Pre-AP English 9

Fall 2014


Dear Parents/Guardians,

Hello, my name is Jessica Aguirre-Cantrell. I am your child's 9th grade Pre-AP English teacher. I am excited about this upcoming semester and look forward to working with you and your child to make it a success! There are a few things to remember in order to make this semester a successful one; these include the following: hard work, communication, keeping up with student progress, and understanding my classroom procedures.

This syllabus contains information regarding important aspects of our classroom. I ask that you and your child please read this syllabus carefully and sign and return the provided signature page and complete the student profile page. The signed agreement page will be the first grade of the semester. This syllabus will clear up any questions you may have. The student profile page will help me to help me get to know your child better and will help me adapt my lessons to best suit their needs and interests. In addition to this packet, I have provided you with a course description, policies and procedures, and educational resources.

It is one of my responsibilities as your child's teacher to be available for contact with you about student progress, grades, and assignments. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at . I will answer all emails as timely as possible; typically, expect a response within 24 hours of your message. If you need to get in touch with me during the school day, please call me at school from 11:50-1:50 during my planning period. The school's telephone number is 256-851-3220. If you ever have any questions, please refer back to this syllabus in order to find the best way to contact me. Feel free to contact me anytime that you have a question or concern.

Your involvement and attention to your child's education is crucial to their success. I am willing put forth an extra effort to ensure that your child meets his/her maximum potential, provided that you and your child are willing to work with me. Please help me in keeping your child on track with assignments, tests, and attendance. I cannot stress enough the importance of coming to school every day. Attendance alone will greatly improve your child’s classroom experience. If your child has any special needs or disabilities that I might be unaware of, please let me know.

I look forward to working with you and your child to make this semester an exciting learning experience. I will be working very hard to ensure that your child’s time in my classroom is beneficial and enjoyable at the same time. I hold high expectations for all of my students and will work very hard to hold students accountable. I can assure you that your student will leave my classroom ready for the next level of their education.

Thank you,

Jessica Aguirre-Cantrell

Pre-AP English 9

Hazel Green High School

FALL 2014

Pre-AP English 9

Instructor: Mrs. Aguirre-Cantrell

Contact Information:

School (256) 851-3220


Planning Period- 3rd Block 11:50-1:50

Classroom blog-

Course Description: Pre-AP English 9 is a challenging course meant for students who enjoy critically reading and discussing literature as well as writing about the literature on an analytical level. The course is demanding but with hard work, organization, and attentiveness in class, students will excel. Pre-AP English 9 is composed of a variety of world literature with comprehensive grammar, usage, and composition skills. Literature will be used to focus on selected themes and comprehension skills. Writing will emphasize developed sentence structure, completeness of the paragraph, and the composition of multiple-paragraph essays. Grammar, usage, and mechanics will provide students with mastery of capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and agreement rules of standard usage. The study of selected literature includes poetry, the short story, myth, drama, non-fiction, and the novel. Short stories will focus on the literary elements exhibited by various authors. Vocabulary study will also be incorporated throughout the course, with primary focus on words encountered in the literature selections. The course will also integrate research, communication, and presentation skills within the literature and composition selections.

General Studies: Grammar, vocabulary enrichment, literary elements and devices, genre studies, author studies, non-fiction, novels, drama, short stories, poetry, character education, writing skills, public speaking skills, presentation skills, research, technology applications, and individual reading assignments.

Curriculum Overview: The material covered in this course integrates critical strands needed for future AP courses in English Language and Literature as guided by the NMSI (National Math and Science Initiative) program formally known as LTF. The curriculum meets the Alabama Course of Study College and Career Readiness Standards.

Note: All components of this syllabus are subject to change. I will notify students of any such changes, in the event that they occur.

Required Supplies:

*Students must have all of these classroom supplies, bring them to class each day, and keep them organized. This will better prepare students for class work and enable them to succeed.

3-Ring Binder

5 Tab Dividers for grammar, vocabulary, writing, literature, and poetry sections.

Loose leaf paper (NO SPIRAL NOTEBOOKS for class assignments)

Blue/black ink pens or pencils

Index cards for vocabulary and literary terms (Approximately 200 needed- I suggest spiral bound)

Student planner (anything that can be dedicated for student planning, due dates, and assignments)

Post-it notes

*During the course of this semester, additional supplies may required such as art supplies, notebooks, and other materials necessary for class projects.


As per board policy, the grading system at HGHS consists of daily grades and test grades. Test grades count 60% and daily grades count 40%. All major assignments such as tests, papers, and projects will account for the total test grade percentage. Homework, quizzes, and other “check point” type assessments will account for the total daily grade percentage. Students will be notified of the assignment's percentage weight towards their class average.

*Classroom rules:

I expect the following rules to be followed. Consequences will result if they are not followed; there will be no warnings given. Following these rules will lead to a smoother, more enjoyable classroom experience. As young adults, these rules should be very easy to follow.

1. Be punctual. Students should be in their assigned seats when the bell rings. After the 1st tardy, students will be assigned detention as per school policy.

