As a department, we strive to develop our students' critical thinking skills so that they are able to negotiate the challenges that they face in and out of high school. Our teachers focus on increasing literacy through extensive reading and writing that broaden our students' understanding of our world. We encourage independent thinking as well as creative collaboration because we are fully aware that success in a 21st century economy depends on one's ability to offer innovative ideas, to work well with diverse groups, and to communicate effectively. We want our students to be competitive beyond high school, to have the skills necessary to contribute positively to their community. Therefore, we encourage them to ask questions, to inquire about the world they inhabit, the world they will inherit, the world they will help shape.