Purpose and Objectives

English is the foundation for all learning in our culture and the medium through which an individual communicates with the world. In order to communicate effectively, one must master the basic elements of language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. To enable students to attain these ends, the English program provides a rigorous and varied writing program, an in-depth study of the literature of this and other cultures, and a variety of aural-oral experiences.

The primary aim of the English program is to produce individuals who are comfortable with their language and confident in their use of it. The study of the language must always be progressive, moving from the knowledge of the basic language to the understanding of its structure and scope and, finally, to an appreciation of its beauty and power.

All students complete four years of required English courses and write a senior thesis. Required courses are taught at the Advanced Placement, honors, and college preparatory levels. Students wishing to take an honors or AP course should have the recommendation of an English teacher.

Belmont High School Program of Studies.

Department Contact

Phone: (617)993-5940 

Email Lisa Hurtubise, English Language Arts Curriculum Director 
Email Lindsey Rinder, English Language Learners Director 

Faculty Listing is here.

English Language Learners

ELL instruction is offered to students assessed as having limited proficiency in English. Students may placed in an English Language education class and/or receive individualized or small group tutoring.

Policy and Procedures

The following items outline the procedures for placement of ELL (English Language Learners) and LEP (Limited English Proficiency) students in English classes and tutorial services.

  1. All students ELL and LEP students will be assigned to an English class.

  2. The assigned English class may be an Advanced Placement, honors, college preparatory, or Transitional English class. Placement depends on academic ability and the level of support needed to acquire English language skills.

  3. In the case of ELL and LEP students, the content area teacher, with the assistance of the English Language Education program, will determine the type and amount of support and modification necessary.

  4. An ELL or LEP student will receive English language development instruction in addition to his or her assigned English class.

  5. A student will move from the Transitional English class to an AP, honors, or college preparatory English class when the teacher determines the move to be appropriate. Appropriate post-assessment must be completed in the Transitional English class before making this schedule change. This move should be done in consultation with the department director. The student may be placed in the English class best suited to his/her academic needs rather than a strict chronological placement by grade level.

  6. An ELL or LEP student may receive a letter grade or a Pass/Fail in his/her assigned content area classes. 

Websites for practicing English grammar

Here are some websites that have interactive grammar for ELL students:

Some of the websites have vocabulary building exercises. All of them have practice quizzes and explanations for grammar.

Additional Techniques and Information for Studying

  1. Bookmarks to use for keeping track of vocabulary you encounter in the reading.

  2. The following website is for practicing pronunciation. You hear an audio clip of a word and you repeat the word, then you hear another clip and identify the spelling of the word. 

  3. Flashcards are another good study tool.

  4. The book 501 English Verbs by Thomas R. Beyer, PhD. It provides full conjugations of the 501 most used English verbs. All students should also buy a bilingual dictionary (Langenscheidt's).

  5. Speaking some English at home is a good routine for learning English. There are ELL classes available through Belmont Community Education for adults. Registration form and course description is available on the Belmont Community Education web site.

  6. A list of tutors and the languages they speak will be made available through the English Dept. Students can receive tutoring in their own language.

  7. Watching television and movies in English, as well as the news, is another good way for students to learn the everyday English spoken in the United States.

  8. There is after-school tutoring available to ELL students through the ELE program.  Please contact the director for more information.

Senior Thesis

Seniors are required to complete all steps in the thesis process and submit a final paper by April in order to complete their twelfth grade English requirement for graduation.

  • Seniors read three to four primary sources; each primary source must be a work of some length and merit.

  • Students read novels, plays, or collections of poetry or short stories.

  • Students research their author and topic in at least three libraries as well as on-line.

  • Students read at least six to eight secondary sources which contribute to their understanding of their author and topic.

  • Students complete note cards on both their primary and secondary sources.

  • During the senior year students write and revise several papers about their thesis topic, and they confer with their teachers and peers to further revise and refine their final thesis topic and paper.

  • Students outline, draft and revise a final MLA documented 10 to 15-page thesis paper which synthesizes their reading, research, reflection, and conferencing.

Each spring the English Department selects the three outstanding senior theses as winners of the Lillian F. Blacker Prizes for Excellence in Writing.