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Course Offerings
American Literature

The development of our American society is filled with paradoxes. Our identity has been shaped by both the Colonial impulse to venture into the unknown and the Revolutionary impulse to overturn existing order. We strive for human dignity and rights, yet exploit others for economic advantage. We are a nation formed by immigrants and outsiders, yet our tolerance for those who are “other” is conflicted. We are torn between the drive to be self sufficient individuals and the desire to create communities of the like-minded.
This course seeks to initiate a lifelong habit of mind that is able to embrace our contradictions, and strive to reconcile them.
Authors include Hawthorne, Thoreau, Emerson, Fitzgerald, Crane, Chopin, Cather, Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Morrison, Ellison, Williams, Miller, Wilder, and O’Brien. Critical theories/theorists explored include Freud, Marx, Foucault, Feminism, Deconstruction, and Post-Colonialism.


AP English Language and Composition 

The course supports the reading and writing skills that students need for college success and for intellectually responsible civic engagement. The course guides students in becoming curious, critical, and responsive readers of diverse texts, and flexible, reflective writers of texts addressed to diverse audiences for diverse purposes. The reading and writing students do in the course deepens and expands their understanding of how written language functions rhetorically: to communicate writers’ intentions and elicit readers’ responses in particular situations. The course cultivates the rhetorical understanding and use of written language by directing students’ attention to writer/reader interactions in their reading and writing of various formal and informal genres, such as memoirs, letters, advertisements, political satires, personal narratives, scientific arguments, cultural critiques and research reports. 


AP English Literature and Composition

The course intends to provide the student with the experience of a college/university level course whose intellectual challenge and workload demands closely resemble a typical undergraduate course in English Literature or the Humanities. It is understood by student and parent that the AP course culminates in a standard AP exam that all students in the class are required to take. The course is designed as a two semester course to be taken during 11th grade. In order to correlate with the 11th grade Social Studies curriculum focused on American History, the core of the AP English Literature and Composition course will be centered on American Literature with a selection of texts primarily drawn from the 19th and 20th century. While the American History course looks at the origins of the United States of America as a country with an ongoing quest for sovereignty and national identity, the literature course will explore what “American” culture and identity means and has meant to writers whose concerns are emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic as well as intellectual and social. However, American literature will not be looked at in isolation from its mainspring, European literature.  


College English: Introduction to College Writing / British Literature

Introduction to College Writing/British Literature is a year-long course equivalent to two semesters of college-level English. Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible for up to six college credits from St. John’s University. A primary focus of the course is the development of style, clarity and grace in writing through the study of various essay forms. We focus on persuasive and critical writing about literature, as well as MLA citation and formatting. Content-wise, the course involves an in-depth exploration of British literary figures, periods, movements and theories, moving chronologically from the Medieval Period to the present day.  Major topics include selfhood and identity, language, literary style, reality, and "truth." Authors studied include Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, the Romantic poets, M. Shelley, Wilde, Conrad, and Woolf, among others.


Creative Writing

The Creative Writing elective is designed for the serious and inventive 11th and 12th student who considers writing as both an art and as a craft.  It serves as an introduction to creative writing through the creation of original poems and a variety of fictional pieces, including a memoir, a children’s story, a literacy narrative and a short screen play, among other possibilities. We will also consider the incorporation of “the self” into the writing as students practice representing themselves on the page through observations, reflections, and revelations. Readings by various authors will be utilized to help explore and define fiction and non-fiction writing categories, investigate rhetorical approaches, and identify literary features that both fiction and non- fiction of writers use in order to support/create content through form.


In addition, students will keep a journal in which they critique each other’s work and complete various exercises designed to stimulate the imagination and hone their writing skills. In this class, students will form a community of writers and learn how to be compassionate and critically engaged readers for one another’s work. All students will be given the opportunity to develop their “voice.”​​​​​​​



English 12

In this class we explore what it is to be human, as well as the nature of reality itself, through an in-depth look at the ways British writers from the medieval period to the 21st century have addressed these issues. Additionally, we spend a considerable amount of time developing critical essay writing skills, and exploring our own creative voices through a variety of poetry and prose forms.  


Global Literature I 

This course is a study of the literature of the ancient world. The course will focus on the human struggle to understand the complex interrelationships among fate, free will, and natural and supernatural forces.
Some of the questions we will explore in this class are:
• What is mythology? What do myths and archetypes teach us about ourselves?
• What is a hero? How do you become “the hero of your own life,” and what does that mean?
• Who or what controls our lives? What place do humans have in the universe?
• What connects us to one another? What is the importance of relationships?
• Why do people write? Or, “What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?”
In Global Literature I we will be looking at texts such as Gilgamesh, Oedipus, Beowulf and Macbeth with these primary questions in mind.  Objectives of the course include understanding and appreciating literary forms, devising and applying critical lenses to literature, and reading and writing for analysis and critical study.


Global Literature II

This course is an extension and expansion of concepts, themes and issues raised in Global Literature I. It is a study of the literature from the Renaissance and Enlightenment to the Twentieth Century, including the classic authors, Dante Alighieri, Franz Kafka, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad and more. The course consists of reading challenging texts and writing for creative and analytical purposes and involves the use of multimedia and interdisciplinary projects.
In Global Literature II, we explore powerful texts and learn about other cultures with these essential questions in mind: What is the balance between freedom and responsibility? What is the nature of power? How does the individual figure in society? How does culture impact on the individual? What values are universal?  


Public Speaking

Throughout this class, chief emphasis will be placed on the delivery of carefully prepared speeches, and major attention will be given to the collection of materials, style, audience analysis, and outlining. The course objects are 1.  To develop an understanding of the significance of audience-centered communication during each step of the speech-making process.2. To learn the difference between informative and persuasive thinking. 3. To demonstrate specific skill development in the areas of reasoning, organization, research, structuring of arguments, language choice and presentation. Course topics include: Basic Communication Concepts, Analysis of the Speaking Situation, Defining Communication Goals, Generating Speech Materials, Organizing Speech Materials, Language, Delivering the Speech, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking.