Academics
Curriculum

English

The English Department works to foster in every student the ability to read, understand, and critically evaluate literature from a variety of genres and periods. 
Students are encouraged to develop writing styles appropriate for various audiences and purposes and writing skills that enhance clear and well-supported ideas, including organization, voice, sentence fluency, diction, and correct grammar. In addition, students are taught to express themselves intelligently and confidently in oral presentations and group discussions as well as conduct research in the library and on the Internet. Summer reading is required for all core courses.

Essential Outcomes

List of 4 items.

  • Oral Expression and Listening

    ​Students will ​understand that effective oral communication consists of intentional and purposeful speaking coupled with active and engaged listening.​(Grad at Grad: Excellence in Education, Respect for all People, and Participation within Inclusive Community)
    Students will: 
    1. Collaborate effectively as group members or leaders who listen actively and respectfully pose thoughtful questions, acknowledge the ideas of others, and contribute ideas to further the group’s attainment of an objective
    2. Deliver organized and effective oral presentations for diverse audiences and varied purposes
    3. Use language appropriate for purpose and audience
    4. Demonstrate skill in inferential and evaluative listening
  • Reading for all Purposes

    Students will understand that the written word documents, reveals, and reflects the universal depth, breadth, and truths of the human experience in myriad ways, depending upon audience and purpose.​ ​(Grad at Grad: Faith in Presence of God, Concern for the Poor and Social Justice, Excellence in Education, Respect for all People, and Participation within Inclusive Community)
    Students will:
    1. Interpret how the structure of written English contributes to the pronunciation and meaning of complex vocabulary
    2. Demonstrate comprehension of a variety of informational, literary, and persuasive texts
    3. Evaluate how an author uses words to create mental imagery, suggest mood, and set tone
    4. Read a wide variety of literature (American and world literature) to understand important universal themes and the human experience
    5. Seek feedback, self­assess, and reflect on personal learning while engaging with increasingly more difficult texts
    6. Engage in a wide range of nonfiction and real­life reading experiences to solve problems, judge the quality of ideas, or complete daily tasks
  • Writing and Composition

    Students will understand that effective written communication consists of intentional and appropropriate authorial choices, depending upon audience and purpose.​ (Grad at Grad: Excellence in Education, Respect for all People, and Participation within Inclusive Community)
    Students will:
    1. Write with a clear focus, coherent organization, sufficient elaboration, and detail
    2. Effectively use content­specific language, style, tone, and text structure to compose or adapt writing for different audiences or purposes
    3. Apply standard English conventions to effectively communicate with written language
    4. Implement the writing process successfully to plan, revise, and edit written work
    5. Master the techniques of effective informational, literary, and persuasive writing
    6. Discriminate and justify a position using traditional lines of rhetorical argument and reasoning
    7. Articulate the position of self and others using experiential and material logic
  • Research and Reasoning

    ​Students will understand that sound methods of inquiry consist of an ability to evaluate sources and critically analyze and synthesize data from a variety of sources, depending upon audience and purpose. ​(Grad at Grad: Excellence in Education, Respect for all People, and Participation within Inclusive Community)
    Students will:
    1. Gather information from a variety of sources; analyze and evaluate the quality and relevance of the source; and use it to answer complex questions
    2. Use primary, secondary, and tertiary written sources to generate and answer research questions
    3. Evaluate explicit and implicit viewpoints, values, attitudes, and assumptions concealed in speech, writing, and illustration
    4. Demonstrate the use of a range of strategies, research techniques, and persistence when engaging with difficult texts or examining complex problems or issues
    5. Exercise ethical conduct when writing, researching, and documenting sources

Faculty

List of 9 items.

