Academics » ELA Department

ELA Department


English Language Arts at TYWLS: 

Cultivating Voices, Empowering Minds

The TYWLS ELA team believes in the transformative power of words. We want to prepare students to tell their own stories by fostering a love of language within safe and supportive communities of readers and writers.

We believe in:

  • Standards with Passion: At TYWLS Manhattan, ELA teachers are empowered to craft unique curriculum aligned to New York’s Next Generation Learning Standards.  This approach keeps our designs skills-based, allows teachers to integrate their own passions, and to tailor curricula to meet individual classes of students where they are.
  • Mirrors and Windows: We curate diverse texts for each class that represent the richness of human experience, allowing students to see themselves reflected AND to explore new perspectives.
  • Building Skills for Success: From narrative to persuasive writing, poetry to analysis, we equip students with the tools to excel in state testing and beyond.
  • Challenge and Support: We push students to grapple with complex texts and writing tasks while meeting them at their individual levels.
  • Community of Learners: We cultivate a classroom environment where students feel comfortable taking risks, voicing their ideas, and learning from each other.
  • Continuous Improvement: We are a department in perpetual motion, actively aligning our curriculum with evolving standards and student needs.

We envision graduates who are:

  • Confident and articulate communicators.
  • Critical thinkers with the ability to analyze complex ideas, discern propaganda and bias, and verify veracity of stories told and sold to them.
  • Empowered storytellers armed with writing techniques, ready to replace stereotypical narratives with genuine, unique tales of their own experience.
  • Empathetic citizens who understand and appreciate diverse perspectives.
  • Lifelong learners who can lead any learning community.

We utilize the AP English Literature framework as a guiding star -- with this high level as a goal, we keep things rigorous in grades 6-11. 

Notable projects and methods:

  • Middle school ELA focuses on laying foundational skills in reading, writing, and discourse.  Kids learn to annotate, summarize, make guesses about vocabulary based on context and affixes, and to create their own original claims and arguments about what they read.  Practice-runs, student choice, freewrites, and partnering keep our middle school classrooms “brave spaces” where each girl feels prepared to risk an answer -- this approach yields measurable results -- our on standardized tests consistently outpace city averages.
  • Grades 6-9 were lab classrooms for the New Visions Middle-School Literacy Handbook project -- you can see our students and teachers at work on the project’s many youtube teaching videos for instructional routines and micro routines.  
  • 9th graders at TYLWS memorize and perform a scene from Macbeth, and put on a mock trial / character monologue as part of their study of To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • 10th graders compose and perform speeches as part of an Original Oratory project. In 10th grade students also practice SAT skills in a discrete unit on grammar and composition, and walk through several iterations of Regents’ Examination literary analysis tasks.
  • Some 10th graders may elect to take AP English Language and Composition.
  • 11th graders culminate their year of literary analysis with a “Gatsby Party”,  Their year ends with the writing of three different personal essays on different topics and in different styles, so they have some to choose from during college application season the following Fall.
  • 12th graders may choose between AP English Literature and Composition, Drama, and Journalism.

Join us on this journey as we unlock the potential within every student, one powerful word at a time!

Text Analysis

Test Analysis