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Carolyn Patten

  • Chair of English Department
  • Faculty Member at King since 2009
  • Honors American Literature (Eng 300), American Literature (Eng 301), Fundamentals in Literary Composition (Eng 105), English 7, English 8
  • B.A. Northwestern University
  • M.A. New York University

Why do you teach at King?

I teach at King because of its core beliefs. King is a community that values educational excellence and kindness. We set high standards for our students, and we support their ongoing development by reaching out and getting to know them as individuals. We value each story, each pathway. And we remember to laugh along the way.

How does the King English program evolve as students progress from elementary to middle to high school?

Four core skills - reading, writing, thinking, and speaking - shape the English program at King. In addition to sequencing our grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing programs at each divisional level, we think about teaching skills in a threefold manner; skills are introduced, appropriately reinforced, and ultimately mastered. With each year, students are asked to read, discuss, and write about increasingly complex texts. Because we spiral back to review essential skills as we move forward, students are able to raise fluency levels, deepen their critical thinking, and write with confidence and awareness.

What advice would you offer to students who want to excel in reading, writing, thinking, and speaking?

Don’t be afraid. Don’t doubt yourself.

As a Department Chair, how do you support the English PreK-Grade 12 Faculty?

One of the most exciting opportunities I have as a Chair is teaching across divisions. By working side by side with my colleagues in the Middle and Upper School, I am able to live with the curriculum and understand the needs of the faculty and students in both divisions. Last year, I worked closely with the Lower School teachers to map the English curriculum in Grades PreK-5, and this year, I look forward to collaborating with colleagues as we implement a new Lower School writing program.

King helps students achieve their personal best. How do you accomplish this in the English department?

I am always impressed with the way that each member of the English department is able to forge connections with his or her students. We regularly reach out to students, offer verbal and written feedback, and schedule conferences to talk about essays. I will also say that the connections and conversations are genuine and meaningful for students and Faculty alike.