  • Katie Abeyta

    Department Chair
    University of Colorado: BA in English
    Regis University: MA in Education

    katie.abeyta@mullenhigh.com
    Bio
  • Mikaela Degitis

    University of Northern Colorado: BA in English
    mikaela.degitis@mullenhigh.com
    Bio
  • Christina Dickerson

    DePauw University: BA in Classical Studies
    University of Colorado: MA in Classical Art and Archaeology
    dickerson@mullenhigh.com
    Bio
  • Patricia Finney

    Marquette University: BS in Business Administration
    University of St. Thomas: MA in Education
    patricia.finney@mullenhigh.com
    Bio
  • Elizabeth Hamer

    Metropolitan State University: BA in English
    elizabeth.hamer@mullenhigh.com
    Bio
  • Jeffrey Howard

    Catholic University of America: BA in English & Secondary Education
    Regis University: MA in Creative Writing
    Bio
  • Stephen Lavezza

    University of Denver: MA and Ph.D in English Language
    Loyola College: BA in English, Fine Arts, and Writing
    M.Ed. in Curriculum Design and Development
    steven.lavezza@mullenhigh.com

    Bio
  • Joe Locascio

    Bucknell University: BA English
    joe.locascio@mullenhigh.com
    Bio
  • Heather Witwer

    University of Chicago: JD
    University of Pennsylvania: BA in Philosophy
    University of Phoenix: MA in Education
    Bio

Courses

List of 23 items.

  • Creative Writing CP

    Creative Writing is a one-trimester course designed for students who want to think and write creatively. Students will produce original works including creative nonfiction, poetry, short story fiction, journalism, and drama, balancing the power of both print and multimedia formats. Students are encouraged to experiment with authorial license while encouraged to adhere, recognize, and break creative structures to develop their own sense of style, voice, and technique. Students will share their work with classmates and offer constructive criticism to each other in a workshop format, including prewriting, peer editing, rewriting, and publishing. Since good writing starts with careful reading, the course also requires students to complete short reading assignments and analyses of style. (NCAA course)
  • English I

    Students will write expository and descriptive essays. They will review grammar, including diagramming sentences. Formal study in vocabulary will include etymology, context clues, and analogies. Writing instruction and practice center on creating well-organized and clear compositions through the processes of brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing. Students will study elements of fiction and non-fiction , will read novels, and will study genre. Emphasis will be placed on reading for meaning and fluency. Students will read for higher levels of comprehension and an understanding of denotation and connotation in both fiction and nonfiction. (NCAA Course)
  • English I A CP

    Students will write expository and descriptive essays. They will review grammar, including diagramming sentences. Formal study in vocabulary will include etymology, context clues, and analogies. Students will explore elements of genre such as epics, allegories, and romances, and they will read fiction and non-fiction, including poetry. (NCAA Course)
  • English I A Honors

    Students will write expository and descriptive essays. They will review grammar. Formal study in vocabulary will include etymology, context clues, and analogies. Students will study elements of fiction and non-fiction, will read novels, short stories, and poetry, and will study genre. This course is a concentrated, sophisticated approach to skills of literary analysis, reading, and writing. (NCAA Course)
  • English I B CP

    Students will continue to study and practice expository and descriptive writing, grammar, and vocabulary. Students will study elements of fiction and non-fiction, will read novels, short stories, and poetry, and will study genre. This course is a concentrated, sophisticated approach to skills of literary analysis, reading, and writing. (NCAA Course)
  • English I B Honors

    Students will write expository and personal essays. Grammatical review will include the parts of speech, sentence construction and variety, punctuation, and diagramming. Students will study writing techniques and practice writing for various audiences and purposes. Writing instruction and practice focus on creating well-organized and clear compositions through the processes of brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing. Formal vocabulary instruction will emphasize improving both diction and skills for success on standardized tests. Both the literature of the United States and a Shakespearean play will be read. Emphasis will be placed on reading for meaning and fluency. Students will read for higher levels of comprehension and an understanding of denotation and connotation in both fiction and nonfiction. (NCAA Course)
  • English II

    Students will write expository and personal essays. Grammatical review will include the parts of speech, sentence construction and variety, punctuation, and diagramming. Students will study writing techniques and practice writing for various audiences and purposes. Writing instruction and practice focus on creating well-organized and clear compositions through the processes of brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing. Formal vocabulary instruction will emphasize improving both diction and skills for success on standardized tests. Literature of the United States will be read in chronological order beginning with the Colonial Period and ending with Contemporary Literature. Emphasis will be placed on reading for meaning and fluency. Students will read for higher levels of comprehension and an understanding of denotation and connotation in both fiction and nonfiction. (NCAA Course)
  • English II A CP

