• Cooley Middle School

    Language Arts Syllabus

    Mrs. Arzola-Bass

    Instructor Information: 

    Denise Arzola-Bass

    Contact Me


    Office Hours: By Appointment 

    Welcome to 7th grade Language Arts.  With a lot of hard work, you will accomplish many amazing things. My goal is to be a great support system for you to grow as a learner and become inspired to love writing and reading.  This year we will be reading a variety of texts including short stories, plays, novels, poems, biographies, fiction, non- fiction/ informational, and many more. 

    Instructor Availability:

    I respond to emails and voice mails within 48 hours. Please note, weekends may be the following business day. If you need to speak with me in person, please contact me to schedule a time to talk.   

    About Myself:

    My name is Denise Arzola-Bass. This is my tenth-year teaching here at the Higley Unified School District. Overall, this will be my 18th year of teaching. I graduated from Western New Mexico University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Human Services. I also have a Masters in Special Education (K-12). When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family, camping, and visiting family back home.

    I am looking forward to working with your child, your family, and to a happy and productive school year.  Be assured that I will do my best to make this school year an enjoyable time for your middle schooler, but also a time filled with learning. It will be a great year!       

    Important Parent Information:

    Parent Vue / Student Vue is the online grade book for all student courses. Students and parents that need the login information can get it from the front desk with a driver’s license or ID. Cooley values family privacy and confidential information is listed on the Parent Vue / Student Vue portal, thus the need to prove identity. Please check on the online grade book frequently for updated assignments, scores, and notes about individual student performance in the class. Please see my teacher web page for more information. 

    Online Expectations for Students and Parents/Guardians and Online Etiquette for students can be found at the end of my syllabus. 


    By appointment with me (due to meetings) 

    There will also be specific days during tutoring that are used for test retakes, students will need to check those dates as well.

    General Course Description:

    This course is structured to provide you with a comprehensive study of grammar, composition, literature, and vocabulary.

    • Understanding grammar and its uses
    • Expanding vocabulary, sentence structure and spelling capabilities
    • Exploring the different genres of literature
    • Becoming familiar with literacy terms
    • Using composition to accurately express thoughts (identifying and practicing expository, persuasive, narrative, creative, and descriptive writing)


     Various books and literary materials

    • HMH Collections Curriculum
    • Reading Fluency Program
    • Canvas


    Online Supplies- At this time you will only need your laptops, computer, or tablet in order to access our class.  You may find that headphones or earbuds may assist you.  At times you will need to take notes, so make sure you have a writing tool: pen or pencil and some paper.

    When we meet in person-

    • Three Subject Notebook Specifically For Language Arts (it will be left in the classroom)
    • One two pocket folder specifically for Language Arts (will be collected
    • Pencil and erasers 
    • Highlighters, any color 
    • Glue Sticks or small stapler 
    • Expo markers (we can write on the desks!) 
    • 1 pack of wide-ruled loose leaf paper (to be used throughout the school year, will be collected
    • 1 pack 100 count 3"x 5" ruled index cards (will be collected on the first or second week of school, to be used throughout the school year) 
    • 2 boxes of tissues (or more is welcomed)


    90% - 100%  A 

    80% - 89%    B 

    70% - 79%    C 

    60% - 69%    D 

    0% - 50%       F 

    Percentage Values for Course Assignment

         Assignment                                               % of Final Grade

         Assessment/Projects/Essay                           70%

         Quizzes                                                        10%  

         Classwork/Practice/Notebook checks/et          10%

         Final Semester Exams                                   10%

    Grades will be complied through assignments, projects and assessments 

    To help ensure every student has an opportunity to master the material presented in class, students will be given the opportunity to retake quizzes and tests and resubmit assignments.  It is important to note that the retake police is not intended to be regular practice by students, but rather an opportunity for growth on a particular area of struggle. 

    Any student can retake any quiz or test within reasonable time, such at within 2 weeks from when grades are POSTED.  Arrangements must be made with the teacher before any retake; this includes turning in the CMS Retake Action Plan.  Retakes will not be given during class time; arrangements for before or after school drop off and pick will be made on the Retake Action Plan.  Once again, retakes must be taken within TWO WEEKS of the date of the original quiz, test or assignment grades was posted to Parent/Student Vue. 

