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English

The English Department aims to develop the reading, writing, thinking, and speaking skills necessary for success both in collegiate work and in life, while at the same time fostering a genuine, life-long love of knowledge and an appreciation for the great drama, poetry, and prose of authors from around the world.

By the end of their time at Xavier High School, students should be able to evaluate text critically and perform the type of research required in collegiate courses in the humanities.

Along with literature and writing, students study vocabulary each year, and develop the grammatical skills necessary for effective written and spoken communication.

Intro to Literature & Composition

Honors - Course #211, Full Year, 1 Credit, Freshmen

This honors course integrates the study of grammar, writing, literature and vocabulary in a course designed for advanced students in terms of pace and depth. The literature component includes a study of mythology and introduces students to all the major genres of literature; during the year, students build skills related to the interpretation and analysis of such works. The literary works also provide the foundation for the development of writing skills. Grammar and vocabulary study are also included.

Accelerated & CP - Courses #212 & 213, Full Year, 1 Credit, Freshmen

Using anthologies and several novels, these survey courses focus on an introduction to literary genres; during their study, students learn the effective reading strategies for each genre and lay the foundation for the analytical skills that will be furthered in future courses. In addition, students will study mythology, master the fundamentals of grammar, and develop skills in expository writing.


World Literature

Honors - Course #221 Full Year, 1 Credit, Sophomores

Presented chronologically, this World Literature course focuses on major authors and literary periods, as well as recurrent themes and values. In terms of writing, Honors World Literature develops skills in paraphrasing, introduces the critical essay and builds extensively on the writing and grammar skills developed in the freshman year.

Accelerated & CP - Courses #226 & 227, Full Year, 1 Credit, Sophomores

Using a World Literature anthology and several other selected works to expose students to the diversity of literature across cultures and continents, the sophomore literature curriculum focuses on the critical analysis and interpretation of many literary genres. Building on the foundation established in the freshman year, the sophomores continue studying grammar and vocabulary, as well as advance their critical thinking, speaking and writing skills. Students develop facility with different sentence structures and patterns, refine paragraphing skills, and write longer essays.


American Literature

Honors - Course #235, Full Year, 1 Credit, Juniors

Presented chronologically, this American Literature course focuses on major authors and literary periods, as well as recurrent themes and values. Through the use of full texts, the fast-paced course hones students’ skills in close reading and fosters class discussion. Honors American Literature refines students’ understanding of the critical essay and builds on the writing and grammar skills developed in the freshmen and sophomore years.

Accelerated & CP - Courses #232 & 233, Full Year, 1 Credit, Juniors

Taken concurrently with the student’s study of American History, these courses focus on the recurrent themes and values expressed in American literary works, using both an anthology and several supplementary works. Students will demonstrate critical and analytical skills both orally and in writing, and a major research paper is a significant part of the second semester’s work. Advanced grammar and vocabulary study continues.



AP English Language & Composition

Course #238, Full year, 1 Credit, Juniors

This course provides an intensive study of selected authors, periods and themes in American Literature. The course continues the development of critical thinking and writing skills, including interpretation and evaluation. Library research skills are developed and used in writing a research paper. Higher level grammar and vocabulary study continues. Because this course prepares students for the AP English Language and Composition Exam, it includes a more intensive writing component. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Course #221 & approval by the Department Chairperson and Academic Dean.

British Literature

Honors - Course #240, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors

Using several full-text works, this course provides an intensive study of selected authors, periods and themes in British Literature. The course emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills, especially as they relate to interpretation and evaluation, and includes an intensive writing and research component. This class currently earns 4 credits through the Early College Experience program at the University of Connecticut.

Accelerated & CP - Course #242 & 247, Full Year, 1 Credit, Seniors

Using a British Literature anthology and several other works, this course explores the values, ideas and recurring themes in British culture. Work on critical reading and writing skills continues and is demonstrated in a variety of oral and written assignments, including a major research paper.


SAT Prep

Course #0301, Semester Course, .5 Credit, Juniors

SAT Review is a one-semester course that provides juniors with the opportunity to prepare intensively for both the verbal and math sections of the SAT. In the course, students are introduced to the content of the test, learn fundamental test-taking strategies and are provided with ample opportunity to implement these strategies by taking practice tests.

The English portion of the SAT addresses sentence completion strategies, approaches to the reading passages, a review of basic grammar addressed on the test, and the components of the timed essay. Each unit of study includes instruction on the given topic, followed by guided practice and, finally, individual completion of practice tests.

Accelerated Speech

Course #246, Semester Course, .5 Credit, Seniors

This semester course focuses on the theory and practice of effective speech communication. Students will learn effective methods of communicating on three interpersonal levels: one-on-one, within groups, and in a public situation. In addition to learning the theories behind the methods, students will practice and critique their speech-writing and oratorical skills using role play and by delivering informative and persuasive speeches.

CP Survey of Film

Course #2043, Semester Course, .5 Credit, Seniors

In Film Survey, students will study American and International cinema, drawing from both classic and contemporary films. Class discussion and student assessments will address film techniques, writing and plot development, and visual styles across multiple genres.

Accelerated News Writing and Reporting

Course #2440, Semester Course, .5 Credit, Juniors & Seniors

News Writing and Reporting provides students with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of information gathering and journalistic writing. During the course, students will learn to identify newsworthy events, gather facts from a variety of sources, conduct productive interviews, compose a variety of article types, develop editing skills, meet deadlines, and articulate the laws pertaining to freedom of information and ethics in reporting. Student work will be published in the school newsletter, The Kestrel.

AP English Literature and Composition

Course #248, Full year, 1 Credit, Seniors

In this course, students sharpen their analytical and critical skills by studying selected major authors in world literature. In addition to deepening their understanding, students will receive much instruction and practice in the written explication of many and varied novels, poems, plays, short stories and non-fiction prose pieces, as the course prepares students for the AP English Literature and Composition Exam. The class also participates in the Humanities Seminar offered by Wesleyan University. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Course #235 or 238 & approval by the Department Chairperson and Academic Dean.

CP Study Skills

Courses #219 & 229, Full Year, 1 Credit, Freshmen & Sophomores

The Study Skills course is designed to teach students how to learn through direct instruction of study skills and strategies. These skills and strategies will be applied to the students’ current classes. Students will become organized learners who have positive study habits. They will develop note-taking, test-taking, reading, writing, and research skills. The class is intended to prepare students for academic success in future coursework.

English Department Faculty

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Amanda Duffey

Amanda Duffey

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Charles Flowers

Charles Flowers

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Michele Gerardi

Michele Gerardi

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Aaron King

Aaron King

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Kathy Lee

Kathy Lee

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John McGrath

John McGrath

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