Language Arts

Language Arts

Language Arts Department Philosophy

The Language Arts Department of Bishop Kelly is dedicated to helping students develop the skills necessary for lifelong learning. These skills include reading, writing, and verbal expression. Critical thinking skills are developed through the analysis of literary techniques and rhetorical choices. Writing assignments that deal with these literary techniques create the foundation for evaluative writing across the curriculum. Students are provided with opportunities to express their individuality through discussion and mutli-modal assignments and projects. In addition, the English curriculum is designed to promote self-esteem and awareness of each student’s humanness through literary selections that represent the many aspects of our humanity.

ATTENTION STUDENTS!  Any courses marked with an “*” after the course name require you to complete an Application Form. Please expand courses below to access their specific “Required Application Form” links at the bottom of each course description.

Grade Level: 9
Semester 25010A (S1) AND Second Semester 25010B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

The primary goal of the ninth grade curriculum is to help students focus on their emerging independence as individuals who have responsibilities to family, community, and society at large. To best express their understanding of these relationships and issues, they will practice communication skills through critical reading, analytical writing, and purposeful discussion. This course will build the foundation for skills needed to succeed in future Bishop Kelly English courses.

Grade Level: 10
Prerequisite: English 9
First Semester 25020A (S1) AND Second Semester 25020B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

The tenth grade curriculum explores the development of American Literature from its beginnings through Reconstruction. It focuses on themes integral to the American identity including, but not limited to, the spirit of the frontier, the individual and society (What is a citizen?), the search for identity and the American Dream. A number of full-length works will complement the selections from the core text and will include established classics, as well as contemporary classics. In addition, students will continue to develop their writing skills and will be taught the basic principles of research and MLA format.

Grade Level: 11
Prerequisite: English 10
First Semester 25030A (S1 AND Second Semester 25030B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

English 11 continues the chronological study of American Literature and focuses on the major writers of the Modern and Post-Modern periods. The primary goal is to teach critical reading and comprehension strategies in a variety of learning modalities. Additionally, the junior curriculum hopes to instill student academic strategies such as resiliency, responsibility, and self-efficacy, the so-called “soft skills,” important for college/career success.

Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: English 11
First Semester 25040A (S1) AND Second Semester 25040B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

The objective of English 12 is to cover a wider range of real-world writing strategies and purposes, culminating with an in depth senior thesis and presentation. As students are preparing to go beyond high school to pursue different areas of study or career paths, English 12 seeks to prepare students to write across multiple subjects. Additionally, students will engage in writing that will help them become, and continue to be, active and engaged citizens. The senior thesis is aimed at building research skills—such as identifying a topic, researching academic resources, synthesizing those sources, and combining writing modes—that will be necessary in a university setting. Finally, English 12 includes a combination of assigned and individually chosen contemporary and classic texts to nurture a love for reading that will ideally extend beyond a student’s time at BK.

Grade Level: 11
Prerequisite: A or B in English 10
First Semester 25200A (S1) AND Second Semester 25200B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

AP English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. In addition, students will be taught to rhetorically read complex texts and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. Students will be encouraged to place their emphasis on content, purpose and audience and to allow this focus to guide the organization of their writing. This is a college level class and materials will reflect that.

Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: A or B in English 11/AP English and Composition
First Semester 25210A (S1) AND Second Semester 25210B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

The College Board, instead of publishing set curriculum, offers the following suggesting for key elements in an advanced Placement English course in Literature and composition: The course should include intensive study of representative works from various genres and periods, concentrating on works of recognized literary merit. Reading in an AP course should be both wide and deep. Students should read works from several genres and periods – from the sixteenth to the twentieth century- but, more importantly, they should get to know a few works well. They should read deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand a work’s complexity, to absorb its richness of meaning and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form. Careful attention to both textual detail and historical context should provide a foundation; however, critical perspectives are also brought to bear on the literary works studied. Writing is also an integral part of the AP English Literature and Composition course. It should focus on the critical analysis of literature and should include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays. The goal of writing should be to increase students’ ability to explain clearly, cogently, even elegantly, what they understand about literary works and why they interpret them as they do. This is a college level class and materials will reflect that.

Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
First Semester 25101 (S1)
Second Semester 25102 (S2)

This class is a practical course designed to offer the novice speaker a number of opportunities to organize and prepare public speaking assignments. The course will also offer a “laboratory setting” where the beginning speaker can actually stand in front of a live audience and present his/her practiced performance. Students will learn about the role of communication in our lives, the communication model, spatial relationships, delivery styles, and the effectiveness of language, gestures, and organization techniques.

Grade Levels: 9,10,11,12
Prerequisite: Counselor/Instructor Approval

First Semester 25331 (S1); Second Semester 25332 (S2)

Students in Academic Skills Seminar receive clear instruction on the key executive function processes – the brain skills that enable us to plan, focus, remember information, and successfully juggle multiple tasks. Topics include the following: organization, time management, planning/prioritization, task initiation, accessing working memory, metacognition, self-monitoring, sustained attention, and perseverance. We work on how to be a self-sufficient, strategic learner with confidence. Through application of various strategies and tools, students are expected to boost academic course work at Bishop Kelly. 

This Pass/Fail course may be repeated, allowing students to further develop skills through continued practice and application. The focus will shift to developing independence with learned strategies as well as self-advocacy.

Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Instructor Approval/ Application Required
First Semester 25350A (S1) AND Second Semester 25350B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

Speech and Debate is for students new to competitive speaking and debating. The course is designed to give students opportunities to develop skills in research, critical thinking, and oral communication. Students will participate in a variety of individual speech events (both fully memorized and with limited preparation) and various forms of debate. In addition to classroom participation, students will compete in local interscholastic tournaments and attempt to win a State Championship.

Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Competitive Speech and Instructor Approval / Application
First Semester 25300A (S1) AND Second Semester 25300B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)

Advanced Speech and Debate is designed to give students with at least one year of competitive speech and debate opportunities to further develop skills in research, critical thinking, and oral communication. Students will participate in a variety of activities including individual speech events, and various forms of debate. In addition to classroom participation, students will compete in local interscholastic speech and debate tournaments.

Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12

First Semester (S1) 

This one-semester elective course is open to students who are interested in exploring artistic forms of written expression. Whereas the emphasis in the traditional English classes is on expository writing, in this class creating poetry and short fiction will be emphasized. In addition, the students will read a selection of stories, poems, and plays. Rather than writing research papers and engaging in literary analysis, the students will produce their own poems and prose in order to cultivate their own style and voice. There will be a considerable amount of class time devoted to writing and sharing. The intent of this course will be to assist students to become better writers by encouraging them to write creatively and write often.

AP Capstone – Two Year Program

(Permission granted from the College Board to reprint course description in accordance with AP Capstone contract.)

AP Capstone™ is a diploma program through College Board based on two AP Courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. These yearlong courses focus on developing the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management and presentation skills needed for college-level work. Students completing both years are eligible to receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate™ through College Board. Students completing AP Seminar and Research and an additional four AP courses with an AP score of 3 or higher are eligible to receive an AP Capstone diploma through College Board.

Grade Level: 10 (by invitation), 11
Prerequisite: Preferred concurrent enrollment with AP Language and Composition
First Semester 25230A (S1) AND Second Semester 25230B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)
Year one of a two year program.

AP Seminar, is a foundational course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. Using an inquiry framework, students practice reading and analyzing articles, research studies, and foundational literary and philosophical texts; listening to and viewing speeches, broadcasts and personal accounts; and experiencing artistic works and performances. Students learn to synthesize information from multiple sources, develop their own perspectives in written essays , and design and deliver oral and visual presentation, both individually and as part of a team. Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments.

Required Application Form »

Grade Level:
Prerequisite: AP Seminar
First Semester 25240A (S1) AND Second Semester 25240B (S2)
Two Semester Required (FY)
Year two of a two year program.

AP Research, the second course in the AP Capstone experience, allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, issue, or idea of individual interest. Students design, plan, and implement a yearlong investigation to address a research question. Through this inquiry, they further the skills they acquired in the AP Seminar course by learning research methodology, employing ethical research practices, and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information. Students reflect on their skill development, document their processes, and curate the artifacts of their scholarly work through a process and reflection portfolio. The course culminates in an academic paper of 4,000–5,000 words (accompanied by a performance, exhibit, or product where applicable) and a presentation with an oral defense.

The Bishop Kelly community recognizes the family as the student’s first and most influential teacher.

Through education and personal experience, we build upon that foundation to prepare each graduate for a lifetime quest to reach excellence.