New Bedford / Dartmouth / Fairhaven

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Course & Program of Studies

English Department

The English curriculum at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School  aims to provide students with a comprehensive set of skills that will prepare them for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in higher education, the workforce, and throughout their lives. Students will study a diverse range of literary works, including classic and contemporary literature, poetry, drama, and non-fiction. They will learn to evaluate literature critically and show understanding through different writing assignments, including research projects. Through  writing assignments, students will learn the power of expression through language necessary for effective communication and demonstrate command of the conventions of  Standard English grammar and mechanics  with the use of academic vocabulary. Students will develop skills in reading,  writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation of the Massachusetts Curriculum  Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy. Curriculum in each grade is aligned to these Common Core Standards of the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards.

Specifically, the curriculum aims to improve students’:

  • literacy development
  • cultural appreciation
  • critical thinking skills
  • communication skills
  • creativity and imagination
  • research skills
  • preparation for higher education and careers

Freshman English


Freshman College Prep / Advance College Prep – 3 Credits

These courses introduce students to various forms and types of literature while developing the necessary skills to enjoy and appreciate reading. Students will be taught techniques for analyzing and interpreting literature and informational texts on symbolic, critical and figurative levels by reading works such as Homer’s The Odyssey, a diverse selection of nonfiction short stories and poetry, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A strong emphasis of the course will be essay writing, with a focus on narrative, argumentative and expository writing. Students learn to develop a thesis based on literature and support it using textual evidence. Students will also learn the basics of MLA formatting. In addition, these courses will include MCAS preparation and Accelerated Reader self-selected readings that will prepare students to take the ELA MCAS test by improving their reading comprehension and emphasizing test-taking strategies.

Freshman Honors – 3 Credits

This course, which is offered to students who have demonstrated advanced skills on the Renaissance Place STAR Reading placement test, has a curriculum similar to Freshman CP English, and requires students to analyze literature in more depth and to write with more focus.  It introduces students to various forms and types of literature while developing the necessary skills to enjoy and appreciate reading. Students will be taught techniques for analyzing and interpreting literature and informational texts on symbolic, critical and figurative levels by reading works such as Homer’s The Odyssey, a diverse selection of nonfiction short stories and poetry, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. A strong emphasis of the course will be essay writing, with a focus on narrative, argumentative and expository writing. Students learn to develop a thesis based on literature and support it using textual evidence. Students will also learn the basics of MLA formatting. In addition, these courses will include MCAS preparation and Accelerated Reader self-selected readings that will prepare students to take the ELA MCAS test by improving their reading comprehension and emphasizing test-taking strategies.

ELA Strategies I – 1 Credit

The grade 9 ELA Strategies course is designed to contribute to preparing students for the tenth grade English Language Arts (ELA) MCAS test.  The course will focus on test-taking strategies and emphasize improving critical reading skills, increasing vocabulary use and using textual evidence in writing.  Students will learn these skills via the use of such strategies as understanding prefixes/suffixes, annotating texts and evaluating styles of essay writing.  

Literacy I – 1 Credit

The grade 9 Literacy I course is a foundation course taken freshman year, designed to improve students’ critical reading skills and effective writing practices. Students will build vocabulary knowledge, become proficient in using the Google suite, learn how to use text structure and text features to their advantage when reading, and practice achieving appropriate tone and word choice when writing. Literacy I provides students with the opportunity to hone basic reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills that will transfer to other course work.  Respectful dialogue, student collaboration, appropriate technology use, and self-advocacy are emphasized. The overall goal is for students to comprehend the importance of strong literacy skills in becoming a successful learner.  

Sophomore English


Senior College Prep / Advance College Prep – 3 Credits

These courses are designed to give students knowledge of the works of highly influential writers who are authoritative in world culture. This study provides students with an opportunity to examine universal themes that are relevant to their own lives, such as: blindness vs. sight, extending freedom’s reach, and virtue and vengeance. Students analyze and interpret literature from throughout the world, including works by Shakespeare and Sophocles, and influential speeches. A strong emphasis of these courses is informational texts and essay writing, with a focus on narrative, argumentative and expository writing. Over the course of the year, students also prepare to take the ELA MCAS test by improving their reading comprehension, writing skills, and test-taking strategies. Students engage in Google Classroom resources and assignments.  Additionally, students participate in the Accelerated Reader Program, which requires students to read and test on one self-selected novel per trimester.

Sophomore Honors– 3 Credits

This course, which has a curriculum similar to Sophomore CP English, requires students to discuss and analyze literature in more depth. Students are also required to write with more focus and synthesize additional texts to increase their skills. Through this course, students will be prepared to transition into the AP Language and Composition course.

ELA Strategies II – 1 Credit

The grade 10 ELA Strategies course is designed to contribute to preparing students for the tenth grade English Language Arts (ELA) MCAS test and the grade 11 English class.  The course will focus on developing students’ writing skills and providing ELA MCAS test-taking strategies. Emphasis will be placed on evaluating prompts, organizing essays, and developing thesis statements. The course will include grammar practice. Following MCAS testing, the focus will shift toward research strategies. Students will develop skills in outlining, sequencing ideas, and evaluating peer writing. 

Literacy II

Literacy II builds upon the foundations of Literacy I, taken freshman year, further improving students’ critical reading skills and effective writing practices while emphasizing critical thinking skills.  Students will activate their prior knowledge of audience and purpose, close reading, text structure, text features, and accountable talk to develop an understanding of literacy’s important role in democratic citizenship and media consumption. Students will engage in thought-provoking readings, acquire relevant vocabulary, apply principles to help them identify misinformation and bias in the media, and evaluate information from a variety of sources. Respectful dialogue, student collaboration, appropriate technology use, and self-advocacy are emphasized. The overall goal is for students to comprehend the importance of being a thoughtful, critical media consumer in a democratic society.  

