Gwynedd Mercy Academy instructs students in a comprehensive, developmental composition curriculum. Based on the principles of correct grammar and usage skills, as well as continuing advancement in vocabulary, the program encourages students to write in a clear, effective, and meaningful manner. Research is an integral part of writing; each year, therefore, students expand their understanding of how to use current research tools including electronic resources such as contemporary library catalogues, Internet sites, and relevant computer software.
The English Department realizes that reading supports and enhances vocabulary and writing skills. Summer reading, therefore, is an integral part of the curriculum for all four years.
Prerequisites for the entire Department:
To remain in an Honors English class, students must maintain an 88 average.
To enter an Honors English class from a College Prep class, students must earn a 93 average.
To go from an Honors English class to an AP class, students must maintain a 94.
To go from a College Prep class to an AP class, students must maintain a 95 average.
To remain on the AP level, students must maintain an 90.
- English 9 - The Study of Literary Genres and Effective Writing
- Honors English 9 - The Study of Literary Genres and Effective Writing
- English 10 - American Literature from 1820-1920
- Honors English 10 - American Literature from 1820-1920
- English 11 - Literature of England, Ireland and Scotland
- Honors English 11 - British Literature : 7 Types of Plot
- English 12 - World Literature
- Honors English 12 - Women and Literature
- AP Language and Composition
- AP Literature and Composition
- Communications/Broadcast Journalism and Engineering
- Public Speaking
- Catherine’s Dublin and Irish Renaissance Literature
Fundamental writing skills are developed through the reinforcement of grammar and mechanics, and the introduction of a well-rounded vocabulary. The study of literature is comprised of short stories, poetry, contemporary and classic novels, and drama. Scholarly focus includes the recognition of literary terminology and devices; critical reading and analysis; research techniques, including an introduction to MLA formatting; and the examination of historical, cultural, and social contexts relevant to all readings.
Prerequisites: Student must demonstrate a high proficiency in the verbal, language, and reading sections of the Gwynedd Mercy Academy Entrance Exam to be offered placement.
A challenging and expansive approach to writing skills requires a thorough understanding of grammar usage fundamentals and an aggressively developed vocabulary. An expansive study of literature is comprised of short stories, poetry, contemporary and classic novels; independent reading preparation and presentation; drama; and the utilization of literary and research techniques. Students will be encouraged to stretch their critical and analytical abilities examining the historical, cultural, and social contexts in connection to all readings. Research papers will be written in MLA style. The ability to express oneself orally, and to work both independently and in small groups, are essential elements of the course.
This American Literature survey explores our literary history from Early National writers to early Modern authors in a somewhat chronological fashion. This course focuses on the correlation of literature to the historical / cultural perspectives of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to the analysis of content and style, this course also presents the major literary terms and techniques developed by selected writers. However, essay writing, both expository and persuasive, is a major objective in this course. Traditional grammar concepts as applied to formal writing are a dominant part of the curriculum. A strong vocabulary base in also included in preparation for future national testing.
Grade 10 Elective
Prerequisite: Departmental approval
This American Literature survey traces our nation’s literary heritage from the early National literature authors through the New England Renaissance writers to the early Modern writers of the 20th century. The course takes shape chronologically, focusing on the correlation of literature to the historical / cultural perspectives of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to the analysis of content and style, this course also presents the major literary terms and techniques developed by selected writers. Additionally specific writing skills, grammar and usage skills, and vocabulary are incorporated throughout the year to augment the preparation for the PSAT and SAT.
This is a full-year course that focuses on the tradition of English literature through a closer look at the major contributions of writing from three English-speaking countries: England, Ireland, and Scotland. The course will consider poets, novelists, playwrights, and essayists from various literary and regional backgrounds. Overall, students will come away with a rich understanding of the major periods of British literature and the writers who played integral parts in shaping those periods. Students will be expected to give one major presentation and submit a major research project.
Honors English 11 is a full-year course designed to give students a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of poetry, drama, and discursive prose. The course centers on the literary architects of England who have crafted the “types” of plot that have shaped and defined the British literary tradition for centuries. Students who enroll in the course will meet a rigorous course load that aims to strengthen their critical reading skills while refining their technical writing abilities. Secondary readings will accompany most primary readings, and students will be expected to give one major presentation as well as submit a major research project.
