The English Department designs its curriculum around a core principle of Jesuit education: “to help each student to become an independent learner [and] to assume the responsibility for his or her own education.”*  Our vertically-aligned instruction— motivated by the Ignatian principle of showing students “how to continue to learn after formal education has ended” —provides all of our students guided instruction in reading and writing techniques that develop mastery and thus serve as the foundation for lifelong learning.

A typical graduate will have produced over twenty major essays; internalized strategies for written unity, coherence, and syntax; studied English grammar for enrichment of his writing style, incorporated increasingly sophisticated English vocabulary; and read and analyzed challenging classical texts of all forms—poetry, drama, the epic, the novel, the essay.  He will have experienced how the classics tell stories of the salient moral struggles of civilization—narratives where both men and women are heroes and heroines, victims and victimizers, judges and the judged; where various creatures function figuratively; where the enslaved provide moral guidance; where class distinctions are grappled with; where young men and women become entrapped by the world’s temptations; where leaders can abuse their power or wield it beneficially; where evil clearly exists and good must confront it; where mentors guide the young toward redemption and forgiveness.  

These experiences in a dynamic English classroom and the consequent development of skills uniquely shape a young man who grows to understand “that full growth of a person... leads to action, action, especially, that is suffused with the spirit and presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Man-for-Others.”*

Dr. Michael Degen

Dr. Michael Degen

Teacher, Department Head
Mrs. Mary Beth Farrell

Mrs. Mary Beth Farrell


*Melrose, Carl E., S.J.  Foundations. Washington, DC: Jesuit Secondary Education Association, 1994.


Students will be provided with a digital copy of Crafting Expository Argument. Students are responsible for obtaining all other English books. All student purchased texts are to be physical, print copies. Additional class materials will be provided by the school.

Please read notes carefully. Only physical books are acceptable. DO NOT PURCHASE EBOOKS FOR ENGLISH TEXTS. Covers may vary for some novels with the same ISBN. For some courses instructor’s names are listed next to the course name, if you do not see your teacher’s name obtain the books for Staff.