The English Curriculum at CVA is designed to provide students with fundamental skills in the language arts that will enable them to move fluently into post-secondary education.
We emphasize a core curriculum of reading, writing and critical thinking with collateral emphasis on the development of vocabulary, grammar and research skills. Given the nature of our small classrooms and low student-faculty ratio, the faculty attempts to engage students in styles of learning that best suit their innate aptitudes. We also aim to cultivate over four (or five) years students’ self-reliance, so that they increasingly become collaborators with their teachers and peers in the creation of their educational experience. We value an active and interactive experience in which information is shared, reflected upon, and critiqued in a community effort. Increasingly, this experience relies on interfaces between the traditional classroom and technologically appropriate communication, especially when students are away from the school for athletic contests and training.
Our curriculum is designed so that the material covered in each successive year builds on experience and the tasks mastered in the previous year.
Eighth Grade English encourages the development of reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills; this class also reinforces study habits that are important to student success at the high school level.
Freshman English focuses on exposing students to a blend of contemporary and classic literature, which builds analytical writing skills and an increased understanding of literary elements. Students continue to master important grammar concepts and vocabulary.
Sophomore English students read from a selection of short stories, poetry, nonfiction, and novels as they explore world literature, adding a variety of writing styles to their knowledge base. In preparation for standardized testing, students focus on reading comprehension and grammar skills review.
Junior English provides students with solid skills required for senior-level and college composition. Students gain experience writing various types of essays, understanding literary elements and their application to literature, and learning effective research techniques. Further, students prepare for standardized tests.
Senior English explores various topics in literature, four per year. Topics may include (but not limited to): Creative Nonfiction, Contemporary American Literature, Introduction to Literary Theory, The Romantic Period, The Literature of Sport, Maine Writers, and Nature Writers. Through reading fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, students write and revise literary analyses, comparative and critical essays, and personal narratives.