2. Be prepared. This includes all supplies/materials needed for class such as pencil/pen, paper, books, homework assignments, etc.

3. Be alert. Students should pay attention in class, stay awake, and keep their heads up at all times unless there is an illness. In this case, students will be referred to the school nurse.

4. Be respectful. Students are to respect me and other students. This includes not speaking while I am speaking (or while another student is speaking). Students must raise their hands to speak and to leave their seats. I expect students to have open minds and demonstrate courtesy in my classroom. Show kindness to your teacher and your classmates.

5. Be positive. Focus on the good. Do not bring a negative attitude to class or to assignments you do not like. No whining about classwork, reading selections, etc.

6. Follow ALL of my directions. Failure to follow directions will result in consequences. This applies to homework assignments.

*Trojan pledges OR automatic detention will be assigned for any rules that are broken. These include tardiness, unpreparedness, putting head down on desk, sleeping, disrespectful behavior, cell phone infractions, lining up before dismissal, complaining about assignments aloud, etc. My classroom rules, as well as all policies listed in the student Code of Conduct mandated by the Madison County Board of Education will always be enforced. Violators of the Code of Conduct rules will be handled as outlined by the BOE. Please note general guidelines for dress code, body piercings, cell phones/electronic devices, and attendance. If students are given the opportunity to write a “Trojan Pledge” for an infraction and they choose not to complete it, they will be assigned a detention the following day. Please see me for any questions with this policy.

Trojan Pledges- as a consequence for not following classroom procedures, I assign Trojan Pledges. This is a “write-off” type consequence that emphasizes the importance of self-motivation and discipline. Students that are assigned Trojan Pledges must handwrite the assigned pledge and place their name, date, and reason for receiving the pledge at the top. I will keep these for documentation purposes.

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Trojan Pledge


I am intelligent; there is nothing I cannot do.

Yesterday’s failures are behind me.

Tomorrow’s successes are yet before me, and I will make today the best day of all, for this day begins the rest of my life.

I am responsible for my own life story. My life is too precious to squander.

I will respect myself and will treat others with the same respect that I want and deserve.

If I discipline myself, others will not need to.

I will maintain order and control of my actions at all times.

I will try, to the best of my ability, to be the better person that I can be.

My school is an institution of wisdom.

I have come to Hazel Green High School with determination to achieve.

I take responsibility for my actions and accomplishments at school.

My teachers and classmates may assist and encourage me, but only I can make the decision and commitment to learn.

I am committed to excellence.

I’m a true Trojan…too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, too caring to be indifferent, too determined to be defeated.

*Classroom Procedures:

I expect the following procedures to be followed. I will not make exceptions. Please look over these procedures closely. You are responsible for following them.

Academic expectations/behavior expectations— I expect all students to perform to the best of their ability. This means academically and behaviorally. I set the bar very high for ALL of my students. I expect everyone to do their part to see that they succeed in academics and behavior wise in the classroom setting. I believe hard work can make a great difference in achieving this!

Food: I do NOT allow food or drink to be brought into my classroom. These are distractions and cause unnecessary problems. Food and drink are only permitted as rewards in the classroom.

Entering the classroom—I expect everyone to enter the classroom quickly in order to begin your assignments on time. You should enter the classroom and be in your assigned seat when the bell rings. If you are not in class when the bell rings, you are counted tardy. Once you are seated, immediately begin on your bell-ringer assignment. Students should be seated quietly and working once I enter the room.

Tardiness—I will be standing at my classroom door everyday as class begins. If you enter the classroom after the bell rings without a note, you will be marked tardy. If you are not in your seat when the tardy bell rings, you are counted tardy, no excuses. Detention will be assigned after the first tardy (warning).

Checking Attendance— I will record attendance at the beginning of class while you are working on your Bell-Ringer Assignment. It is imperative that you are seated in your assigned seat when the bell rings. If you are not in your seat when the bell rings, you will be marked absent/tardy.

Seating—In my class, I require that you sit in an assigned seat. This is not a punishment. If you are not in your assigned seat when I take roll, you will be marked absent. I reserve the right to move your assigned seat at any time. If there is a serious reason as to why your assigned seat needs to be changed, please see me after class.

Talking in class—If you need to get my attention for any reason, you must raise your hand in order to be recognized. If I am busy with another student, teacher, or parent, wait patiently to be called on.

Hall Passes—There will be no hall passes out during my class unless it is an absolute emergency. Instructional time is valuable. Please come to class prepared to work. Use the restroom and gather materials between classes. If you have a medical concern for which you need a hall pass, please inform me of the situation beforehand, and I will be glad to accommodate.

Leaving your assigned seat— Students must raise their hand to exit their seats for any reason.

Board Heading— On the top left hand corner of the board I will list the date, bell-ringer assignment, what we will cover in class, State Standards for the day, and homework for that night. The board will be updated daily for your convenience. You are responsible for writing down assignments daily.

