Academics

English

William_Shakespeare_1609The English curriculum is the foundation of every program in a modern high school. The concepts of communication, research, and original thought fostered by an exceptional English program will pay dividends in each subject across the curriculum. Students will begin their study of composition, vocabulary, literature, and interpretive reading in their first year at Pope John Paul II High School and will continue their education in all of those areas until they graduate.

An understanding of the need for conceptualization, articulation, and sharing will become part of the student’s ultimate responsibility to become a citizen of the world able to assist others from an enlightened perspective. Reading assignments will be selected for their relevance and applicability to current cultural themes and will include selections from the classics of world literature as well as from exceptional American and British literature selections. Multi-cultural concerns will be emphasized at each grade level. Composition assignments will be generated by the literature as well as by student interests and experiences and will be designed to challenge the students to enhance the most difficult of skills, the ability to transmit onto the printed page the ideas that the mind generates in a manner that pleases the writer and excites the reader.

Students will be prepared in composition and literature to excel at the college or university of their choosing. Assignments will always be developed to include the maturity in comprehension and approach, which is required to be successful in higher education. Electives will offer students an opportunity to specialize in certain areas in which their interest has been piqued. The overall purpose of the English curriculum is to encourage in students a life-long interest and proficiency in the communication skills which mark the educated citizen of the world. Advanced Placement courses will be available to qualified junior and senior students who desire the more intensive class work and the extra preparation required for the Advanced Placement national test.

The English curriculum requires the completion of four credits for graduation, one each year. Electives will be granted full credit and may include Creative Writing and Yearbook Journalism.

 

CORE CURRICULUM

ENGLISH 9

Students will read literary selections from their world literature text and from other sources as they prepare themselves to be life-long readers. Selected novels will be required reading each semester, such as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Vocabulary studies will focus on etymology and Latin and Greek influences, and additional vocabulary will be learned from mythological, biblical, and classical sources. Multi-cultural emphasis will include works from both eastern and western civilizations. Memory work chosen from appropriate short selections will be included. Composition assignments will be generated from student reading. Research skills are taught, and student projects are important aspects of this class in order to expand students’ understanding of the material learned. Appropriate films will be selected to enhance the study of certain literary works. The Iliad and Romeo and Juliet will be two of the major units studied during the year.

 

ENGLISH 9 ADV

Students will read literary selections from their world literature text, novels, and works from other sources while doing an intense study of how literature is developed in every culture.  This class will require students to think analytically about the underlying messages given in literary works, forcing them to contemplate an author’s or poet’s purpose and the cultural lessons the works present. Students will also study vocabulary, with a focus on etymology and Latin and Greek influences. Additional vocabulary from mythological, biblical, and classical sources will be included. Memory work chosen from appropriate short selections will be included as well. Composition assignments will be generated from student readings that will focus on making connections to ancient cultures’ development of literature and how they relate to the modern world. Research and student projects are also important aspects of the Advanced English class; these types of assignments are given during each unit in order to enhance student’s understanding of the material learned, forcing them to make further connections independently. Appropriate films will be selected to enhance the study of certain literary works.  The Iliad and Romeo and Juliet will be two of the major units studied during the year—students in advanced classes will do an investigation into these classics.  The focus of the investigation will be less on the “plot” of these ancient and Shakespearean classics and more on the didactic lessons and educational passages within them.

 

ENGLISH 10

This course covers a variety of types and periods in literature and makes use of both a textbook and several individual novels. Works from several genres are surveyed, such as epic, novel, lyric poetry, drama, short stories, and non-fiction. Although the works studied vary widely, the overall emphasis in theme and characterization is on choices and consequences. Students will begin the year with a sampling of Arthurian literature, followed by Sophocles’ Antigone and then the American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, all during first semester. Two Shakespeare plays, Julius Caesar and Henry V, are studied during second semester, along with Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Students will read and study shorter works that connect in varying ways to the major literature being studied at the time. Vocabulary and writing are developed from the literature studied. Grammar and reading comprehension skills are practiced throughout the year while building analytical and higher-level thinking skills for the junior and senior years. A quarterly independent project will be assigned as well.

 

ENGLISH 10 ADV

All of the material earmarked for the English 10 level is covered, but at the advanced level students are expected to be both more independent and more analytical in their thinking and writing. Supplementary reading materials and assignments are given with more independent work and an increased expectation for in-depth analysis in student writing. In other words, demands on students are deeper and broader, with a corresponding amount of independent work assigned. An additional novel will be added to the advanced sophomore curriculum as well.  Many of the students at the advanced level in the sophomore year will be encouraged to consider AP level work in their junior and senior years.

 

ENGLISH 10 ES ADV

Co-Requisite: Open to sophomores in Advanced Placement European History

This course will correlate with the Advanced Placement European History curriculum to ensure that students are studying selections which are related to the historical periods of their study. The course will begin with pre-Renaissance artists like Dante and Chaucer, and will continue through the Renaissance, the Seventeenth Century Cavalier and Puritan works, the Age of Reason, the Age of Revolution, the Age of Romanticism, the Age of Realism, Russian literature, and World War I poets and writers through T. S. Eliot. Composition assignments will mirror AP expectations, but grading will reflect advanced standards. Students who excel in this class will be directed to apply for AP English 11 during the next year.

