Upper School English Curriculum

American Literature (9th & 10th Grade)

American Literature focuses on major works of modern American authors. The purpose of this course is to teach students how to read, interpret, and write about literature. Although analysis of literary texts is the main focus, attention is also paid to cultural and historical contexts. Readings may include such works as Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s Inherit the Wind, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

World Literature (9th & 10th Grade)


Writing/Speech (9th Grade)

Writing/Speech is a full year English requirement for 9th Grade students and students new to Rivermont. Students are introduced to the elements of communication, including vocal production and listening. Acting and teambuilding exercises develop poise and build confidence in a variety of speaking and performance situations. Students study and prepare powerful persuasive writing. Students review expository patterns and research protocol, as well as analyze language use. The Norton Field Guide to Writing serves as a resource.

College English I and II (11th & 12th Grade)

College English I and II (each a year long course) offer a glimpse into the literature, as well as traditions, of cultures outside of the Anglo-American tradition. Course curriculum strongly emphasizes writing, analytical thinking skills, and effective communication techniques necessary for college level courses; assignments and goals are similar to those expected at the college level. Writing portfolios, class discussions, and self-assessments are required.



AP English Language & Composition (11th & 12th Grade)

AP English Language & Composition aligns to an introductory college level rhetoric and writing curriculum. The course focuses on the development and revision of evidence-based analytic and argumentative writing and the rhetorical analysis of nonfiction texts.


Lunsford’s Everything’s an Argument serves as a course text. Other readings may include such works as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper,” and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Students in this course are expected to take the AP English Language & Composition exam offered each spring.

AP English Literature & Composition (11th & 12th Grade)

AP English Literature & Composition aligns to an introductory college level literary analysis course. The course focuses on reading, analyzing, and writing about imaginative literature (fiction, poetry, drama) from various periods. Students in this course are expected to take the AP English Literature & Composition exam offered each spring.


  • Kristin Skaggs »

    American Literature, World Literature, Writing/Speech, Middle and Upper School Theater Arts/Drama

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    • Appointed: 1997
    • B.A., St. Ambrose University
    • 2011 Larned A. Waterman Chair of Distinguished Teaching Award
    • Theater Manager, Drama Director, Upper School Show Choir Co-Director, Upper School Student Council Advisor
  • Kelly Turner »

    Middle and Upper School English

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    • Appointed: 2006
    • B.A., University of Iowa
    • M.A.T., National Louis University
    • Middle School Student Council Advisor