English Courses & Faculty


Below are descriptions of the English courses offered at Elmwood Park High School. To see a listing of our English faculty, use this link for quick access:

Learn more about our program by visiting English at EPHS.


Courses


ENGLISH I — REGULAR* AND HONORS

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

9

None

In English I, students will develop a common understanding of key literary elements and forms, as well as a common vocabulary for discussing them. In alignment with Common Core Standards, significant concepts will be targeted with the reading and thorough analysis of each individual text. The student is introduced to the technique of interpreting literature with special emphasis on reading strategies and skills, such as inference and main idea. In-depth study of recurrent themes will also be an integral part of the course. Students will be exposed to independent reading expectations and writing requirements. An accelerated sequential writing program is also included with emphasis on well-constructed multi-paragraph themes.

*English I Regular is offered using a co-taught model for students needing extra support.


ENGLISH II — REGULAR* AND HONORS

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

10

English I

The sophomore curriculum allows students to experience a variety of texts from several cultures and time periods. Each text provides a different cultural and literary experience. Students will gain a greater understanding of the historical framework of each piece. The literature and supplementary materials will provide each student with a multicultural perspective on worldly issues. In alignment with Common Core Standards, this course possesses a rigorous writing and reading focus while building speaking and listening skills. The course requires students to actively work with their peers while defining themselves as readers and writers.

*English II Regular is offered using a co-taught model for students needing extra support.


ENGLISH III — REGULAR*

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

11

English II

The third year of English explores major themes that pervade American life, both past and present. By reading and viewing literature of every genre and other forms of cultural expression in the United States, students understand their literary and cultural traditions, interrogate their own roles in the world and become more effective critics and builders of American culture. We will investigate enduring questions that persist throughout American literature.

*This course is offered using a co-taught model for students needing extra support.


AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

10, 11

English II Honors or
teacher recommendation

This is a college-level course with a purpose to enable students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. These skills will allow students to read critically and write effectively in different modes in the college classroom and beyond.

Students will become increasingly more aware of how language works through the study of nonfiction in all its varied forms — essays, biographies, visual texts, letters, speeches, journalism, etc. Students will analyze what the writers say along with how they say it.

The writing will be formal and informal; it will primarily be responses to your reading, both analyzing it and emulating it, as well as creating original arguments and supporting them through logical development and appropriate style. Students will learn how to synthesize research materials and use proper MLA style.

This course will also offer students the opportunity to read American fiction and drama such as Fitzgerald, Salinger and Miller. ACT test prep will also be incorporated into the class.

Additionally, an important goal of this course is to help to prepare for the AP English Language and Composition exam given in May. The course will teach students the expectations of the AP examiners and will provide many opportunities for practicing writing and reading in the exam format. All students enrolled in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition are required to take the Advanced Placement exam in May.


AMERICAN STUDIES — ENGLISH

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

11

English I, English II

American Studies is a two-credit class that consists of a one-credit English course (described here) and a one-credit history course (described in Social Studies Courses). The class combines the English III curriculum with the U.S. History curriculum. Students are team-taught over two consecutive periods by an English teacher and a social studies teacher with the idea of blending topics and reinforcing writing and reading skills that overlap in both classes. Topics emphasize the development of American culture, including political, economic and social history as well as American literature.


SENIOR SEMINAR*

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

12

English III

This course explores the universal theme of identity through various pieces of literature (nonfiction and fiction). In the first semester, students will reflect on their individual academic developments and explore plans for their post-secondary lives. Emphasis will be placed on real-world research and writing skills (college/career searches, college applications, personal statements, cover letters, and resume writing). In the second semester, students will be asked to critically examine how people build their identities and how they function in the world at large. Through the analysis of literature, they will apply a critical lens to contemporary problems. Skill development will include speaking for a variety of purposes and analyzing literature.

This course is offered using a co-taught model for students needing extra support.


AP ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

11, 12

AP English Language and 
Composition or teacher
recommendation

This college-level dual-credit course is the equivalent of the first year of college rhetoric. It is based on the idea that many high school students can successfully complete college English while still in high school. This course will prepare the student to take and pass the Advanced Placement test given in May; successful performance on this test will earn the student college credit.

This course includes extensive training in all modes of discourse, including exposition, narration, argumentation and literary analysis. In addition, the course includes extensive reading and analysis of demanding and challenging literary works such as "Frankenstein," "Death of a Salesman" and "Hamlet."

The underlying approach to the study of literature is textual rather than historical. The selections reflect a concern for depth rather than breadth. The student completing this course can expect to be a fluent, capable writer and a perceptive, critical reader. All students enrolled in AP English Literature and Composition are required to take the AP exam in May.


TRANSITIONAL ENGLISH

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

12

English III with a C or above

This course will focus on writing and reading as related skills by practicing reading comprehension and essay writing in the context of community, housing and equity. Students will develop critical thinking skills and the ability to write clear, focused, well-developed, organized essays using fiction and nonfiction sources, which discuss experiences focused on, for example, treatment of mental health, prisons and criminal justice, digital privacy and social justice.


COLLEGE COMPOSITION (DUAL CREDIT)

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

12

English I, II, III
and a 3.0 GPA

This honors course emphasizes logical, coherent writing skills for competency in any school or professional writing situation. Students will develop critical thinking skills and the ability to write clear, focused, developed, organized paragraphs and essays about both fiction and nonfiction sources. Dual credit (high school and college credit) may be available.


INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC SPEAKING

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

9, 10, 11, 12

None

Introduction to Public Speaking is designed to provide experience and training in public speaking so that students are equipped with the skills essential for success in the business and academic worlds of today and tomorrow. Students present various formats of speeches and are responsible for constructive feedback of their peers' speeches.


ADVANCED PUBLIC SPEAKING (HONORS)

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

10, 11, 12

Introduction to Public Speaking

Advanced Public Speaking has the student expand upon the speaking and listening skills learned in Introduction to Public Speaking. Students learn to tailor a message to suit a particular audience, enhance the message through technology, understand logic and reasoning, develop listening skills, identify propaganda techniques, and understand the physical producers of voice to control and vary tone, volume, pitch and rate. Students participate in workshop-oriented groups to develop the various skills listed above.


INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

9, 10, 11, 12

None

Creative Writing has the student look at various fiction pieces, in addition to writing their own creative products. The formats the student will read and write will include poetry and short stories.


ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING (HONORS)

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

10, 11, 12

Introduction to Creative Writing

This course will expand on the writing techniques and strategies explored in the Introduction to Creative Writing course. This course will rely heavily on the workshop model of revision and discussion of the creative texts that students write, which is an adapted version of the workshop model used in creative writing graduate school programs around the country. Students will produce a large volume of creative work and will critically read and provide thoughtful feedback on their peers' writing in various genres. Students will ultimately choose one genre to focus on for a longer, more polished product. Students will defend their creative writing product by writing an introduction to their own work and writing critically about their influences and techniques.


INTRODUCTION TO THEATER STUDIES

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

9, 10, 11, 12

None

Intro to Theater Studies is designed to give the student an appreciation of the world of theater and an opportunity to discover the artist we each hold within. In this course, students will study the wide range of knowledge demanded by theater and develop personally as they apply their newfound knowledge in classroom activities. This course enriches student's awareness, skills and self appreciation, enabling them to build a foundation for future arts development. Intro to Theater Studies provides for diverse learning styles and capabilities and allows students to experience the joy that comes from artistic communication.


ADVANCED THEATER STUDIES (HONORS)

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

10, 11, 12

Introduction to Theater Studies

Advanced Theater Studies will further develop skills and knowledge acquired in Introduction to Theater Studies. This intensive course focuses on character development, emotional and sensory recall, movement, articulation, diction and voice. Script selection and reading will be a major topic in this course.


INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISM

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

9, 10, 11, 12

None

The construct of this course will focus on the study of rhetoric in many different forms. Students will read a wide range of prose nonfiction and prose fiction in order to explore how reputable authors use linguistic patterns to persuade, inform, entertain and explore. The class is designed entirely around a project-based learning scenario in which students will create an original, authentic product that will be shared with the entire school district. The Tiger newspaper will be a student-led publication created and distributed using a wide range of technological resources. Much like a real-world working scenario, students will be asked to conduct research to develop their ideas, revise their products and adhere to deadlines.


ADVANCED JOURNALISM (HONORS)

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

10, 11, 12

Introduction to Journalism

This composition course will further develop skills and knowledge acquired in Introduction to Journalism and is designed to lead students to a critical understanding of the media that surround us. The course focuses on the analysis of three major media industries — advertising, news and entertainment — and the print and nonprint messages created by these industries. Students will be required to write weekly response papers, read college-level texts, view a variety of forms of media, participate in class discussions and complete analytical projects.


FILM AND MEDIA STUDIES

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

10, 11, 12

English I

Students explore film and media by analyzing these genres and interpreting the narrative and artistic decisions of writers and directors to better understand the art of providing information and storytelling and its purposes. Students gain a more sophisticated understanding of society and its cultural products by considering individual creativity and collaborative fabrication, culture and mass culture, and the verbal and the visual.


FANTASY & SCI FI

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

1.0 (two semesters)

11, 12

English I & II

This course will focus on literature in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, such as "The Hobbit." Students will explore the lore, world-building, and story elements authors use to explore themes about humanity. Through this course, students will be primarily exposed to short stories and novels; however, they will also explore other modes within the genres. The coursework will include both analysis and creative forms of writing, as well as extended projects and discussions.


LATINX & CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS

CREDIT

GRADE LEVEL

PREREQUISITE

0.5 (one semester)

11, 12

English I & II

Do you enjoy stories that reflect your everyday life? Stories that touch on the conflicts of bullying, relationships and the pulls on your identity? Specifically, do you find yourself sometimes living in two worlds — the private world of your friends and the public world of your parents and school? If these plotlines intrigue you, consider taking the Latinx Experience course, where the texts and conversations will be centered around contemporary Latino/a authors, poets, musicians and filmmakers and the layered complexities of living in the 21st century. One of the main novels used will be Erika Sanchez' "I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter." Additionally, the class will include memoir writing, class discussions and short presentations of family traditions, original work and historical events related to the themes of ethnicity, identity, and external and internal influences.


Faculty


Christina Heinen

Curriculum Leader & Teacher | English | EPHS

Kendal Ahlmann

Teacher | English | EPHS

Martin Blake

Teacher | English | EPHS

Karen Demas

Teacher | English | EPHS

Julie Fox

Teacher | English | EPHS

Andrea McCann

Teacher | English | EPHS

Kathryn Merkouris

Teacher | English | EPHS

Stephanie Moore

Teacher | English | EPHS

Tara Rosenzweig

Teacher | English | EPHS