By twelfth grade, students have repeatedly peered through the window to humanity that literature has opened for them. Through it, they have gained valuable perspective on their world, past and present. Their close-textual interaction with literature over the past three years should have heightened their appreciation for those texts, improved their critical and analytical skills in reading and writing, enhanced their speaking and listening abilities, and enriched their academic and personal vocabulary. The window will now open on selected works of European literature from the twelfth century through the twenty-first century. Students will approach this literature chronologically, so they can see the influences on and evolution of the ideas and forms. Writing, research, and speaking assignments will continue to focus on formulating and expressing ideas and arguments about the readings. Particular emphasis will be placed on gaining critical perspective on the relationship between content and form and on synthesizing ideas into clear and concise prose and presentations.
Curriculum decisions for this course are guided by the Common Core State Standards. These standards were developed to provide clear and consistent goals for student learning and to ensure that students have the skills they need to be successful beyond high school. These standards define what students need to know and be able to do by the end of each grade. In additional to defining grade-level skills, the ELA standards require that students be exposed to increasingly more complex texts to which they apply those skills. In order for curriculum to align to these standards, it must be both rigorous and relevant. It must also expose students to certain critical content. In English language arts, that content includes classic myths and stories from around the world, America's Founding Documents, Foundational American literature, and Shakespeare.