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shari drake
Shari Drake

K-5 ELA Curriculum Leader


Tracie Judd

Traci Judd

Interim Secondary ELA Curriculum Leader


Kim Hatfield
Administrative Support Specialist
Language Arts/Social Studies



boy. reading book

The mission of the Hampton City Schools Language Arts Department is to provide instruction consisting of research-based practices that will allow every child to grow in their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

Elementary language arts instruction focuses on the five pillars of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Writing instruction begins with sentence formation, progresses to paragraph formation, and advances to essay writing. Grammar lessons are included in writing instruction.


Middle and high school ELA instruction emphasizes nonfiction, including informational and functional texts, and fiction, including poetry, drama, and other subgenres. In writing, the emphasis is on developing a variety of genres, such as expository, persuasive, narrative, analytical, and research, while also connecting reading and writing through a structured writing process which includes the study of grammar. Our goal is that every HCS student will leave Hampton City Schools with meaningful literacy experiences that prepare them for the world ahead of them. 

Hampton City Schools, in compliance with Senate Bill 656, has updated the School Board Policy IIA to meet state requirements. Click below for a list of titles at the secondary level that contain sexual content.
For more information on Policy IIA, please click here


Literacy Pro Family Letter (PreK-8) | Literacy Pro Family Tip Sheet | How to Access Literacy Pro: A Visual Guide

Virginia Department of Education | Standards of Learning

Middle School Teacher Specialist

Jennifer Butler
Jennifer Butler
Secondary School Teacher Specialist

Shally Ackerman-Arms
Teacher Specialist

Molly Gilbert

Teacher Specialist

Mary Hollifield

Teacher Specialist

Laura Jurgens

Teacher Specialist

Opel Smalls

Teacher Specialist

The ELA instructional block includes all literacy components and is divided into whole group reading, whole group writing, and differentiated small group instruction.  


A model is provided indicating the breakdown of minutes for each grade level:


Kindergarten: 170 minutes (2 hours, 50 minutes)

First Grade: 170 minutes (2 hours, 50 minutes)

Second Grade: 175 minutes (2 hours, 55 minutes) 

Third Grade: 175 minutes (2 hours, 55 minutes)

Fourth Grade: 160 minutes (2 hours, 40 minutes)

Fifth Grade: 160 minutes (2 hours, 40 minutes)

Please note: Minutes are designated for small group instruction within every ELA model.  A recommendation has been provided that allows for four small groups every day.  However, based on the number of students or reading stages within a classroom, adjustments might need to be made to ensure that students' needs are met.  For example, if a fourth grade teacher has 28 students, more than four groups might be necessary.  Also, if a significant number of students are reading below grade level, the teacher needs to ensure those students are met with daily.  This might mean that other groups of students are not met with every day.  For a smaller class size, a teacher might be able to organize students into three groups.  If teachers have questions about how to structure their small groups, they should meet with their Reading Specialist or Literacy Support Specialist to determine the best plan.

girl reading bookHigh School Summer Reading Letter


English 6: This course of study includes fiction, nonfiction, and informational texts from multiple genres. There are four strands of instruction: Communication and media literacy; reading; writing; and research. In each unit, students read, write, think critically, and respond both orally and in writing. Writing at this level focuses on the process of writing a multiparagraph essay and responding to reading in written form. Students write expository, descriptive, and narrative essays. The curriculum has been aligned with the 2017 Virginia Standards of Learning. Students will take the Grade 6 Reading SOL test.


English 7: This course of study includes short stories, poems, novels, nonfiction, and informational texts. There are four strands of instruction: Communication and media literacy; reading; writing; and research. Students will read, write, and think critically. Writing at this level focuses on narrative and expository essays and responding to reading in written form. The curriculum has been aligned with the 2017 Virginia Standards of Learning. Students will take the Grade 7 Reading SOL test.


English 8: This course includes the elements of fiction, narrative nonfiction, literary criticism, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. There is both a literary and informational focus. Additionally there are four strands of instruction including: Communication and media literacy; reading; writing; and research. Students will continue to strengthen their skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Writing at this level focuses on narrative, expository, and persuasive writing and responding to reading in written form. The curriculum has been aligned with the 2017 Virginia Standards of Learning. Students will take the Grade 8 Reading and Writing SOL tests.


Reading, Writing Exploratoration (RWE) 

  • Tier 2 Reading Intervention

  • Open to students in grades 6-8

  • Use surrounding words to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

  • Expand vocabulary by reading a variety of texts (poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, etc.)

  • Use reading strategies to monitor comprehension (ask questions, summarize, make inferences, determine text importance, visualize, and make connections).

  • Analyze unfamiliar words by breaking the word apart and identifying the roots and/or affixes.

  • Writing instruction aligned to tier 1 ELA curriculum to provide additional support for skill mastery.

