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English Literature

The English Department at CATS Academy offer classes which develop the language and academic skills expected for admission to an American college or university. The department’s team of dedicated, highly trained English teachers offer personalized help and differentiated instruction to fit individual learning needs

Be your best at:

Academic writing

Critical thinking

Public speaking

English Literature

English Literature electives

English Skills

The English Skills course introduces students to literary terms and practices, enabling them to succeed in their future study of English Literature. The class builds a foundation for approaching academic writing and the close reading of texts. Texts may include Brown Girl

Dreaming and Cyrano de Bergerac, as well as fables, folktales, various short stories and poetry from authors such as Neil Gaiman, Richard Connell, Annie Proulx, Ethel Rohan, Raymond Carver, and Shel Silverstein.

 

Society and the Individual, Journeys, Independence, and Critical Lenses are offered at both the College Prep and Honors levels. Honors sections assume more background knowledge, move at a quicker pace, cover additional material, and expect students to work at a higher level relative to College Prep sections

Literature 1: Society and the Individual

The course provides freshman students with a comprehensive introduction to academic writing and literary analysis, beginning with a full review of syntax and grammar rules. The literary component of the class examines texts and identifies themes, which address the role of individual responsibility; and how to use literature as a lens through which you may better understand society and your role within the global community. Possible texts may include The Giver, Lord of the Flies, The Catcher in the Rye, and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Literature 2: Journeys

This course examines characters’ physical, emotional, and spiritual journeys in literature. The course begins with essential vocabulary and a review of grammatical rules, then progresses to comprehension and textual analysis. Public speaking assignments give students the opportunity to practice their English speaking skills and develop confidence in their ability to engage a crowd of peers. Texts for this course include Romeo and Juliet, the Odyssey, Things Fall Apart, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Persepolis, and various short stories and poems.

Literature 3: Independence

This course examines the theme of independence by looking at universal ideas which incited The American Revolution or inspired Transcendentalism. Students work to create their own independence in writing projects, while developing critical thinking and analytical skills. Texts studied in this course may include The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The Great Gatsby, The Crucible, and a variety of shorter works by authors such as Dickinson, Thoreau, Emerson, and Poe.

Literature 4: Critical Lenses

This course focuses on analyzing literature through the critical lenses of feminism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. Students work on identifying and analyzing the reasons for an author’s choices and the effectiveness of various means of persuasion and on understanding how critical lenses are employed to interpret texts. Students work towards mastering the critical reading and writing skills necessary for university. Texts studied in this course may include Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Canterbury Tales, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and shorter works by authors such as Keats, Shelley, Blake, and Orwell.

Creative Writing

We read poems and stories to find something in them that startles us, makes us more aware of the world we live in, makes us more aware of who we are, makes us more alive.  In Creative Writing, we read notable poems and stories from the 20th and 21st Centuries so we can learn from great writers’ examples and so we can enter this conversation with the world around us that has been going on for hundreds, even thousands of years.  We learn how to craft deeper poems than we have been able to write before by learning elements of form, image, voice, line, music, and mystery.  By learning such elements of fiction as character development, plot arc, conflict, and symbolism, we will shape stories that move us, surprise us, and transform us into different people than we were before we read them.  By the end of the course, students will have built a good-sized portfolio of works that shows their progress as writers, thinkers, and creators—works they’re proud of—so they can see where they’re going as artists and where they’ve been.  We will write poems and stories that shape the way we and others see the world. 

Social Justice Literature

Literature has long been used as a way of exploring and discussing issues of injustice and inequality. From the classic Of Mice and Men to the more modern The Hate U Give, literature gives voice to the voiceless and forces the reader to confront challenging issues of racism, sexism, classism, and how the issues that divide us are, all too frequently, the issues that matter most. In this class, students explore specific issues of social justice and diversity linked to Young Adult Novels that explore those topics in a meaningful way. Texts may include The Hate U Give, Turtles All the Way Down, and All American Boys. This course should leave students with the language to discuss these issues and the tools to question and confront their own preconceived notions and prejudices. 

Advanced Placement electives

AP Language and Composition

Prerequisites: Returning students: A- or higher in previous Honors British or Honors American Literature; a sample of analytical writing submitted to the English Department Chair; completion of significant summer assignment; approval of the previous instructor. New students: approval of English Department Chair based upon placement test scores and previous English grades.

The Advanced Placement (AP) course in English Language and Composition teaches students to become skilled readers of prose and skilled writers, who compose literature for a variety of purposes. They develop an awareness of a writer’s purpose, audience expectations, and genre conventions.