    Students will study and practice writing expository essays. The expository essays will explore literary themes and techniques in the assigned American Literature. Review of grammar will include the basic parts of speech, complements, and sound sentences. Formal vocabulary is aimed at improving reading and writing skills and as one way to achieve success on standardized national tests. Literature of the United States will be explored through the thematic units built around the study of one's role in society and American literary innovations.
  • English II A Honors

    Students will study and practice writing expository and personal essays. Grammar will be reviewed in the context of enhancing sentence structure and composition. Formal vocabulary instruction will emphasize improving diction and improving skills for success on standardized tests. Literature of the United States will be explored in a chronological sequence. This course is a concentrated study of significant authors, philosophical trends, and criticism in American literature. Greater depth in analysis, oral presentation, writing, and reading is required. (NCAA Course)
  • English II B Honors

    Students will continue writing expository and personal essays. Formal vocabulary study and grammatical review will be continued. The study of the literature of the United States will continue into contemporary times. Skills in analysis, oral presentation, writing, and reading are enhanced as students study significant authors, literary periods, and criticism in the literature of the United States. (NCAA Course)
  • English III A

    Students will review narrative and expository writing. They will learn and practice writing strategies for abstracts, cause and effect essays, and comparison and contrast essays. English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period through the Renaissance will be read. Vocabulary and grammar will also be studied. (NCAA Course)
  • English III A CP

    Students will write in various genres, including abstracts, narrative, and expository essays. They will strive for clear, well-supported ideas, lucid organization, appropriate voice, effective diction, varied sentence structure, and correct grammar appropriate to targeted audience and rhetorical purpose. They will learn and practice organizational strategies such as cause-and-effect, problem-solution, and comparison-and-contrast and will practice giving and responding to peer feedback on their writing. Students will read British literature from the Anglo-Saxon period through the Renaissance, including at least one novel and Shakespeare's Macbeth. They will also study vocabulary, review grammar, and make oral presentations as they enhance their literacy and ability to communicate. (NCAA Course)
  • English III A Honors

    Students will enhance their literacy and ability to communicate for various audiences and rhetorical purposes, one of the most prominent being essays for college applications. They will write in various genres, including persuasive writing as well as letters and essays for college applications. They will strive for clear, well-supported ideas, lucid organization, engaging voice, effective diction, varied sentence structure, and correct grammar. They will write a brief, well-researched paper using the MLA documentation style. Students will read British literature from the Restoration through the 20th century, including longer works. They will also study vocabulary, review grammar, and make oral presentations as they build their repertoire of reading, writing, and presentation skills. (NCAA Course)
  • English III B

    Students will learn and practice strategies of argumentative and persuasive writing with emphasis on writing the personal essay for college applications. They will practice various writing strategies, including using organizers and peer feedback. They will practice using the MLA documentation style. They will read English literature from the Restoration through the 20th century. There will be formal vocabulary study and grammar review. (NCAA Course)
  • English III B CP

    Students will write narrative and persuasive essays, striving for clear, well-supported ideas, lucid organization, effective diction, varied sentence structure, correct grammar, and voice appropriate to targeted audience and rhetorical purpose. They will practice outlining or using graphic organizers, will write a persuasive essay, and will write a brief, well-researched paper using the MLA documentation style. Students will read British literature from the Restoration through the 20th century, including poetry, prose, and longer works. They will also study vocabulary, review grammar, and make oral presentations as they enhance their literacy and ability to communicate. (NCAA Course)
  • English III B Honors

    Students will enhance their literacy and ability to communicate for various audiences and rhetorical purposes, one of the most prominent being essays for college applications. They will write in various genres, including persuasive writing as well as letters and essays for college applications. They will strive for clear, well-supported ideas, lucid organization, engaging voice, effective diction, varied sentence structure, and correct grammar. They will write a brief, well-researched paper using the MLA documentation style. Students will read British literature from the Restoration through the 20th century, including longer works. They will also study vocabulary, review grammar, and make oral presentations as they build their repertoire of reading, writing, and presentation skills. (NCAA Course)
  • English IV A CP