READ 180
• 1 year class (1 credit)
• Tier 2 Reading Intervention
• Focuses on vocabulary and reading comprehension strategies
• Open to students in grades 9-12
• May be taken more than one time
• Includes whole group instruction, small group instruction, computer-based practice, and independent reading

High School Course Descriptions
Required to Graduate:
4 standard credits and 2 verified credits in English
SOL End-of-Course tests:
Writing (1 verified credit) - grade 10 & Reading (1 verified credit) - grade 11


English 9, 10, 11, 12 (levels 2 and 3 honors offered for each grade level)

  • Make and deliver multimodal presentations

  • Participate in and evaluate participation in group activities

  • Evaluate persuasive techniques used in media messages

  • Increase vocabulary and analyze language choices

  • Analyze author’s choices in fictional texts

  • Comprehend and analyze nonfiction texts

  • Write effectively in a variety of forms (expository, persuasive/argumentative), reflective, and analytic)

  • Apply rules for correct grammar and mechanics

  • Create research products that correctly reference credible sources

  • Use technology ethically

  • Create and maintain a Digital Writing Portfolio (created in English 9); Add writing samples to the portfolio continuously through 12th grade

English 10 literature focus: multicultural

English 11 literature focus: American

English 12 literature focus: British

English 12 Senior Capstone Project: During the 12th grade year, students reflect on the question “What impact do I want to make?” in regard to their chosen Academy or future career field. Students identify an industry problem and propose a possible solution. The project has five phases: 

  • Phase 1: Generating Ideas: With the help of English teachers and Academy coaches, students will define “capstone” and explore an industry of interest and the potential impacts they could make in that field.

  • Phase 2: Research: Students will use credible sources to determine the possible problems associated with their Academy and/or career field.

  • Phase 3: Development/Implementation: Teachers will provide multiple learning frames to guide the development and implementation of the Capstone project. Each learning frame produces a different kind of project. For example, the “case study” learning frame guides students through a deep analysis of the industry problem and prompts students to determine recommended next steps. The “advocacy/awareness” campaign prompts students to create a media product that informs the audience of the problem and urges them to take action. The “service learning” learning frame guides students through creating a community service solution to a noticeable problem.

  • Phase 4: Reflection: This stage of the project asks students to reflect on the process, honestly evaluate their work, and propose revisions.

  • Phase 5: Demonstration: Students will create and deliver a multimodal presentation that includes their problem, research, learning frame, and reflection.

AP English 11 Language and Composition

  • Comparable to an introductory college-level rhetoric course

  • Development of analytic and argumentative essay writing (including incorporating research effectively)

  • Development of personal style

  • Analysis of rhetorical elements in nonfiction

AP English 12 Literature and Composition

  • Comparable to an introductory college-level literary analysis course

  • Critical analysis of writer’s purpose and stylistic choices

  • Writing assignments include expository, analytic, and argumentative

Consult your school’s guidance department to learn more about Dual Enrollment options available.


• Focus on writing skills and print media in the 20th century
• Write news stories, features, sport stories, and editorials for publication in the school newspaper
• Develop skills in newspaper style, news reports, feature articles, sports stories, editorials, captions, and editing/proof symbols
• Develop production/graphics skills in design, paste-up, advertising, circulation, photo cropping and sizing, and design elements
• Explore legal restraints on free speech that affect high school publications as well as metropolitan dailies
• Develop a newspaper vocabulary


• For students interested in writing poetry and prose
• Develop expression of feelings and ideas
• Students should have good language skills


Prerequisite: Creative Writing or Teacher Recommendation
• Built on skills students have learned in Creative Writing
• Production of school literary magazine


• 1 semester class (1/2 credit)
• Non performance class
• Basics of set construction and design, lighting, and costume makeup
• Practical experience which supplements classroom theory


• 1 semester class (1/2 credit)
• Performance class
• Trains beginning dramatic students in use of voice and body in stage projection


Prerequisite: Acting I and Technical Drama
• Act in and direct several one-act plays
• Open to juniors and seniors who have successfully completed Acting I and Technical Drama


Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, and a college-bound course of study
• Classes meet every other day for 90 minutes (1/2 elective credit)
• 1 Semester Course: Half Math/Half Verbal & Writing
• Students may elect to receive a pass/fail grade or letter grade
• Uses SAT Software & SAT Practice Tests

  • To monitor, evaluate, and support ELA programs, diagnostic assessments, and implementation throughout HCS to assess value to student achievement.
  • To maintain a structured, data-driven, cohesive plan for all reading personnel through professional development.
  • To support district initiatives to improve PSAT, SAT, and SOL performance through differentiated instruction in grades K-12.
  • To provide writing guidelines aligned with standards and writing portfolios and folders, adopted rubrics, and formal writing assessments in grades K-12.
  • To revise curriculum to the current standards with emphasis on rigor and differentiation to meet the needs of all students.
  • To revise pacing guides consistent with the curriculum.
  • To revise quarterly critical skills assessments in response to data, test blueprints, and curricula.
  • To partner with the Special Education department for instructional strategies and intervention resources to improve student achievement.
  • To partner with Title 1 to share instructional strategies to improve student achievement. 
  • To train new teachers throughout HCS in language arts instruction.
  • To train Early Reading Intervention Assistants in all kindergarten and grade one classrooms.
  • To provide professional development and materials throughout HCS on the instructional strategies for language arts teachers in grades K-12.