Ursuline Academy’s Upper School English Department curriculum prepares you to read, think, discuss, and write critically in a world of continuously emerging and revolutionizing communications. With the help of your teachers and various resources, you graduate from our program with an advanced skill set that allows you to excel in literary and historical studies and communicate complex ideas to a variety of audiences with your writing and public speaking abilities.
Our literature-based curriculum uses American, British, and World literary novels, poetry, drama, short stories, and expository essays to illustrate classical and emerging writing techniques, exposing you to new historical and cultural concepts and expanding your critical thinking skills in both reading and writing. Our Creative Writing elective course allows you to branch out from our study of literary classics and introduces you to the Workshop method of writing composition, serving as a perfect complement to our Fine Arts offerings. With our teachers’ guidance, you form and refine arguments about the texts you read, develop the skills necessary to write clearly and persuasively, incorporate feedback and revise your writing, and use writing as a means of creative expression. Over the course of four years of study, you are well-prepared for the challenges of higher education and beyond.
As a freshman and sophomore, you strengthen your skills and confidence in written and oral communication through an in-depth study of literature across a variety of cultures and texts, including A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby. By the end of your sophomore year, you analyze, synthesize, and research all types of fiction and non-fiction, providing you classic structural models to formulate your own composition and research projects using proper MLA format. Your junior and senior year focus on developing your skills of close reading and composition through a variety of writing-intensive courses, preparing you for success in college-level English. Through a comprehensive study of Medieval, British, World, and women’s literature, you take an active role in learning about the historical, political, social, and personal motivations that inspire each work, which enriches your vocabulary and grammar skills, refreshes your research skills, and gives you an chance to apply rigorous critical reading and thinking skills to each project. You may also pursue year-long AP level courses (AP English Language and Composition or AP Literature) as a junior and senior with departmental approval.