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English

Believing that literature is one of the most profound expressions of the human experience, Pacifica’s English Department introduces students to literature from a variety of historical and artistic traditions. This approach gives students a sense of the diversity of the human experience and of their own place in the world. Students learn of the impact upon culture made by people of faith throughout history. This close work with literature can give students special insight into the shared resource that is our language and can make them more confident about their ability to express themselves and to evaluate the written expression of others. Moreover, this close work gives students the practice in critical reading and writing that prepares them for college and beyond.

We believe students must develop strong reading and writing skills.  Pacifica reinforces these skills by introducing students to increasingly sophisticated forms of writing in the works they read and by requiring progressively more advanced writing in the students’ own works. This flows from our conviction that expression through language is fundamental to young adults’ development. Our curriculum, therefore, first introduces students to the joys of reading and writing. Then it invites them to both develop their own voices and to better appreciate other’s voices, by refining their reading and writing skills.


English Courses

Graduation Requirement: 4 Years

Ancient Literature and Composition

Grade 9 (Year Course)

In this course, students will read Ancient Literature and focus on the literary contributions of the Greeks and Romans. Along the way, students will explore questions of composition, theme, genre, culture, history, philosophy, and theology. While writing of many modes will be a regular activity in this course, the students will begin to cultivate mastery of the formal analysis essay, using specific textual evidence to construct and communicate creative and compelling arguments. MLA format will be reviewed and is required for all written work. Students will develop their vocabularies in general, but will also favor terminology (ancient and modern) that is specific to those categories pertaining to linguistic and literary study. This course coordinates with the 9th Grade Humanities course in order to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion. The class structure will privilege Socratic discussion, but faculty lectures and student presentations will also appear with regularity. As such, punctuality, preparation, and participation are requisites for the fullest experience of this course.

Honors Ancient Literature and Composition

Grade 9 (Year Course)
Prerequisite: 8th grade English with a B or better and an 8th grade overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.

In this course, students will read Ancient Literature and focus on the literary contributions of the Greeks and Romans. Along the way, students will explore questions of composition, theme, genre, culture, history, philosophy, and theology. While writing of many modes will be a regular activity in this course, the students will begin to cultivate mastery of the formal analysis essay, using specific textual evidence to construct and communicate creative and compelling arguments. MLA format will be reviewed and is required for all written work. Students will develop their vocabularies in general, but will also favor terminology (ancient and modern) that is specific to those categories pertaining to linguistic and literary study. This course coordinates with the 9th Grade Humanities course in order to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion. The class structure will privilege Socratic discussion, but faculty lectures and student presentations will also appear with regularity. As such, punctuality, preparation, and participation are requisites for the fullest experience of this course. Honors students should expect to conduct guided contextual research, presentations of their findings, and integration of their secondary reading into their written assignments. Honors students are expected to cultivate greater depth in their understandings of the texts and the skills of advanced literary study in preparation for Honors and AP work in the future.

World Literature and Intermediate Composition

Grade 10 (Year Course)

This course primarily highlights French, Italian, and German literature produced during the High Middle Ages through the Renaissance. Students will focus their study on works within several literary movements that predominated during those periods, and paying special attention to comparative literary movements in different cultures. In doing so, students will cultivate a sense for the development of relevant literary techniques, genres, themes, and philosophies. Students will also continue to cultivate their ability to produce creative and compelling formal, analytic essays focusing on the ideas of course texts. Students will increase their mastery of vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical skills. This course coordinates with the 10th Grade Humanities course in order to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion. The class structure will privilege Socratic discussion, but faculty lectures and student presentations will also appear with regularity. As such, punctuality, preparation, and participation are requisites for the fullest experience of this course.

Honors World Literature and Intermediate Composition

Grade 10 (Year Course)
Prerequisite: 9th grade regular English with an A or 9th grade Honors English with a B or better.

This course primarily highlights French, Italian, and German literature produced during the High Middle Ages through the Renaissance. Students will focus their study on works within several literary movements that predominated during those periods, and paying special attention to comparative literary movements in different cultures. In doing so, students will cultivate a sense for the development of relevant literary techniques, genres, themes, and philosophies. Students will also continue to cultivate their ability to produce creative and compelling formal, analytic essays focusing on the ideas of course texts. Students will increase their mastery of vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical skills. This course coordinates with the 10th Grade Humanities course in order to provide opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion. The class structure will privilege Socratic discussion, but faculty lectures and student presentations will also appear with regularity. As such, punctuality, preparation, and participation are requisites for the fullest experience of this course. Honors students should expect to conduct guided contextual research, presentations of their findings, and integration of their secondary reading into their written assignments. Honors students are expected to cultivate greater depth in their understandings of the texts and the skills of advanced literary study in preparation for AP work in the future. Furthermore, students who are taking this course for dual credit will be assessed as though they were taking an introductory college course in the subject, and are expected to conduct their studies with this in mind.

British Literature and Advanced Composition

Grade 11 (Year Course)

This course highlights British Literature produced during the Anglo-Saxon period through the twentieth century. Students will focus their study on works within several literary movements that predominated during those years, paying special attention to the development of the English language and literary genres. In doing so, students will cultivate a sense for the development of relevant literary techniques, genres, themes, and philosophies. Moreover, students will also study the development of Christian theology and spirituality as it emerges in the British literary tradition, specifically noting the development of the English Bible, and the impact of the English Reformation on literary movements. Students will also continue to cultivate their ability to produce creative and compelling formal, analytic essays focusing on the ideas of course texts. Students will increase their mastery of vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical skills. The class structure will privilege Socratic discussion, but faculty lectures and student presentations will also appear with regularity. As such, punctuality, preparation, and participation are requisites for the fullest experience of this course.

Advanced Placement Literature and Composition

Grade 11 (Year Course)
Prerequisite: 10th grade regular English with an A or 10th grade Honors English with a B or better.

This AP level course will develop in students advanced degrees of reading and comprehending sophisticated literary techniques across a variety of genres and movements to the end of scoring highly on the AP English Literature and Composition examination. Beyond this end, though, this course privileges British Literature produced during the Anglo-Saxon period through the twentieth century. Students will focus their study on works within several literary movements that predominated during those years, paying special attention to the development of the English language and literary genres. In doing so, students will cultivate a sense for the development of relevant literary techniques, genres, themes, and philosophies. Moreover, students will also study the development of Christian theology and spirituality as it emerges in the British literary tradition, specifically noting the development of the English Bible, and the impact of the English Reformation on literary movements. Students will also continue to cultivate their ability to produce creative and compelling formal, analytic essays focusing on the ideas of course texts. Students will increase their mastery of vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical skills. The class structure will privilege Socratic discussion, but faculty lectures and student presentations will also appear with regularity. As such, punctuality, preparation, and participation are requisites for the fullest experience of this course. Honors students should expect to conduct guided contextual research, presentations of their findings, and integration of their secondary reading into their written assignments. As this is an AP course, students will be expected to dedicate the same rigor as would be expected in an introductory college course in literary studies, and they will be assessed as such.