Paper Heading—Every paper that is turned in to me should contain the proper heading in the top right hand corner. After the first full week of class, I will begin taking off 10 points for an incorrect heading. The heading is as follows:

Student Name



Assignment Name

Homework—I will write all homework assignments on the board. Please, make sure that you look at this area of the board before leaving class each day. I will cover your homework assignment daily. Sometimes homework may not be assigned in the form of written homework, but if reading assignments are made, they MUST be completed.

It is my policy to only assign homework that is necessary for development of skills. Homework is not a form of punish. Since this is an advanced English class, there will be heavy responsibility for students to keep up with their assignments whether they are written assignments or reading selections. Grammar work, reading selections, comprehension questions, and writing assignments will be most often assigned. It is imperative that students keep up with assigned readings in order to maintain progress in this course.

Late Work—Any work turned in after the due date will be accessed a 20% deduction per day. Due dates will be clearly displayed on the board.

Emailing work—In the event that your printer does not work, you MUST hand-write the assignment and lose points. I will not allow students to email me their work or print their work during my class. It is due before class begins.

Cheating/Plagiarism—I expect complete honesty in my classroom. Any form of cheating (including plagiarism) will not be tolerated and will result in a zero on the assignment. Plagiarism will be discussed in depth at the beginning of the semester and before your research paper assignment.

Dismissal—It is important that you remain seated until I have dismissed you. If the bell rings, do not leave your seat until I indicate that class is over. Students should not stand up in anticipation of the bell ringing. Students that pack up early will be assigned to stay late. We work bell to bell in my classroom.

Monitoring student performance on a regular basisI will regularly monitor student performance by assessment of their work. Certain methods that will be used in class will include: in-class discussions, cooperative learning, homework, quizzes, tests, projects, and research. All student grades will be entered in I-NOW.

Providing regular effective feedback to students and parents I will do my best to provide regular feedback to parents and students. If there is a problem in class, I will contact parents as a proactive measure. Please provide me with a good time and number to call/ valid email address. As well as notifying parents of problems in class, I believe it is a good idea to notify parents of good work that students do, so do NOT be alarmed if I call or email for a job well done! J

Modifying and providing for exceptional students It is my job as a teacher to be aware of all students’ special needs. It is my priority to provide assistance for all disabilities/exceptionalities that might require special materials, services, or assistance. I will review and follow all guidelines made in student IEP plans. I will make modifications for exceptional students so that they are given opportunity to participate in learning activities in the same manner and at the same time as the other students, participate in assessment activities, have access to additional material to reinforce learning, have access to additional material to extend learning, and have opportunities to work with other students.

TechnologyOur school is fortunate to have technology available to use in order to better instruction. Any damages that occur to technology will be the responsibility of the parent/student to replace. The Madison County Code of Conduct states that parents are responsible financially for students’ destructive acts against school property.

As well as ensuring that technology is not damaged, students are responsible for using these resources responsibly. Students are not allowed to be on any internet sites, computer programs, or off task while our class is using technology in the classroom. Students that are using technology for reasons other than class-work/projects will be referred to the office immediately and risk having their computer privileges suspended indefinitely. Please talk to your students about taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity we have been given.

Make up Work:

It is the responsibility of the student to obtain assignments given in class for the days that he/she is absent. Students must have an excused absence to make up work and tests. Excused absences will be made at the attendance office before school. You have 3 days after an absence to turn in your excuse to the attendance office. If an assignment was given before an absence, it will be due upon the arrival of the student.

*You can find missed assignments online on my class blog page. Please visit—

All of the material covered in class will be added daily. To make up a test/assignment, please schedule a time on Wednesday after school to complete it. If you have questions about make up work, please see me AFTER class. Do not ask me during instructional time for missed assignments.

Parent Resources:

*Please take advantage of text message and email notifications through Remind 101. This resource will provide notifications to students and parents to issue communication and reminders in a safe, school-friendly way. I have attached instructions for signing up for this service if you are interested. Communication is key to a successful year! Your child will greatly benefit from this reminder service.

*Please also keep up with class progress and assignments through the use of our classroom blog. Visit .

*If you are not already subscribing to the school messenger service, please take the opportunity to sign up through ListServ®. To join, sign up visit > > click on Services > click on Join School Listserv > click on the email confirmation.


I utilize a service which allows me to send out reminder notifications to parents and students. These reminders will remind parents and students of upcoming tests, projects, assignments, progress reports, and report cards. This website, Remind 101, provides a safe way for teachers to text message or email students and parents. You will be able to sign up for this service at no cost without ever making your cell phone number available.

Once a parent or student subscribes, Remind101 will ask for the student’s or parent’s name so that the teacher can identify him/her. The website never reveals phone numbers of neither the teacher nor the student/parent. It is simply a reminder message. Parents/students cannot reply back to the text. If you have a question or concern about your student, please email me at .

Standard messaging rates apply.

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Agreement page & Student Profile (To be completed by parents/guardians)

Each student has been provided with a hard copy agreement signature page and a student profile page. These must be completed and turned in for a grade for recording purposes.