• Dear Parents/Guardians,       


    Welcome to Sossaman Middle! We are excited to be your student’s 8th grade English teachers this year. I am so excited to be able to work with all of your students and to be able to get to know them. 


    Who are we?

    I am Mandy Truman: wife, mother, teacher, friend. My husband and I have been married for 6 years. We have two sons, Oliver and James. We also have 2 super cute puppies. I received a BA in English Education and History Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho, and completed my student teaching at Summit Academy in Mesa. I spent my first year teaching at Riverview High School, teaching English and History. I spent two years teaching English at Smith Junior High School. This will be my second year at Sossaman Middle School as an 8th grade English teacher.


    I am Michelle Bordonaro: wife, mother, teacher and advocate.  I have been married for 13 years and we have 2 girls, Emma and Abby.  I received a BS in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University and completed my teacher certification through Rio Salado College.  I taught for 2 years in the Murphy School District before staying home to raise my girls. Once they started their school careers, I made the decision to reenter the workforce and Higley was my first choice.  I taught for 4 years at Centennial Elementary before making the move to Sossaman.


    Course Description

    In reading, students will focus on comprehension and analytical reading skills through the study of a variety of authors and genres. Students will learn how successful readers think and visualize when they read, interact with, and examine text.  In writing, we will focus on construction narrative, expository, persuasive, and research pieces. Additionally, we will learn how to write meaningful and concise short responses, summaries, and be able to cite text references.



    The curriculum for this course aligns with the Arizona State Standards for Language Arts and the new College and Career Readiness Standards, which may be viewed on the Arizona Board of Education website, http://www.ade.az.gov/. We use the following textbook: Collections, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017


    Textbook/Novels, Short Stories, Plays and Poetry:

    Students will be responsible for adhering to the assigned reading schedules for classroom novel studies.  Classroom discussions/seminars, activities, reflective writing, and assessments will be based on the readings.  Students will be notified in advance of any novel studies used to anchor the textbook selections.

    *Note:  Students may wish to obtain a copy of the anchor texts from the library, bookstore, or via digital download for at home reading and/or annotation assignments. 


    Outside Reading Requirement:

    In addition to keeping pace with daily classroom readings and the anchor texts, students will be responsible for reading self-selected, level appropriate novels from a quarterly themed list throughout the school year.  An accountability project/assignment will be assigned each quarter to correlate to the self-selected readings. Project/assignment sheets, guidelines, and rubrics will be supplied and posted on Canvas for student and parent access. 


    *Important Note: Parents must approve all self-selected outside literature selections.  Students should select new (not previously read) novels for outside reading.

    Homework/Homework Policy:

    Students are expected to read 20-30 minutes every evening from their O.R.R. novels. You will occasionally have additional homework in our class.  These assignments are for enrichment, exercise, practice and review. Other assignments may include work that was not completed in class. Students can access homework via Canvas.

    Students must turn in their homework within the first 2 minutes of class starting. If it is turned in after the first 2 minutes it is considered late and will result in ASD.

    After School Detention (ASD)

    SMS staff and administration believe in the value and importance of teaching students responsibility and accountability.  As a result, students may be assigned After School Detention (ASD). ASD will be held three days a week. Students who are assigned ASD will serve on the next scheduled ASD day. Students will not serve on the day it is assigned to allow parents the opportunity to make arrangements to pick up their child.  District transportation cannot be provided for ASD. Students will need to be picked up no later than 4:30PM. ASD may be assigned by a teacher for the following reasons:

    -Tardy to Class    -Unprepared for Class (missing materials, uncharged iPad, etc…)        -Failure to submit an assignment


    Plagiarism/Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is expected on all assignments.  Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated in this class. It’s that simple. This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Copying assignments
    • Dishonesty during testing
    • Presenting the ideas or writings of another as your own (plagiarism)
    • Copying directly from group members when the assignment calls for individual ideas
    • Allowing others to use your work for the purposes of cheating


    Any student caught cheating will receive a failing grade for the assignment, a referral to the office, and his or her parents will be notified.

    This policy includes working on language arts work in another class. Do not do this without direct permission from the teacher of that class. Be aware that all of the 8th grade teachers know to take away the work and contact one of us. Working on another teacher’s assignments in class is a sign of disrespect to the teacher of that class and we will not accept any assignments that were completed this way. This also means that assignments from other teachers will not be allowed in our classroom as well.


    Work Submission:

    All submitted work must have a proper MLA heading written or typed in the upper right hand corner of the page.  Essays must follow MLA guidelines. Students who turn in work without a name will need to track and retrieve their assignments from the “Unacceptable” tray.  We will not grade an assignment until a student’s name is on it. We cannot grade work that we cannot read. Messy work will be returned to be redone legibly and then resubmitted.


    Essays and Projects:

    Work must be submission ready—this means typed, printed, and stapled.  It is the student’s responsibility to type and print papers prior to the assigned due date.  You must consult with the teacher before the submission due date if you have printer issues. E-mailed papers will not be accepted.

    *If you do not have access to the Internet a hard copy of assignments will be supplied to your child.
    **If you do not have access to a printer a note with parent signature must accompany the hand written assignment.