Faculty

Peter Bard
English Department Chair
pbard@catsboston.com
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Peter Bard

English Department Chair
pbard@catsboston.com

BA, English Literature, University of Connecticut
MS, Education, Eastern Connecticut State University

Peter Bard holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science in English Secondary Education from Eastern Connecticut State University. He has been at CATS Boston since 2016 and became the English Department Chair in 2022. Prior to CATS, Peter worked for Summit Educational Group, a private tutoring company based in Massachusetts, and he taught English at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. He is currently pursuing a second master’s in mathematics education from Harvard University, which he hopes to complete during the summer of 2023.

Danielle Brown
English Literature Teacher
dbrown@catsboston.com
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Danielle Brown

English Literature Teacher
dbrown@catsboston.com

BA, English Adolescence Education, SUNY New Paltz
MA, English Literature,

As an English Literature teacher at CATS Academy Boston, Danielle passes on her passion for literature to students every day. She teaches Grade 12 AP Literature and British Literature. Before coming to CATS, Danielle graduated as valedictorian from SUNY New Paltz, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in English Adolescence Education and a minor in Psychology. She went on to work in a wide-variety of education-related jobs such as college-level Composition Instructor, Writing Assistant for business undergraduates and graduates, content writer and researcher, and Communications and Data Coordinator for WISE Services while pursuing her Masters in English Literature. Her diverse experiences at the secondary and post-secondary level have prepared her to work with domestic and international students today.

Cheryl Gardner
English Literature Teacher
cgardner@catsboston.com
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Cheryl Gardner

English Literature Teacher
cgardner@catsboston.com

BA, English Literature, Stonehill College
MA, English Literature, Boston College

Prior to joining CATS Academy, Cheryl Gardner worked as a private tutor at The Fluency Factory in Cohasset, Massachusetts, specializing in literature, composition and test preparation. Before her role as a private tutor Cheryl taught Literature and Composition at Boston College. Cheryl has over twenty years’ experience as an educator, working with students to improve their comprehension and ability to respond to complex texts. Cheryl received her BA in English Literature from Stonehill College and her MA in English Literature from Boston College.

James O’Brien
English Literature Teacher
jobrien@catsboston.com
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James O’Brien

English Literature Teacher
jobrien@catsboston.com

BA, English Literature, Middlebury College

James O’Brien holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing from Middlebury College. Before returning to his home state of Massachusetts, James worked in both finance and test preparation in San Francisco, California. After working as an English teacher and Assistant Director of Communications at his high school alma mater, St. Sebastian’s, James joined CATS Academy in 2013. James teaches Test Prep, English Literature, and Creative Writing at CATS. He also coaches the boys junior varsity basketball team.

Jeremy Adams
English Literature Teacher
jadams@catsboston.com
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Jeremy Adams

English Literature Teacher
jadams@catsboston.com

BA, Modern Culture and Media, Brown University
MAT, English Education, Boston University

Jeremy Adams teaches World Literature for sophomores, ACT/SAT Prep. for juniors and seniors, and assists with the Global Scholars Program. Prior to joining CATS Academy, Jeremy taught English for 10 years in Florida, Nevada, and his home state of Massachusetts. He gained his TEFL certification in 2017 so that he could teach ESL at several language schools. Jeremy received his B.A. in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University and worked as a freelance music critic from 2005-2014, writing for publications such as RollingStone.com, The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, and Las Vegas Weekly. In time, however, he realized teaching and working with kids were his true callings, and he earned his M.A.T. in English Education from Boston University in 2012.

Michael Levine
English Literature Teacher
mlevine@catsboston.com
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Michael Levine

English Literature Teacher
mlevine@catsboston.com

MA in Creative Writing from Boston University
MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis
BA in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield
BA in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Michael Levine brings 22 years of experience teaching English and Creative Writing to CATS Academy Boston, where he has served as Purple House Dean, a dorm parent, and faculty advisor for The Griffin Review—the CATS Academy student literary magazine. This will be Michael’s 9th year at CATS. In previous incarnations, he taught English and served as 10th Grade Dean at Community School of Naples in Naples, Florida and as English and Arts faculty at Gann Academy in Waltham, MA. Michael holds a BA in Psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, a BA in English from the University of Illinois—Springfield, an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University, where he won an Academy of American Poets Prize. Michael has poems published in several notable journals, and was the 1997 Springfield, Illinois Poet of the Year. He is passionate about poetry and enjoys reading, writing, playing and listening to music, puns, going to museums, cheering on Boston sports teams, walking, playing disc golf, cooking and eating amazing food, and going on adventures with his two daughters.

Nicole Pisano-Gomes
English Literature Teacher
npisano-gomes@catsboston.com
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Nicole Pisano-Gomes

English Literature Teacher
npisano-gomes@catsboston.com

Nicole is an English Literature teacher at CATS Academy.

CATS Academy Boston, 2001 Washington Street, Braintree, Massachusetts, USA | +1 857 400 9700

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