8th Grade Accelerated/On-Level Language Arts Syllabus
Teacher page access: On the Higley Unified School District home page, click on the Cooley link—there you will find the teacher link. Simply scroll down to my name, and from there you can use the navigation buttons on the left side of my page. I recommend checking my teacher page regularly for access to student grades, upcoming events and bulletins, and student assignments/due dates.
I am usually on campus from 6:30-4:15; since the phone system goes directly to voice mail during school hours, the best way to reach me is via email. I check email several times per day, and I try to respond to emails at the earliest possible opportunity.
8th Accelerated Language Arts will utilize rigorous, high-level thinking strategies that are intended to prepare students for high school honors English classes; this class will, in fact, incorporate part of the 9th grade curriculum. Students will be required to justify responses using text evidence, make inferences, make text-to-world connections, compare and contrast, close read for deeper understanding, and provide explanations to support literary insights.
On-Level classes will emphasize improving writing fluency, justifying responses using textual evidence, and applying critical thinking skills to both literature and non-fiction.
Last fall, HUSD adopted a new Language Arts textbook titled Collections for use throughout the district; as a result, much of the new curriculum will differ significantly from previous years. The Collections textbook will remain in the classroom, but students will be able to access online versions of both the text and related assignments. Each student will be provided with a consumable copy of a close reader guide as part of the Collections set. While we now have a “pilot year” of the new curriculum under our belts, some growing pains will undoubtedly still arise from time to time.
Classroom Guidelines and Student Conduct
In order to create a positive learning environment for all students, certain expectations must be met by all individuals:
- Mutual respect for others (this is a two-way street—I would never expect a student to respect me if I did not offer the same basic courtesies)
- Be prepared and ON TIME—I start my class immediately after the bell rings. Have the required materials needed for the day—they will be posted on the board daily
- No cell phones, gum, or food (students are welcome to bring water)
- Follow classroom policies (signing out for restroom passes, backpacks, raising hand, remaining seated unless requested otherwise)
Failure to follow classroom guidelines, or infractions of school/district policy (fighting, insubordination, bullying, etc.), will result in one or more of the following:
- Informal conference with student
- Parent notification and lunch or after school detention (with administrative notification)
- Parent notification and referral to administration
The HUSD Code of Conduct can be found in the quick links section of the HUSD main page
Grades will be assessed in the following manner:
Assessments (tests/quizzes, projects, formal writing assignments, finals) =90% of grade
Practice assignments (in class reinforcement/remediation) =10% of grade
*Please note—while grade updates are provided via progress reports and quarterly grade reports, grades do not start over each quarter; quarters one and two comprise the first semester cumulative grade, and quarters three and four comprise the second semester cumulative grade.
- Students will be given one additional day for each day absent to complete makeup work; if there is a prolonged absence or unforeseen circumstances prevent the completion of work, exceptions can be made
- Per new school policy, students will be given a zero for any practice work that is not attempted; they will receive a minimum 50% score for any completed assessments
CMS Retest Policy and Extra Help Opportunities
Quiz and Test Retake Policy
To help ensure that every student has an opportunity to master the materials presented in class, students will be given the opportunity to retake summative assessments (with certain exceptions). It is important to note that the retake policy is not intended to be used as a regular practice by a student.
- Every student has the opportunity to retake an assessment
- Arrangements must be made with the teacher before any retake; this includes turning in the Cooley Middle School Retake Action Plan. Failure to complete the Retake Action Plan can/will result in teacher refusal of a retake.
- Retakes will not be given during class time; arrangements for before or after school testing must be made on the Retake Action Plan. A list of available times will be posted on the board for each assessment.
- Retakes must be taken within TWO WEEKS of the date the original assessment was posted to parent/studentvue. The retake schedule will be posted in class.
- Any practice materials for standards being assessed must be completed and turned in to the teacher (teacher may assign additional practice if warranted)
- Diagnostic tests and district/final exams are exempt from retake opportunities
- Unless I have a meeting or a prior commitment, I am more than happy to schedule time before or after school to provide students with additional help. I ask that students request the assistance time 24 hours in advance so I can ensure that I have no scheduling conflicts.
- During assessment retake windows, I often designate specific “tutoring” times for additional practice and reinforcement that will be posted on the board; otherwise, see above.
Utilizing the HUSD Teacher Pages
My teacher page can be viewed by both students and parents to check grades, preview upcoming calendar events, and access instructions/materials for assignments; any general bulletins/updates will be found on the home page. I update my teacher page regularly, and it is the expectation that absent students check the teacher page first for any work that might have been missed. Useful links include:
- Grade Access (ParentVue/StudentVue link)—use to access grades (parents: if you are new to the district, you can get an access password from the front office)
- Practice—due dates and instructions for completing assignments (will often include links to download the original document if misplaced)
- Calendar—upcoming school/classroom events (school pictures, upcoming assessments, holidays, etc.)
Students will be issued iPads in a manner similar to last year; students will be expected to complete a Digital Citizenship overview.
- Refer to district guidelines regarding handling/possession/return of iPads
- Like any electronic device, they must be kept safe
Most of the supplies listed below are available in my classroom if a student does not have the necessary materials on a particular day; the only materials I do not have for student use are identified with an asterisk.
- *5 subject spiral notebook (HIGHLY recommended—one notebook will be used for the entire school year)
- #2 pencils
- Blue/black pen
- Red pen for editing
- Dry erase marker
- One package of lined 3x5 notecards
- Loose leaf notebook paper
- Highlighter (any color)