 

ENGLISH 11

Students will become expert on the scope of American Literature.  Selected films to enhance literary selections will be included.  Outside reading assignments will be designed to be incorporated into the students’ knowledge of the distinct literary movements.  Literary selections will be designed to reflect American cultural diversity and to familiarize students with different modes of writing.  Poetry, essays, satire, short stories, novels, and plays will be covered.  Vocabulary studies will be designed to complement the literary selections from the text, and the outside reading assignments as well as to boost students’ verbal skills for the ACT and SAT tests.  More focus on basic writing skills and grammar will be undertaken at the college-prep level than at the advanced level.  Essay writing will include the study of MLA formatting, literary analysis, and persuasive writing; however, more attention will be given to basic paper writing techniques.  Novels may include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby

 

ENGLISH 11 ADV

Students will become expert on the scope of American Literature.  Selected films to enhance literary selections will be included.  Outside reading assignments will be designed to be incorporated into the students’ knowledge of the distinct literary movements.  Literary selections will be designed to reflect American cultural diversity and to familiarize students with different modes of writing.  Poetry, essays, satire, short stories, novels, and plays will be covered.  Vocabulary studies will be designed to complement the literary selections from the text, and the outside reading assignments as well as to boost students’ verbal skills for the ACT and SAT tests.  The focus for the advanced class will be on advanced writing skills, MLA formatting and documentation, and constructing literary analysis through writing. Novels may include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby.

 

ENGLISH 11 AP

Prerequisite: Approval by the English faculty and completion of the application criteria.

Advanced Placement (AP) substitutes for the core English program. This is a two-year program designed to prepare the student for the Advanced Placement national examinations taken in May of the junior and senior years. Emphasis is placed on a rigorous critical analysis of classical, English, and American literature and on the composition skills requisite for such an examination. Class discussions will not be as much about teacher input as they will be about directed student input. Original thought and analysis are encouraged.

An AP course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes.  Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing. Students will also study the traditional junior level curriculum of American literature with an emphasis on literary movements.

 

ENGLISH 12

Students will focus on a chronological study of English literature throughout the year. Cultural traditions and expectations will be included. The effects of the codes of war and peace on later generations because of cultural heritage will be studied. Vocabulary studies will focus on the history of the English language from Saxon runes through the works of Shakespeare and Milton. Multi-cultural studies will emphasize the works from the British Empire in the Victorian Period. Outside reading assignments will be selected from English poets and authors.  College-level composition standards will be an integral part of all written work.

 

ENGLISH 12 ADV

Students will focus on a chronological study of English literature throughout the year. Cultural traditions and expectations will be included. The effects of the codes of war and peace on later generations because of cultural heritage will be studied. Vocabulary studies will focus on the history of the English language from Saxon runes through the works of Shakespeare and Milton. Multi-cultural studies will emphasize the works from the British Empire in the Victorian Period. Outside reading assignments will be selected from English poets and authors.   College-level composition principles will be established and practiced in all essay assignments.  Advanced students will move faster in the textbook, have more discussions in the classroom, and do additional projects related to the curriculum.

 

ENGLISH 12 AP Literature and Composition 

Prerequisite: Approval by the English faculty and completion of the application criteria.

Advanced Placement (AP) substitutes for the core English program. This is a two-year program designed to prepare the student for the Advanced Placement national examinations taken in May of the junior and senior years. Emphasis is placed on a rigorous critical analysis of classical, English, and American literature and on the composition skills requisite for such an examination. Class discussions will not be as much about teacher input as they will be about directed student input. Original thought and analysis are encouraged.

 

The AP course in English Literature and Composition should engage students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature.  Through the close reading of selected texts, students should deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers.  As they read, students should consider a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as smaller elements such as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone.

 

LEARNING AND LANGUAGE

The language component of this English elective will provide a basis for the understanding of grammar and its usefulness in the study of English and foreign languages. Concentrated study of the parts of speech and the parts of a sentence will be incorporated with usage problems that make English the difficult language that it is. Subject-verb agreement, pronoun- antecedent agreement, case, spelling, and verb tenses will be included. Basic diagramming will be included to assist the students in studying phrases and independent and subordinate clauses. The students will use a handbook that includes exercises and explanations that will allow for practice and mastery of the areas under consideration.

 

ELECTIVE COURSES

CREATIVE WRITING

(Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors)

This course will allow the students to develop their own creative works while studying the creative writing efforts of famous novelists, short story writers, dramatists, and poets.  Student work will be focused on studying different writing techniques and then writing poetry, short stories, developing a partial screenplay, and composing collaborative work all within the various genres.  At the end of the course, as part of the final exam, students will produce a class literary magazine showcasing their work done throughout the year.  The majority of the assessment will be done through writing exercises composed in class and creative writing homework.

 

YEARBOOK JOURNALISM

(Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors)

This course is a production lab, which introduces students to the rationale of a yearbook, staff organization, photography, layout and design, and copy writing. It also enhances students’ skills in using desktop publishing software from Jostens Scholastic Programs and promotes an atmosphere of teambuilding and self-discipline.

 

NEWSPAPER JOURNALISM

(Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors)

The JPII newspaper journalism course will offer an overview of the multi-faceted skills and standards that affect how journalists, bloggers, and other writers perform their jobs in the 21st century. In addition to learning about blogging, podcasting, and video editing, combined with writing news stories, reviews, and editorials, students will also collaborate on projects to address local and global issues and to share potential solutions. The journalism class will provide written, video, and audio content for The Herald on the Hill web site. While the majority of the work for the course will take place during class, there may be times where students will need to work outside of class to complete interviews or stories.

 

SENIOR STUDIES

The study period is designed for seniors at JPII. The class, a no- credit elective, will allow students the opportunity to study their rigorous curriculum in more depth, form cooperative learning study groups and devote appropriate time to preparation for their courses.  A rising senior wishing to take Senior Studies must meet at least one of the following criteria in their senior schedule: 

  • be enrolled in 3 or more AP classes
  • be enrolled in a 4th year of Science
  • be enrolled in an Advanced or AP level Fine Art
  • be enrolled in a 4th consecutive year of Foreign Language.