    Senior English at Mullen High School is a study of rhetoric, defined as the writing or speaking methods used to move a specific audience in a specific situation. This course will focus primarily on developing students' skills of expression in writing and speaking. Students will learn to recognize the role rhetoric plays in our lives and will begin to master the use of rhetoric themselves. To that end, students will engage in many writing and speaking activities and assignments, in addition to reading assignments which support them. To help develop these rhetorical skills, students will analyze the rhetoric used by practicing writers. During trimester A, students will read and analyze a variety of fiction and non-fiction narrative texts. The literary essay will be perfected as students practice college-level analysis. As part of that analysis, they will engage in rigorous vocabulary study and learn and apply advanced literary terms. (NCAA Course)
  • English IV A Honors

    Senior Honors English is an advanced course--in pace, material, and expectations--designed for the serious student of reading and writing. Emphasis will be placed on developing students' analytic reading skills, in addition to expression in writing and speaking. Students will learn to recognize the role rhetoric - language and expression - plays in our lives. Students will be required to read several longer works of fiction spanning nearly five centuries. Non-fiction, in the form of editorials, autobiographies, and essays will also be reviewed. Extensive outside-of-class reading and preparation are required for success in this course. Students will write a number of different essays: personal, cause-effect, problem-solution, and extended literary analysis. (NCAA Course)
  • English IV B CP: Silenced Voices

    Explore the literature by writers who represent and speak for the "silenced" minority. Students will develop their understandings of how diversity affects the individual as well as society. Students will incorporate grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing to question analyze, and evaluate the social barriers presented by race, ethnicity, religion, language, physical ability, sexuality, social class, etc.
  • English IV B CP: True Stories

    This course will focus specifically on nonfiction writing and literature. Throughout this course, students will immerse themselves in tales that are both bold and true. Students will study film, poetry, short stories, and novels, all reflecting events that really happened. Students will incorporate grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing to convey the beauty, fear, desperation, and joy of the real world and to encourage readers to hear the truth.
  • English IV B H

    Trimester B of Senior Honors English builds on and expands the skills mastered in Trimester A. The focus of the trimester is on persuasive writing, and students will read and analyze a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts that make specific arguments. Students will study the classical elements of rhetoric and argument, in addition to other literary terms and advanced vocabulary. Trimester B synthesizes the students' many years of grammar study as they practice writing-and diagramming-sentences in the style of a variety of successful writers. Students will write several longer essays as they move from the restrictive formulas taught in Trimester A to a more distinctive expression of their ideas. Extensive outside-of-class reading and preparation are required for success in this course. Students will read several full-length pieces, as well as shorter works, by a variety of authors and in a variety of genres. (NCAA Course)
  • English IV CP: Banned Books

    "There is more than one way to burn a book, and the world is full of people running about with lit matches" (Bradbury). Ray Bradbury has experience with banned books and, more importantly, with books that the world is determined to destroy. This course will approach literature from the lens of a critic questioning why certain books fit the criteria for being banned while others remain acceptable high school reading. Students will discuss historical, social, and religious movements that gave rise to these texts and summarily stripped them from our shelves. Students will incorporate grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing in a twelve-week attempt to answer the perennial question: Should thought ever be censored?
  • English Lit/Comp AP

    This 3 trimester course prepares students to excel on the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition Examination and the Advanced Placement Language and Composition Examination, which all students take at the completion of the course. AP English is a college-level course in its pace, material, and expectations; successful students are prepared for post-freshman university English classes. Students learn and practice, at a college level, the skills of literary analysis, analytic writing, formal discussion, and critical and logical thinking. Advanced work in grammar and word study is included. Students encounter ideas from college-level classical and biblical literature and English and American works from all post-Medieval historical periods. In order to understand the many disparate ideas from these works, students consider selected concepts from such fields as philosophy, history, mythology, psychology, political science, religion, literary criticism, and physics. (NCAA Course)