level must expect to do additional work and to be graded by more rigorous standards.
  • Limiting enrollments: Staffing and scheduling constraints restrict the number of sections in some traditionally popular elective courses. Both juniors and seniors should make alternative course selections with this in mind, realizing that they will be placed, whenever possible, in one of their alternate choices if they cannot be scheduled into their first choice elective. Seniors will receive preference in these cases.

English Department Description of Levels

Honors: Students at the honors level are perceptive, enthusiastic readers. They independently read scholarly and difficult texts for understanding, inference and context. They analyze various texts and combine information from those texts with other information to reach new conclusions and formulate and defend positions. They are self-motivated readers, writers, and revisers; and will work independently on a variety of assignments and long-term projects. They are clear writers with a strong sense of audience and voice and with good command of language and of the grammatical rules and conventions of standard academic English. They are adept at using pertinent detail in their writing to defend well-established positions. 

College Prep – Accelerated: Students at the CPA level are good readers who read for comprehension, inference, and context, although they may need support from a teacher with the latter two. They display reasonable analytical and critical thinking skills as they work somewhat independently on a variety of assignments and long-term projects. They write with organization and clarity, a clear focus, and a reasonable command of the grammatical rules and conventions of standard academic English. Their positions are generally clear, though supporting details may be less than optimal.

College Prep: Students at the CP level read appropriate texts for understanding and can, with teacher assistance, develop skills for reading for inference and contextual understanding. Students write coherently and meaningfully in a variety of forms, but may need help with organization and with understanding of audience and purpose. They have some command of language and of the grammatical rules of conventions of standard academic English. With teacher assistance, they revise their written work and can expand on it using relevant supporting details. They work somewhat independently on a variety of projects and long-term assignments with teacher support and with frequent smaller assignment deadlines.