Junior English


Junior College Prep / Advance College Prep – 3 Credits

These courses are designed to enlighten students with knowledge of great American writers and their lives and work and to explore not only the historical influences on literature, but also the societal impact both past and present. Students will study non-fiction pieces of literature from noteworthy Americans, such as Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, and how many non-fiction works and speeches have influenced societal reform. Students will also analyze fundamental fictional pieces of American drama, poetry, and short stories. They will continue to develop skills in narrative, argumentative and expository essay writing as well as literary analysis. In addition, the courses will include resume writing and research assignments following MLA guidelines. SAT preparation and independent reading, through the Accelerated Reader Program, are included in the curriculum as well.

Junior Honors – 3 Credits

This course, which has a curriculum similar to Junior CP English, requires students to discuss and analyze both fiction and non-fiction literature in more depth and with a more rigorous pace. They will be required to work and think independently and participate in student-driven class discussions. Students will also be expected to write with more focus and attention to the requirements of MLA format and standard research requirements. Through this course, they will be prepared to transition into the AP Literature and Composition course.

Junior Advanced Placement English Language & Composition – 3 Credits

The AP English Language and Composition Course provides students with advanced college-level writing instruction by examining a wide variety of texts, media, and images across genres and literary periods.  Students will apply rhetorical and literary theories to deepen their textual appreciation and expand their higher-order analytical and argumentative skills. They will develop advanced researching and synthesizing skills as they compose, cite, and revise their work.  By studying the structure and style of writing, they will learn to read more critically and write more effectively.  The course prepares students for the AP English Language and Composition test as well as for college-level readiness in writing and textual analysis. The class will abide by the rules of the College Board. 

Senior English


Senior College Prep / Advance College Prep – 3 Credits

These courses are designed to give students knowledge of great European writers with a focus on British Literature. Students will study universal themes in literature through great European writers and their work. Students will study pieces of literature beginning with Beowulf and continuing with Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Romantic Poetry. In doing so, they will explore the historical and cultural influences on literature. Students will analyze and interpret a variety of literature representing many genres and time periods across Europe. Students will demonstrate an understanding of these works through various styles of writing, including expository, argumentative, and narrative essays. Students will also follow MLA guidelines in conducting both mini and sustained research assignments. They will also be responsible for completing CVTE portfolio requirements, such as an updated resume and goals essay or college application personal essay. They are also responsible for reading and testing on one self-selected novel in the first, second, and third quarters for the Accelerated Reader program.

Senior Honors – 3 Credits

This course, which has a curriculum similar to Senior CP English, requires students to discuss and analyze literature in more depth and with a more rigorous pace. Students will work more independently and participate in student-driven class discussions. Students will also be expected to write with more focus and attention to the requirements of MLA format and standard research requirements. Students will be required to read additional selections from the supplementary book list.

Senior Advanced Placement English Literature & Composition – 3 Credits

This course is a rigorous, college-level class in which great literature will be read, interpreted and analyzed through writing and discussion. The reading is challenging and the writing constant, requiring an independent, engaged mind. Students will undertake compelling themes that reflect the human condition: ambition, the search for truth, politics and the individual, conformity and rebellion, love, the American Dream. A main focus throughout the course is the analysis of writers’ styles and language itself as well as various literary forms, which will in turn develop independent thought. Students will develop their own writing styles throughout the course, producing papers that will be judged on language, structure, organization, clarity of intent and argument. Concurrent with these goals, students will prepare for the AP Literature & Composition College Board Exam taken at the end of the year. To prepare they will complete multiple-choice portions of previous AP exams. Students will also write timed, in-class analytical essays based on former AP exams. The class will abide by the rules of the College Board.

Senior English Electives – 1 Credit


Technology-Driven Research and Presentation (Trimester Elective) 

The Technology-Driven Research and Presentation elective focuses on developing research skills that will result in a written expository research paper and an oral and visual presentation on a topic of the student’s choice. Students will deepen their understanding of research and writing skills through a thorough step-by-step process. They will evaluate a variety of sources for credibility, identify important information in their sources, take notes, create an MLA format outline and Works Cited page, and then write a research paper that responds to a well-developed thesis statement. Students will also prepare and deliver a presentation on the same topic. In doing so, they will practice and improve their presentation skills and learn how to present research to a different audience through a visual medium. This course will strengthen their research, writing, and presentation skills, which is especially helpful for those thinking of continuing their education. 

Women in Literature (Trimester Elective)

The grade 12 Women in Literature course is designed to familiarize students with female authors and the common archetypes used to portray women and their place in society. Students will deepen their understanding of how the roles of women have evolved through literature and how those roles connect to stereotypes. Students will be required to maintain an electronic journal based on readings and discussions. The required culminating project will be a student presentation focusing on which works impacted them the most and why and will be accompanied by Google slides.

Literature in Film (Trimester Elective)

The Literature in Film course provides students with the opportunity to further develop analytical and critical thinking skills using the visual medium of film. In the course, students will become familiar with various genres of film and film terminology while viewing, discussing, and writing about film. Students will learn to interpret film as a text by analyzing character development, setting, themes, cinematography, lighting, and sound. Through class discussion and presentations students will explore the representation of culture, race, and gender in films and develop skills in analyzing and exploring these topics with their peers.