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The Urban School
of San Francisco
1563 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415 626 2919


The primary goal of the English Department at Urban is to develop our students’ appreciation for the joys and possibilities of literary expression. To this end, a central feature of our classes is the close reading and discussion of literature – a form of critical inquiry that supports and honors diverse points of view and varieties of interpretation.

Literature is also the province of culture, offering wonderfully wide-ranging and intimate means of exploring the human experience. Diversity and range are important to us. Our curriculum features a blend of classics and non-traditional texts – Gilgamesh alongside Persepolis in the 9th grade, The Great Gatsby alongside Fences in the 10th. In every case, we choose texts that warrant the sustained attention we give them in classes designed to be rich, engaging and appropriately challenging.

Our other primary task is writing, with a goal to develop not only the student’s competence – a facility with syntax and structure – but his or her voice as well. We want our students to leave Urban with a sense of themselves as thinkers and writers – thoughtful and reflective, not merely capable but eager in expressing both their critical and creative sensibilities in writing.

See English courses for 2017-18.


The Urban School curriculum provides an exceptionally strong foundation in college preparatory subjects. Many of our classes have distinctive features that set them apart as particularly challenging and comparable to college level work. These classes, designated as UAS (Urban Advanced Studies), are developed by the Urban faculty and comprise the school's most rigorous coursework. UAS classes are offered in every subject area and most are recognized by colleges (including the University of California) as honors level courses. Many Urban students choose to take Advanced Placement subject exams after taking these courses.

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