Required English Courses

Students enrolled in English I continue to increase and refine their communication skills. Students will:

  • be expected to plan, draft, and complete written compositions on a regular basis

  • edit their papers for clarity, engaging language, and the correct use of the conventions and mechanics of written English. 


An emphasis is placed on organizing logical arguments with clearly expressed related definitions, theses, and evidence. Students will:

  •  write to persuade, report, and describe

  • will be expected to extensively read multiple genres such as selected stories, dramas, novels, and poetry

  • learn literary forms and terms associated with selections being read

  • demonstrate critical thinking skills to interpret the possible influences of the historical and symbolic context on a literary work.

  • learn the research process and practice the steps to writing a research paper.

Students in English I Honors will read a wide selection of literary and informational texts across various genres and are expected to read critically and analyze the written word. Students will:

  •  produce a variety of written compositions using the writing process and technology to revise, edit, and polish their original work

  • work collaboratively in classroom cooperative teams to enhance learning and strengthen oral and written communication skills. 


The Pre-Advanced Placement curriculum will prepare students for the demands of the tenth grade Honors class and the eleventh and twelfth-grade Advanced Placement classes.

English II emphasizes continued development of advanced language and composition skills. Such development involves the identification and application of literary forms and themes, the use of effective reading strategies, and the ongoing development of analysis and critical thinking skills. With multiple writing experiences, the students develop ideas, work on fluency, present material in a logical manner, and practice appropriate conventions of language. Students will:


  •  fulfill the requirements necessary to complete compositions, improve grammatical skills, expand their vocabularies, and gain a familiarity with major literary works in World Literature

  • familiarize themselves with special terminology associated with said literature and employ it in their analyses of a range of both literary and visual texts.

English II Honors students will read selected fiction and nonfiction texts to analyze how an author uses literary techniques to achieve a particular purpose and address a particular audience. Students will:

  • write clearly, correctly, and effectively in various modes and discourses

  • use similar techniques in their own discourse as they write clear and convincing expository, reflective, and argumentative compositions that introduce complex central ideas

  • participate in special reading and writing projects to enrich their vocabulary, syntax, and awareness of key contemporary issues that shape our society and culture. 

Additional outside reading for this course will be required.

English III is a survey course of American literature. The focus of writing in this year is persuasive: how to write a clear, concise, and grammatically correct paper with arguments supporting a thesis. The purpose of this year’s study of English is to expand the students’ understanding and appreciation of American literature as a whole and to express themselves well in written argument. 

English III Honors continues the foundational preparation for the upper level AP courses utilizing the Pre-Advanced placement curriculum. This course consists of advanced language usage, written compositions, preparation for college entrance examinations through vocabulary development and test-taking techniques, a survey of American literature from 1607 to the present time, and advanced research skills applicable to a documented paper on an appropriate topic. Additional outside reading for this course will be required. 

English III AP is a survey course of American Literature. The focus of writing in the junior year is persuasive: how to write a clear, concise, and grammatically correct paper with arguments supporting a thesis. The purpose of this year’s study of English is to enlarge the students’ understanding and appreciation of American Literature as a whole and to express themselves well in written argument. When the student successfully completes this course, he/she will have a background in major American literary works and will be sufficiently proficient at the persuasive essay that they will be poised to build on that writing ability in English IV and beyond. This course of study is equivalent to an introductory college English course and is available to the student interested in taking the Advanced Placement Examination in English Language and Composition.

This course continues an emphasis on advanced reading strategies and composition techniques integrated with a study of selected British and other world literature. Using the writing process, students work on refining their skills in composition and on developing mature grammatical and stylistic features. In addition, students are expected to demonstrate writing proficiency in various kinds of discourse including exposition and persuasion.

English IV Honors involves college-level critical thinking and composition. Students will fulfill the requirements necessary to complete compositions, develop grammar skills, extend their vocabulary, and gain a familiarity with major literary genres: poetry, drama, short story, and the novel. Additional outside reading for this course will be required.

In English IV AP, students read and write about poetry, drama, and fiction. Students deepen their understanding of the material in order to successfully synthesize critical responses. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone. Students will compose several formal papers and two or three in-class essays per quarter. The structure of this course is intended to follow the AP English Course Description framework. Students read widely and reflect on their reading through extensive discussion, writing, and rewriting. Students should assume considerable responsibility for the amount of reading and writing they do. 

English IV Dual Credit is comprised of two college semesters of English courses over the course of the school year. Each course is crafted per St. Mary's University's standards and approval. Emphasis in the first semester is on the composing process, including development and control of authorial voice through pre-writing, shaping, and editing of product, as well as an emphasis on revision for clarification, organization, and refinement of product for the audience. The second semester is a survey of British Literature. This will feature selections from the whole range of British Literature, from Beowulf to the present. Critical writing and research will be based on the readings.

English Electives

This course is a study of the Greek/Roman mythologies. Students will explore connections between our Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian heritage and examine how these cultures are similar and different in the answers they offer to life’s essential questions. We will explore the characters, stories, and ideas expressed in these mythologies and how and why they appear in literature, the local community, and/or popular culture. In short, we will answer the question: Why are these stories still around? Daily readings will include creation myths, the hero’s cycle, epic tales, ancient religious texts, and modern mythology. 

Yearbook is a course that gives students experience in print media publications. This course is designed to document the school year for current students and students to come. Students will compose, construct, and edit all elements from layout, color, typography, photography, and content. Yearbook staff members will work together and individually to produce photos, headlines and content, and meet deadlines. 

English Teachers