Rigorous Academics


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 Goals:

  • Acknowledge powerful women with powerful voices
  • Develop curiosity and hunger for learning
  • Eliminate complacency
  • Develop the art of storytelling

Project Examples:

  • Multimedia presentation on what it means to be American - incorporating the students’ own stories into the American Creed
  • Using Thinglink app for artistic representation of a book theme - students link theme to current media and explain its relevance

Classes Offered

English I

English I is a genre course designed to familiarize students with the various major literary forms. The novel, short story, drama, mythology, and poetry are introduced and their elements studied. In addition, grammar and usage conventions are reviewed. Writing assignments focus on multi-paragraph compositions which are developed in response to the literature studied. Standardized test preparation, including reading comprehension and vocabulary development, is begun. Creative writing and enrichment
activities are also included.

English I Honors

English I Honors is designed for students who have demonstrated exceptional ability and interest in English. The course takes a humanities approach to the study of literary genres, including mythology, the novel, short stories, drama, and poetry. The course examines both the classics of Western Civilization and contemporary multicultural works. Written literary analysis is introduced with an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills. Standardized test preparation, including analogies, reading comprehension, and vocabulary development is begun. Creative writing and enrichment activities are included.

English II 

English II is a survey of world literature focusing on both classic and contemporary works. The course gives students the opportunity to experience many cultures through select pieces of fiction and nonfiction. Preparation for standardized testing, with an
emphasis on grammar, usage, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension, is continued from freshman year. Concentration on analytical writing skills helps students gain proficiency in writing the multi-paragraph essay.

English II Honors

English II Honors provides students of exceptional ability in English with the opportunity to study world literature with greater sophistication. This course will be conducted at an an accelerated rate, allowing for more in-depth exposure to authors not covered in the regular English II course. It provides more opportunities for instruction and practice in analytical writing. This course also includes extensive vocabulary and critical reading preparation for college entrance examinations and continued focus on the multi-paragraph essay.

English III

English III is an American literature course. Students read and study selected novels, dramas, essays, short stories, and poems from the Romantic to the Post-modern period. Focus is given to the themes that both characterize and reflect America’s values and the rich diversity of her people. Writing skills, applied to both expository and creative essays, are further developed, and the rules of grammar and usage are comprehensively reviewed.

AP English III Language & Composition

English III AP Language & Composition is an intellectually challenging course that combines the study of classic and contemporary American literature with multiple nonfiction readings, all of which focus on literary analysis and critical thinking skills. Emphasis is given to expository writing in order to prepare students for the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Examination. To that end, students analyze and write argumentative, rhetorical analysis, and synthesis essays throughout the year. Attention is also given to expanding vocabulary, improving test taking skills and mastering the rules of standard written English.

English IV

English IV provides a rigorous review of all writing styles including career/business writing, important grammar practices, as well as literary analysis with a base in British literature. Thematically related nonfiction essays focused on contemporary issues serve as development of more advanced writing and reading skills are integrated into the curriculum.

AP English IV Literature & Composition

AP English IV Literature & Composition is designed for seniors who have demonstrated superior ability in English. The course focuses on in-depth discussion and composition related to the survey of major authors and literary movements from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present. Emphasis is given to collateral reading of scholarly literary criticism and preparation for the Advanced Placement Examination in English Literature and Composition. This course is certified by the University of California as an honors course.

View the English Department overview presentation from Fall 2018 Open House!

Student Literary Magazine