The Literature and Composition Department is committed to developing and enhancing our students’ ability to think critically and express themselves effectively. The critical and aesthetic examination and analysis of classic and contemporary literature serves as a context for students’ development as critical thinkers and writers with their own creative voice. All students must complete four years of Literature and Composition classes.Close textual reading, process writing, and critical thinking skills drive the curriculum. A balanced literacy approach is also utilized.
The Literature and Composition curriculum includes the following components each term:
TAPA English Language Arts Team
Julie Cortese, Lower School English Language Arts Instructor
Julie hails from Long Island, NY. She holds a Bachelors Degree in English from SUNY Stony Brook. Most recently, she worked as a 7th & 8th grade English teacher at St. Patrick’s Middle School in Huntington, NY. When not in the classroom, Julie enjoys visual arts including sculpting and painting, and coaching girls’ softball.
Jared Farley, Upper School ELA Instructor and Special Educator
As a musician and a special educator, TAPA allows Jared to combine his two passions. Prior to coming to TAPA he was an inclusion teacher at Davies Vocational Technical High School, where he co-taught in social studies, Mathematics, and English. Jared received his bachelor's degree in History from the University of Rhode Island, and his Master's degree from Johnston & Wales University. His certifications are in Elementary Education, Elementary Special Education, and Secondary Education. He has been playing guitar for 26 years, and also plays bass and drums. In addition to his background as a Special Educator, Jared spent four years in the Air Force. During that time, he had the opportunity to attend four survival schools including; Land Survival (escape & evasion), Arctic survival, water survival, and Resistance training (which included a two day stay at a simulated prisoner of war camp). He also had the opportunity to participate in an archeological excavation with Brown University at the Great Temple in Petra, Jordan. Jared strongly believes in the arts integration model, and feels that the TAPA model can be a prototype for the future of education.
Mike Gore, Upper School ELA Instructor and Lead Teacher
Michael Gore is a local activist, artist, educator, partner, and parent. Their goal as an educator is to ensure that all students develop the skills necessary to independently and successfully envision and create the futures they want, and to overcome the obstacles and systems that might prevent them from doing so. They strive to help students apply critical analysis skills in the deep reading of text and media, the communication of powerful meaning in writing and speech, and the brave sharing of their own original artwork in order to create a better world. Originally from Jersey, with family from south-western Virginia as well as Villavicencio, Colombia, they moved to Providence in 2006 after falling in love with the city’s welcoming weirdness and creative embrace, the state’s natural beauty and coastline, and the incredible young people who passionately pursue their art and education here. They were a founding member of the Extraordinary Rendition Band (a local activist street band) and worked for a decade as an Advisor and in Alumni Support at the Met High School before seizing the incredible opportunity to apply their passions for arts, activism, and education here at TAPA. They believe passionately in the ability of education to transform lives, and in the rights of students to participate in the strongest educational opportunities possible, and they believe that any note is better than no note.
Christeen Hum Estrada, Lower School ELA Instructor
Though born and raised in the South, Rhode Island has been Christeen's home for the last 15 years. She was blessed to have a wonderful education at RIC where she earned a Bachelor's in Elementary Education with a concentration in Theater. She loves the arts, and whether its music, acting, dancing or painting, she thinks the arts make education fun for everyone and teaches the life skills that help children blossom into the adults of tomorrow.
In addition to her work at TAPA, Christeen works as the Director of Education at a local church in Providence. Christeen spends her free time with her adopted family and friends. When not with her family, Christeen spends time trying to relax and learn new things. She loves reading and working on her YA novels while taking sewing and cooking classes. She's currently trying to improve her woodworking skills, and knows that her time at TAPA will teach her something new too!
Megan Starr, Upper School ELA Instructor
Megan is currently the Literature Instructor for the 9th and 10th grades at TAPA. She holds a B.A. in Art History from Indiana University and a teaching certificate for secondary English from Providence College. Prior to coming to TAPA, Megan worked for 15 years in the field of Human Resources/Employee Development for small local companies as well as international Fortune 100 companies. She also managed a book store for two years, so teaching at TAPA allows her to revisit her passion for books and art.
If you want to learn more about Ms. Starr, check out the mini-documentary that TAPA Film Major Jovan J (Class of 2020) made about her here.