Graduation Requirement: Four Credits

The Mounds Park Academy English Department strives to provide transformative experiences in the language arts (reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking) to help students in their growth as discerning communicators and empathetic human beings. Department members challenge and encourage students to become critical and enthusiastic readers, creative and accomplished writers, and active and mature thinkers. During the course of their studies, MPA English students become more global in their knowledge, more compassionate in their understanding, and more reflective in their nature.

Courses Offered

Course offerings are contingent on MPA policies regarding student enrollment numbers for each class.

Grade: 11

Credits: One Credit (one for US History and one for English)

Striving for the American Dream: The Country’s Story of Triumph and Tragedy, Oppression and Resistance, Individualism and the Common Good 

Our current world practically begs for definitive answers. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with either/or, you’re-with-us-or-against-us, choose-a-side scenarios and situations. Even a cursory glance at United States history, however, reveals a much richer picture than these contemporary choices suggest. This interdisciplinary American Studies course aims to inspire students to explore through reading, writing, and research the tensions and complexities of U.S. history and literature, recognizing that a country and its people can be many things all at once. Taking a chronological approach beginning with indigenous cultures and continuing to the present day, the course will provide students with a core understanding of the nuanced history of the United States through literature-based units that enrich the information with human truths. 

The course will meet all year with English and history meeting every other day. Students will earn credits in both English and social studies with portions of the work counting in both classes. 

Grade: 12
Credits: One-half credit
Prerequisites: none

This course is designed to sensitize students to the power and versatility of language through a close examination of a variety of authors and poets. In addition, the students will work on preparation for the Advanced Placement exam in May through writing and testing exercises. An Advanced Placement English Literature student is pro-active about homework, displays maturity in small group situations and takes ownership of the entire learning process. 

Grades: Grade 12
Prerequisites: Western Literature; Composition and American Literature
Credit: One-half Credit

This class will examine how women writers write about identity, society, relationships, class, and gender. We will hear from a diversity of female voices starting from the beginning of the first wave feminist movement to today. The form of the texts will vary as we’ll read short stories, novels, essays and poetry. The writers we’ll read include Charlotte Perkins Gillman, Virginia Woolf, Kate Chopin, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Roxanne Gay, Diane Wilson, and Yaa Gyasi. By reading a diverse spectrum of writers, we'll enlarge our sense of what is possible, what is significant, and what really matters to us in the writing of women.

Grades: Grade 10
Prerequisites: None.
Credit: One Credit

The first quarter is an examination of Western literature that explores man’s search for meaning spanning from the Ancient Greeks through Post World War 1 Modernism. We will be looking at man’s quest for truth, enlightenment and power through various texts, including our summer readings by Hesse and Frankel, Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” Transcendentalist essays, Romantic poetry, a graphic version of Frankenstein, Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The second quarter is a Global Literature class including the works of Achebe, Hosseini, and Alvarez. The power of a story to transport readers across time to relay personal and cultural truths will enhance our understanding of different cultures and history.  

Grades: Grade 11

Prerequisites: Western Literature

Credit: One-Credit.

This course focuses on the evolution of the American writing aesthetic, particularly as writers and artists have worked to create something unique in documenting the American experience. Specifically, our discussions will center on the American dream, conceived and realized, the history of race and race relationships, and also exploring the notions of socially defined roles for men and women. Through reading, discussion, and writing, we will explore these motifs in an effort to better express the author’s intent and issues both relevant to America, then and now. What then defines us as Americans and how does art reinforce and challenge those notions? Students will need to keep up with the daily reading, participate in classroom discussion, and then use those elements to compose well-developed/argued points regarding the themes of the readings. 

Grades: Grade 12
Prerequisites: None.
Credit: One-half Credit

In creative writing you will explore and develop your own writing abilities in the areas of fiction, personal narrative, and poetry. This workshop-centered course will create a safe space for students to share writing, to receive feedback, and to be encouraged to revise and rework ideas. We will discuss craft and technique through reading published writers as well as extensive discussion of our own work. This course covers story construction, character development, dialogue, description, world building, and the basics of clear and lively use of language.

Grade: 12
Credits: .5 credit
Prerequisites: none

Stories are an essential part of human culture; they help us make meaning to understand ourselves, each other, and our place in the world. The means by which these stories are told—whether they are written, spoken, or acted on stage or screen—influences the way they are approached and interpreted. Fiction and Literary Adaptation explores the complex interplay between film and literature as well as the unique ways stories can be told through the medium of film. Students read selected novels and analyze them in relation to film versions of the same works to gain an understanding of the possibilities—and problems—involved in the transposition to film. They engage with film theory and technique, challenging novels, literary criticism, film analysis, and reading and viewing from a more critical, analytical perspective that includes understanding the cultural significance and contexts of literary and cinematic forms. 

Grade: 12
Credits: One-half credit
Prerequisites: none

For decades, science fiction authors have explored both humanity’s wildest dreams and greatest fears surrounding technology and where it might lead. This class focuses on the analysis of classic and modern science fiction texts to examine how the often-overlooked genre helps readers re-imagine their present lives, their relationship to the past, and the possibilities available in the future. The literary examination introduces students to movements and themes within the genre through its canonical authors, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Karel Capek, Isaac Asimov, Warren Ellis, Robert A. Heinlein, Neal Stephenson, and more. As students study virtual/augmented reality, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, time travel, cyborgs and robotics, biology, and utopias and dystopias, they are also be challenged to think about speculative/critical design to encourage the ethical and thoughtful creation of new technologies. 

Grades: Grade 9

Prerequisites: None

Credit: One Credit


How does othering and being an outsider …. ? 
How do humans find ____? 
What is clear expression and how can we achieve it? 

This course introduces a variety of genres and authors who represent a wide range of perspectives and ideas. Students develop the ability to use different lenses to examine the human search for identity and belonging—across cultures, time, and geography—including lenses of literary criticism. The course simultaneously focuses on expository writing in the realm of literary analysis and research as well as first-person narratives. 

Grades: 12
Prerequisites: Completion of American Literature or Instructor Permission
Credit: One-half Credit (.5)

Students explore the art, music, and literature of the Harlem Renaissance, including precursors to the Urban Diaspora and the Blues aesthetic. A critical look at racism and its impact on the art of the period informs how artistic expression exists under the oppression of post-Reconstruction America. We will look at how the Harlem Renaissance is both a documentation of that oppression and a celebration of a people. Discussion and critical analysis will be the product of delving into music, poetry, novels, and paintings; and as well, students will continue to harness analytical writing skills and the critical thinking necessary for academic study of this era.