Antelope Valley School District

graphic showing books and writing


Highland High School’s English and Language Arts (ELA) department boasts one of the most experienced and renowned staff from around the district. Each of our English teachers has at least a decade of teaching experience. Instructors are alumni from public and private universities from across the country, including two law schools.

The English department is committed to preparing students for life beyond high school by helping students improve their abilities to think, read, write, and speak through the study of English language and literature.





English 10 - English 11 Chantelle Baker-Ortiz
 English 10 - English 10 Honors - English 11 Mina Chang
English 9 - English 9 Honors - Instructional Partner Kristin Cole
English 9 - Expository Reading & Writing Tim Corfman
English 12 Science Fiction - Instructional Partner Brian Guthrie
English 10 - English 12 Ethnic Cultures Erica Isibue
English 10 - English 10 Honors (PSA) Migena Mendez
English 9 - English 9 Honors - ELD Coordinator Elizabeth Morales
English 12 Gothic Lit. - Peer Helping - AVID 4 - IP Jessica Owen
English 10 - Beginning EL Dev. - ELD 2 Daniela Palacio
 English 11 - AP Eng. Lang. & Comp. - Adv. Journalism Emily Reinsch
English 11 - AP English Lit Roxanne Sachs
English 9 - English 11 Avalon Sookdeo
English 9 - English 11 Noel Zavala
DEPT. CHAIRS:  Jessica Owen & Kristin Cole
ADMIN:  VP Jose Cortinas    


Library Resources

County of Los Angeles Library - Lancaster

Palmdale Library

Online Card Catalog - Access our books here!

Overdrive - Access books from audio/e-books from our school's library as well as from Los Angeles County Library.

Students - To log into Overdrive, your user name is your student G-mail address and your password is your student ID#.

Overdrive for iPad/iPod/iPhone

Overdrive for Android

Overdrive for other devices

Writing Resources

Writing well depends on a fluent use of language and clear ideas about what one wants to say. The most important things students can do to improve their writing skills is to read published work every day and to write frequently in various forms, from the informal journal entry to the creative short story to the formal revised, polished essay.

The Reading/Writing Connection

Reading grade-level and advanced texts on a daily basis increases a writer's vocabulary and familiarity with sentence variety. Both nonfiction and fiction expose students to sophisticated language use. The HHS English department expects honors students to read 3-4 hours a week throughout the year. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) periodically publishes a best books list for teen readers. The latest from 2014 offers titles in five categories: Arts and Humanities, History & Cultures, Literature & Language Arts, Science & Technology, and Social Sciences. To see the list, click on the link below:

2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners

Practicing writing of any type improves student's composition skills. Writing in a journal every day builds student fluency and speed, both essential skills for passing the AP Language and AP Literature timed writing exams. In addition to personal, analytical and argument essays written for class, students can work to refine their writing skills composing poetry, scripts, plays, and short stories. Any writing that requires a student to think and get his or her ideas written and ready for a potential reader helps the student become better at composing and expressing their thoughts.

Parents and students can also search the California Department of Education's Recommended Literature List here:

In addition to accessing thousands of digital books through the Los Angeles County Library system, The Gutenberg Project has digitized and made free 53,000 previously published, public domain books for American readers. Students with devices that can access the web, can access any of these books without cost.

Literary Analysis Resources

Just as the lab report is an essential genre of writing for science classes and the research paper an essential genre of writing in history, the literary analysis is the essential genre of writing in literature.

The Literary Analysis essay combines the skills of close reading and annotation with written interpretation and analysis. It is text-based, requiring the essayist to synthesize multiple strands of ideas in a work of literature into one cohesive claim, and show how elements like themes, characterization, plot, tone and diction support that reading. Like a research paper, it quotes, paraphrases and summarizes text from the work being analyzed as evidence for the essay writer's claims.