    It is the student’s responsibility to check with the teacher and the ‘absent’ folder in the classroom to see what was missed if the student was absent. 

    Practice at Home:  Students will be asked to complete reading or class work that was not finished in class at home.  These items will be listed in the student folder when necessary. 

    Late Policy

     All assignments must be turned in on or before the due date to receive credit. The teacher will determine if assignment will be accepted after the due date. Adequate time is given for all assignments to be completed. If you are absent the day an assignment is due, the assignment will be due the day you return to class. You will have one day for each day absent to make up all other work.  If you have an emergency situation, please do not hesitate to contact me. Emergency situations are limited to such major events as death in the family, severe illness, or other catastrophes.  Please contact me if you have any concerns.

    Academic Honesty: 

    Academic Honesty is valued at CMS!  A student must always submit work that represents his or her original words or ideas.  If any words or ideas that are used do not represent the student’s original words or ideas, the student must cite all relevant sources.  Words or ideas that require citations include, but are not limited to, all hard copy or electronic publication, whether copyrighted or bot and all verbal or visual communication. 

    Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: 

    • Having a tutor, parent, sibling, friend complete any portion of your assignment 
    • Having a reviewer make extensive revisions to an assignment 
    • Copying work submitted by another student 
    • Using information from any source without proper citation 


    • Be Respectful – To staff, to classmates, to school property 
    • Be Prepared – Come to class ready to learn with completed work, materials, and a ready attitude 
    • Be Involved – Engage in class activities and discussions 
    • Believe that you CAN! 



    • Be on time for online log into Microsoft Teams before the scheduled class time and be ready to begin.
    • Have materials ready
    • Wear school appropriate clothes during video meetings and office hours
    • Follow online Etiquette

     In Person-

    • Be on time. This means you are in class when the tardy bell rings.
    • Be prepared for class with all necessary materials.
    • Be seated with the correct materials, working on Bell work, and ready for instruction within 60 seconds of the bell ringing.
    • Tardy Policy: 1stTardy-Warning; 2nd Tardy- Lunch Detention and Phone Call; 3rd Tardy and Beyond-Referral


    Participation is very important. We engage in many forms of learning and you are expected to participate in them all. Come prepared to participate in all class discussions. Be prepared to defend your ideas, to think critically, and to have fun. Have your charged laptops daily to class and only have it out when instructed by the teacher. Inappropriate use of an laptops during class time can lead to confiscation.  For online be prepared.


    Treat the teacher and all other students with respect. During the first days of school, the students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the conduct policy that I will use to guide our learning environment. I believe in a respectful, responsible, and safe learning and teaching environment and will be expecting cooperation from each student in maintaining this atmosphere. The school day is a workday for all of us, and our expectation is that we take advantage of every minute for learning. We will collaborate to build a community of learners by forming the foundational trust necessary to complete our yearlong goals. This starts with students knowing that they have a voice in their learning and that their contribution matters; every day.  See Online Etiquette expectations!

    Follow all classroom procedures in all classes, classroom rules for Room 218 are:

    • Be respectful to others in word and action. YOU are responsible and accountable for YOUR choices. This is shown by: RESPECT towards yourself, your fellow students, and your teachers
    • Sit in your assigned seat. Movement around the room requires permission.
    • We want to hear what you have to say, so please raise your hand first.
    • Please follow the directions the first time as we have many great things to do!
    • Strive to be here every day
    • Expect consequences when making a bad decision
    • Learn by paying attention, completing work, and asking questions
    • Do YOUR personal best!!
    • Classroom Management Policy:
    • My classroom will be following Cooley’s three-step system.
      1. Verbal Warning
      2. Student Sent to the Hall
    • Lunch Detention(s)
    • Parent Contact
      1. Referral

    For some issues, I may skip the first or second step.  Some offenses will require an immediate office referral with no warnings.

    SCHOOL EXPECTATIONS:  See School Pyramid

    If students are not following class expectations, CMS has instituted the Pyramid of Expectations across campus. 

    Electronics/Belongings Expectations: 

    All electronics will be off and in backpack, not to be used during class at all.  If used during class, it will be confiscated, and parents will need to pick them up for the student.  Backpacks will be placed in the back of the classroom during class instruction time. 

    If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact me.

    Thank you!  I look forward to a positive year!