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Mercy’s English department showcases and empowers diverse perspectives. A foundational shared goal of each class is to teach every student to develop and use her voice, and articulate her ideas clearly and persuasively. Classes seek to inspire a love of literature and storytelling, as well as an appreciation for complexity and detail. 

Instruction and lessons are skills-based; where information is not directly provided and students are encouraged to discover the answers to their own questions. Inter-departmental alignment ensures that each English class builds off the foundation of the previous year’s curriculum and skills. 

Department Philosophy 

In support of the Mercy Mission Statement, the Mercy Burlingame English Department’s goal is to: 

  • inspire an appreciation of the rich history of the English language through the survey and analysis of a range of texts in order to foster creative and critical writing.
  • equip our students to read and write creatively and critically in a world of diverse cultural and literary traditions.
  • foster digital literacy in a changing society that requires adept information retrieval, research and communication.
  • promote the empowerment of women and multiculturalism (to stand in solidarity with diverse groups, especially women and children ) while fostering an understanding of cultural, ethical, cultural aesthetic, linguistic forces that shape our lives.
  • encourage independent thought, curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
  • teach students how to gather, analyze and communicate information effectively and appropriately in writing and speaking.

Department Objectives 

Mercy graduates will be able to: 


  • Produce clear and coherent pieces of informative, argumentative, analytical, and narrative writing that would apply beyond the walls of the classroom.
  • Develop and strengthen their writing through the process of planning, revising, editing, and rewriting.
  • Use the Internet responsibly for research, scholarship and the development of communication.
  • Produce a compelling and captivating voice in writing that demands to be read.
  • Synthesize a variety of themes between text and genres  


  • Analyze the author’s literary and rhetorical strategies in fiction and nonfiction writing.
  • Determine the universal (central) ideas, literal and figurative meaning, and particular point of view of the author in literary and informational texts.
  • Evaluate the author’s reasoning in arguments.
  • Appreciate the classics and recognize the relevance beyond the cover





  • Initiate and participate in a range of collaborative discussions.
  • Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning.
  • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
  • Gain the confidence to join and further the conversation.
  • Listen to learn as oppose to waiting for their turn to speak.


  • Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
  • Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.

Meet Our English Department Chair
Alexandra Estrada is the English department chair and teaches World Literature. She moderates Mercy’s National English Honors Society chapter and its literary magazine, Mercy’s OutLIT. Ms. Estrada loves helping her students build critical thinking skills and encourages them to make connections between their course material and the world they experience. She is inspired by her students who teach her something new everyday.

Ms. Estrada is proud to be an East Coast transplant. Originally from New York, she started her teaching career in Brooklyn and has taught in Vietnam. When she’s not in the classroom, Ms. Estrada enjoys traveling, hiking, running, baking, and, of course, reading!

Ms. Estrada holds a BA in English and rhetoric, cum laude, with highest departmental honors from Bates College; an MA in Teaching English from Brooklyn College; and a California teaching credential in English. She is a recipient of Columbia University’s Humphreys Fellowship for education.

Classes Offered

English Department Goals

Video: English 2 Class (2020-2021 Shadow Day)

View the English Department overview presentation (2018-2019 Open House).

Student Literary Magazine