    Daily assignments:
    A completed, quality effort assignment must include complete sentences for short answer responses.


    It is the student’s responsibility to retrieve missed handouts/assignments from the “Missed Assignments” bin in the back of the room. Assignments for the week are posted on the homework board, as well as on Canvas. Students have one day for each excused absence to turn in missing work. In the event of an extended absence, personal arrangements will be made.

    Help Time:
    If a student needs additional help with an assignment beyond the academic school day or needs access to technology, please notify us before the due date. Students may schedule a help session for additional support.

    You are expected to be in your seat with required materials ready and actively engaged in the warm-up activity at the start of the class period. If you are running late from another class you must have a pass to excuse the tardy.  Unexcused tardies may result in a discipline referral.



    In order to get the most out of each day in class, you will get 4 passes a quarter to go to the bathroom. That means you are only allowed to leave the class to go to the bathroom 4 times during the whole quarter. That way you will get the most instructional time possible for our class. Any passes not used at the end of the quarter will be used for either extra credit points. If there is an emergency and you do not have any passes left, let me know and we will figure out a plan for you to make up the time missed.

    Grading Policy:
    All grades will be based on points and weighted using the scale below.  In 8th grade, grades are cumulative for each semester (Fall and Spring). Grades will be updated regularly; it is highly recommended that both students and parents login to the online gradebook weekly to monitor progress. The following are the weighted categories for Language Arts classes:

    Weighing Scale:

    60% of grade

    Assessments (Test/Projects/Essays/Quizzes/Notebook Checks)

    20% of grade 

    Practice (Homework/Warm-Ups/Class Activities/Interactive Notebook)

    20% of grade

    Final Exams/Benchmarks 

    *Grades will be posted and available online using the Synergy gradebook system.


    A = 90% – 100%   B = 80% – 89%   C = 70% – 79% D = 60% – 69% F =59% or below


    A teacher has the discretion not to accept assignments from students who do not meet minimal standards of completion. Any assignment that remains un-submitted at the end of the unit of study or two weeks after the original due date (teacher discretion) will remain/be entered as a zero in the grade book. 


    Retakes/ Redos are available for all students at the teacher’s discretion.  Students will be required to submit a retake/redo plan sheet and provide evidence of relearning efforts before assignments/tests can be redone. A parent signature must also be accompanied with the plan and then the student will be provided a date for retake. Students are NOT eligible for a retake until all missing work related to the unit has been submitted.

    Students have a two week window from the original submission due date to turn in major missing assignments (essays, projects). All redos/retakes must be completed during the unit of study, not beyond.

    If students are allowed to use resources on an assessment, a retake may not be an option.

    Final submission essays are not eligible for resubmission/regrading.


    Needed Materials and Classroom Donations

    • Composition Notebook (kept in classroom)
    • Pencils and blue/black ballpoint pens
    • Editing pen (red)
    • Sticky notes
    • Index cards
    • 1 pack of multi-colored highlighters
    • Colored pencils
    • Pencil sharpener
    • 1 Expo Marker
    • Earbuds (iPhone 7 earbuds are not device compatible)

    Classroom Donations

    • Tissues
    • Disinfecting Wipes
    • Tape
    • Highlighters


    Mrs. Truman’s  and Mrs. Bordonaro’s Guidelines for Success

    Behavior and Discipline

    Students are expected to arrive to class on time, be prepared with books and materials, and show respect.  Students are also expected to adhere to the schoolwide and classroom rules and expectations at all times. 

    • Only pencils and blue or black ink will be permitted in class.  Colored pens will be used for grading purposes only. Occasionally, colored pencils or markers will be needed. 
    • Electronic devices (cell phones, i-pods, video games, etc.) are not permitted unless they are being used for instructional purposes. If you are using your cell phone during class it will be confiscated and turned in to the front office for a parent to pick it up.
    • No gum chewing, eating, or drinking (juices, colas, etc.).  Water bottles are encouraged!
    • Hats and hoods must be removed within the building.


    Spartan Success Tips

    • Record all assignments to be completed at home.
    •  Actively take notes in your Interactive Notebook.
    •  Complete assignments promptly and place them in your work folder.
    •  Save and organize all papers until the end of each semester or as otherwise instructed.
    •  Remember to put a proper MLA heading on your work.
    •  Submit QUALITY work (neat, thorough responses, complete sentences, evidence of thought)
    • Read for a minimum of 20 minutes every night.
    •  Come to class on time and prepared to work.
    •  Keep absences to a minimum.
    •  Be accountable for your own work, speech, and actions.
    •  Actively participate.
    •  Have a positive attitude and ask for help if you are struggling with an assignment.
    •  Pursue a growth mindset.

    Contact Information:

    If you have any questions or concerns please email both of us at amanda.truman@husd.org and michelle.bordonaro@husd.org. You can also call us either before or after school at 480-279-8541. Please fill out the google form with your information. If both parents want to be contacted please each fill out the form. We are so excited to spend this year learning and growing with your student. Thank you!


    Mrs. Mandy Truman

    Mrs. Michelle Bordonaro