NEISD English teachers have high levels of knowledge and understanding about literacy, can design effective learning experiences for all their students, can successfully monitor learning and provide feedback that assists students to progress, can attend to the more attitudinal attributes of learning (especially developing self-efficacy and mastery motivation), and can provide defensible evidence of the positive impacts of their teaching on student learning. (Adapted from Visible Learning by John Hattie)
NEISD high school students will develop as readers and writers through continued practice and informed guidance in both individual and collaborative settings. Students will gain knowledge by analyzing contexts and audiences and acting on that analysis to comprehend and create texts. Students will develop critical thinking by analyzing, synthesizing, interpreting, and evaluating ideas, information, situations, and texts. Students will become advocates of their learning with ample opportunities for reflection on what they know, what they need to know, and how they can demonstrate that they know it. Their abilities as readers and writers will continue to grow and diversify as they move into new settings where expected outcomes expand, multiply, and diverge.
Choice Reading Initiative
To fulfill its commitment to developing NEISD students into fully-realized critical readers, thinkers, and writers, students must continuously be allowed to take ownership of their reading choices throughout the year. The goal of the NEISD Summer Reading Program is to promote student choice in reading. Choice reading is defined as pleasure reading, voluntary reading, and independent reading for a wide range of personal and social purposes. It can take place in and out of school, at any time. Research shows that choice reading enhances students’ reading comprehension, language, vocabulary development, general knowledge, and empathy for others, as well as their self-confidence as readers, motivation to read throughout their lives, and positive attitudes toward reading.
Through collaborative effort amongst English/Language Arts teachers from across the district, each Pre-AP and AP grade level has adopted a thematic topic and list of accompanying texts to promote reading in academic and personal settings, both inside and outside of the classroom. The selected titles on each summer reading list represent a variety of voices, cultures, perspectives, and ideologies. The goal is to provide students with an abundance of choices in texts they interact within an effort to develop their understanding, perspective, and appreciation for the people, places, and ideas that comprise their world. We hope to extend this initiative to our general education students in the upcoming years.
Sample of Courses Offered
English I-IV general education courses:
are grounded in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or the TEKS. Some of the major goals for our students in these courses are as follows: access and use new words in authentic ways; apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret and evaluate texts and defend with evidence; communicate effectively through writing and speaking for a variety of audiences and purposes; listen critically to process information and comprehend a speaker’s message and intent; use inquiry and research to discover new information; formulate questions and think critically; continually grow as readers, writers, listeners, and speakers; and participate productively in teams.
The English IV: College Transitions:
course may be taken as a substitute for traditional English IV and is designed to prepare students for college and career readiness through metacognitive and cognitive practices. The course focuses on reading and writing as not only sills but also as contents that can be researched and studied. Throughout the course, students maintain a portfolio and continually work to revise and improve their writing abilities. Students who complete the course with a 75 average or higher will be TSI exempt for UTSA and Alamo Colleges.
The Pre-AP English I & II courses:
address the general education standards, but, also, emphasize the higher-level and critical thinking skills of analysis, evaluation, and synthesis in preparation for the Advanced Placement courses. Students write more demanding, compositions and read more challenging text that those assigned in the general education classes. A variety of projects involving individual and cooperative work encourages creative, productive thinking and accommodates different learning styles. Note: Students enrolled will have a summer reading assignment. See Choice Reading Initiative below.
The AP English III (Language and Composition) course:
aligns with an introductory college-level rhetoric and writing curriculum, which requires students to develop evidence-based analytic and argumentative essays that proceed through several stages or drafts. Students evaluate, synthesize, and cite research to support their arguments. Throughout the course, students develop a personal style by making appropriate grammatical choices. Additionally, students read and analyze the rhetorical elements and their effects in non-fiction texts, including graphic images as forms of text, from many disciplines and historical periods. Note: Students enrolled will have a summer reading assignment. See Choice Reading Initiative below.