I'm so excited to start this school year with everyone. I am sending this letter out so both parents and students are aware of the expectations in my Language Arts class. Junior high is a whole new experience where students are expected to be responsible for their own learning and parents are expected to let go of the reigns as far as their child's education goes. It will require an open mind and a positive attitude from everyone involved in order to make students successful.
Parents/Guardians: Now is the year for you to get back some of your "me time" as your child grows up and takes on the responsibility of their education in seventh grade. They are going to come across new challenges both academically and socially but will also experience new successes. They need a parent/guardian as a guide more than ever, but the important word is guide. They no longer need to have their hand held in or out of the classroom. Please encourage your student to reach out to me themselves if they have a question or concern. This will help to improve their self-advocacy and problem-solving skills. I will be encouraging students to do this in class and via email if they get stuck on homework/assignments.
If a student is absent, they are responsible for talking to me about makeup work and knowing when they need to complete the work by. If a student has missing work in the grade book, they are responsible for talking to me about it and figuring out a solution. If students do not understand a score that they received, they are responsible for asking me about it. This may be new and/or difficult for students to get used to, but this is such an important skill for them to start learning. Self-advocating will help students feel confident when asking questions and make them more comfortable talking to adults about their concerns.
I look forward to working with you this year to help guide your student in reaching their potential and navigating the crazy journey we call junior high. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. Email is the best way to communicate with me since it is more accessible to me than my school voicemail is.
Students: Now is your time to shine! My expectations are extremely high but that is only because I know that you can meet them. (Read the smores bulletin board, my students last year were also aware of this!) Seventh grade gives you the opportunity to be in control of your learning, but you must be willing to work hard, accept and learn from mistakes, and ask for help when you need it. Even though after some time I will know you well enough to recognize when you're having a bad day, I will never be a mind reader. If you do not ask for help when something is confusing, I am only able to see that once I am grading your work. After it is graded, you may receive help and clarification in tutoring, but the original grade will not be changed. Ask for help as soon as you feel stuck.
Grading is based on accuracy, not just effort. In elementary school, you may have been given grades based off of completion. That is typically NOT the case in my class. You are graded based off accuracy so that you can see where you are excelling and where you still need to improve. Since this is Language Arts, this also includes your conventions in writing. Conventions include spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. If you are not the greatest speller, become best friends with the dictionary. If you can't figure out if the sentence you wrote is complete or incomplete, ask me. There are many ways that we can work on these skills together. No one is perfect, and writing is tough. I understand that and am here to help. If you are receiving low scores because of accuracy, come to tutoring, email me while working on assignments at home, or schedule a time to come talk to me before or after school. Take control of your Language Arts grade and advocate for yourself.
Late work will only be accepted up to five days after the original due date. For each day that an assignment is late, 10% will be taken off of the ORIGINAL SCORE YOU WOULD HAVE RECEIVED. For example, if you turn in some assignment two days late, 20% will be taken off of the score you would have received if it had been turned in on time. If you would have received an 80%, it automatically becomes a 60% because it was two days late. The grade goes from a B to a D, just because you didn’t take control of turning your assignment in on time. If you try to turn in an assignment more than five days late, I will not accept it and the grade will be a zero in the grade book. This applies to every assignment, whether it is an essay, warm up, class work assignment, homework assignment, etc.
No name papers will be put in a folder that you are responsible for looking at throughout the week. I will not remind you to look in the folder, take control of remembering to do that. AFTER ONE WEEK, ALL OF THE NO NAMES IN THE FOLDER ARE THROWN AWAY. If you forget to put your name on an assignment after first quarter, it is up to you to redo the assignment for late credit before the five day limit is up. With 140 students, I do not have the extra time to determine who a paper belongs to or grade work that is three weeks late.
You are in control of any missing work that shows up in the grade book. It is so important for you to check Infinite Campus every night to keep up with you grades. As soon as you see something is missing, check the no name folder first, then come talk to me. If I tell you that I don't have a paper, then it means I don't have it. I will let you go through that class period's stack of papers while I go through the others, but if it is not there, you will need to figure out a solution. Double check your backpack and folders, look at home that night, and if you still can't find it, prepare to redo the assignment before the five late days are up. Everyone makes mistakes and forgets things occasionally, including me, but it's important to fix the mistake as soon as possible.
"Did we do anything when I was gone yesterday?" This question is not productive after being absent. If you were absent, expect makeup work. You have the same amount of days that you were absent to make up the work missed for full credit. For example, if you had the flu for three school days then you have three school days to make up the work. After those days have passed, the assignment is considered late. A good way to be in control of your absent work is emailing me before the absence or as soon as you can during the absence. If there is a trip or funeral planned in advance, talk to me before you leave to get the work. If you are sick, email me when you start to feel better, so you can get a head start on the makeup work. Students who emailed me like this last year had very minimal, sometimes even no makeup work when they got back if they worked during the absence.
If you need to schedule tutoring please make sure that this is done with advance notice. Each teacher will have a specific day that they are available to stay for scheduled tutoring. This is up to YOU to schedule. This is not up to your parents and your teachers will not remind you that you need to schedule tutoring for quiz makeups or to fill you in on assignments that you missed from being absent. The team newsletter has the schedule with teachers’ availability and directions for when you need to schedule tutoring by. If you come to a teacher’s classroom after school for tutoring without previously scheduling it, we will tell you that we cannot stay for tutoring. This goes along with taking on more responsibility as a junior high student and learning how to manage your time. Tutoring is not a place for you to work on homework, there needs to be a specific reason that you are there. Homework hub is in the library for you to work on homework if you need the extra quiet time on campus.
Every teacher on campus has a website that is updated frequently about what is happening in class. I will have a calendar page on my website where you can see the classwork and homework that is assigned. If you forgot to write down the homework in your agenda, you are in control of looking at the calendar to see what it was. Teacher websites will be a very helpful resource as you learn the ways of junior high and forming good habits that benefit your education.
I, ___________________________ (student name printed), have read through both the parent and student section of this welcome letter/syllabus for Miss Gnadt's Language Arts class. I understand what the expectations are and am prepared to meet them.
Student Name Printed:_______________________
Student Signature: _________________________
Parent/Guardian Name Printed: ________________________
Parent/Guardian Signature: ________________________________