This course, entitled World Literature, is designed to expose students to different structures of literature, poetry, drama, and essays that span the ages as well as geographical and cultural boundaries. Due to its broad scope, the senior curriculum surveys several excerpts in order to provide students with a comprehensive overview of world literature, which will undoubtedly be referenced in future college courses. In addition, some works are studied extensively, providing students the necessary opportunities to gain confidence in analysis and academic reflection, both orally and in writing. Assuring that seniors have a well-rounded literary arsenal, reading works from the accepted cannon along with other noteworthy current titles, is a top priority. Consideration of works from around the globe help bolster students’ understanding of themselves and the world they inhabit. Additionally, students will be required to share their personal responses to the readings, both orally and in writing; accordingly, annotation of texts, formal essay writing, and class participation/presentations will be skills incorporated into the classroom as assessments.
Prerequisites: Senior status and department approval.
The senior honors course, Women and Literature, introduces representative works by and about women from around the world through historical, social, philosophical, religious literary and cultural perspectives. Students will learn how gender roles have developed and changed, and consequently, how women's views of themselves and society’s views of women are reflected in chosen readings. Students will read different literary forms, including: novels, short stories, drama, poetry, criticisms and other essays from various countries, cultures, and time periods to gain insight into the role of women in literature. Close attention will be given to analysis of diction, symbolism, themes, and motifs to help increase understanding and appreciation of the works. Additionally, students will be required to share their personal responses to the readings, both orally and in writing; accordingly, annotation of texts, formal essay writing, analysis of literary criticism, and class participation/presentations will be indispensable skills to master.
AP Language and Composition is a full-year course open to Juniors who have demonstrated remarkable skill in the study of discursive prose, close reading, and rhetorical analysis. The purpose of the course is to examine two specific areas of written discourse: argumentation and rhetoric. Students enrolled in this course will experience a demanding curriculum that emphasizes quality writing and the value of effective communication. As students learn the nuances of the writer’s craft, they naturally discover their own unique voices in their writing, thus generating a genuine relationship between the writer and her writing. Students will read a variety of non-fiction texts that bear significance within their own social and cultural contexts. At the end of the course, students take a nation-wide AP Exam.
AP Literature and Composition is a full-year course open to Seniors who have demonstrated remarkable skill in the study of discursive prose, close reading, and rhetorical analysis. The purpose of this course is to develop a deep understanding of the English language and to strengthen skills in reading analytically and critically while writing clearly and effectively. Students will concentrate on reading and analyzing discursive prose, poetry, and drama as well as writing critical essays. The goal of the course is divided into two components: (1) read complex texts with a greater understanding of their literary values; and (2) respond to their reading with sufficient richness and complexity of language that ultimately communicates their ideas in an effective manner. Students enrolled in this course will experience a demanding curriculum that emphasizes writing and the importance of effective communication. At the end of the course, students take a nation-wide AP Exam.
Elective Grades 10/ 11/ 12
This elective is an interactive, hands-on course involving public speaking, journalistic writing, listening skills, critical thinking applications, and technology as applied to communication. Media's origins, impact, and terminology will be examined. Students will develop and strengthen their communication skills and become more confident communicators and speakers.
Broadcast Journalism and Engineering
1 Semester: Level 3
Broadcast Journalism and Engineering is a one-semester class running in conjunction with Communications. This new course offers hands-on studio and field experience for girls interested in video production, journalism, and live television and sound engineering. Students will join the GMA-TV News team to prepare and produce daily broadcasts and feature stories by engaging in the full creative process. Members of Broadcast Journalism and Engineering will use industry-standard equipment and software resulting in college level technical skills upon completion of the course. This class will provide students the opportunity to try each position, from reporter to technician to anchor. Students will create a body of work that contributes to personal and school excellence.
Do you have anxiety when you have to speak or present in class? In this course students will practice the speaking, listening, and interpersonal skills necessary to become effective communicators in academic settings. This class will provide instruction and techniques in public speaking; and, as a result, students will feel comfortable and at ease delivering speeches, creating presentations, and participating in group discussions. Students will acquire a lifelong skill that will benefit them throughout their school years and beyond.
Elective, Grades 11, 12
Catherine’s Dublin (Semester 1)
In this first-semester History course, students will examine 18th and 19th century Ireland through major social, cultural, political, and theological movements of the time. The course will specifically focus on the contemporary constructs of gender, social status and politics, that shaped the society in which Catherine established the Sisters of Mercy. In addition to tests, short research and writing assignments, students will be expected to give one major presentation and submit a capstone project at the conclusion of the Irish Renaissance Literature course.
Irish Renaissance Literature (Semester 2)
In this second-semester English course, students will learn about the Irish Renaissance (a.k.a., Celtic Renaissance) and the writers – both fiction writers and non-fiction writers – who were instrumental in developing and establishing an Irish national literature. Students will read a wide range of print texts from drama and poetry to essays and political tracts. In addition to tests and short writing assignments, students will be expected to give one major presentation and submit a capstone project.