Course Syllabus

College Prep English 2019-20

Christine Kerr                                                                                             Canvas:

Email:   Room #229

Office Hours: M-Th 2:30-3:15; 

Block 1 (all days except days #3 & 7)

Writing Lab: Day 1, block 6


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Welcome to Wellesley High School!  In College Prep English you will read and write daily and are expected to participate in discussion and class activities.   The goal of freshman English is to help you develop the skills you will need to read, write, and think at the high school level.


  • 1-inch binder designated to this class
  • Laptop (charged) every day
  • Headphones that work with your laptop
  • Pen, pencil, highlighter
  • Copy of the text/outside reading book

ATTENDANCE AND PUNCTUALITY: Attendance and punctuality count towards your grade.  You are expected to be in your seat with your phone parked when the bell rings.  The school policy on attendance states:


  • Whenever students are absent from school, they should contact their classmates, access their teachers’ webpage, and/or refer to their class assignments sheets.
  • Previously assigned school work including, but not limited to tests, quizzes, homework, etc. is due upon the student’s return to school from an anticipated absence unless a teacher has previously specified the expectation. 
  • Field Trips: Students participating in school-sponsored field trips, exchanges are considered present in school and are entitled to make up work. School assignments need to be turned in to teachers on the first day of a student’s return to school.
  • Vacations​ ​and​ ​Trips:​ The school strongly discourages non-school-sponsored trips and vacations which do not coincide with school vacations. The student and parent/guardian will need to speak with their Principal and develop a plan to makeup work missed. Failure to do so may result in academic consequences.


The school policy on tardiness states: 


  •  If a student is late to class by fewer than 10 minutes, the teacher may speak with the student, record the tardiness, and may take disciplinary action.  If a student is fewer than 10 minutes late to class three times in a term, the teacher may email the student’s Assistant Principal of the dates and blocks of the three tardies and the Assistant Principal will assign a class cut.   If a student is more than 10 minutes late to class, the teacher will mark the student as absent and the Assistant Principal will assign a class cut.
  • Excessive absences (including the accrual of tardies) will result in a loss of course credit.  Students with excessive absences may lose eligibility to participate in sports and extracurricular activities.



COMMUNICATION: If you miss class, please check the homework calendar and Canvas for handouts.  You should also consult a classmate for notes. Do not email me and ask what you missed for a 1-day absence.  Please stop by before block 1 or after school the day following a 1-day absence to discuss missed work and reschedule quizzes/tests/presentations.


CELL PHONES, COMPUTERS, AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES:  Phones must be parked and silenced or shut down by the start of class.  If your phone rings, flashes, or buzzes during class, it may be confiscated for the remainder of the day.  Multiple instances of your phone disrupting class will face disciplinary action. The messaging function of watches and computers must be shut down during class. If you are caught checking messages or sending messages during class you will face disciplinary action.  When we use laptops, you will be told which tabs you should have open. Use Chrome for all school-related work.  All personal items (shopping, email, news, sports, games, etc.) should be done in a separate browser that is kept closed during class.


FOOD AND DRINK: Do not bring plastic water bottles to class!  Reusable water bottles are allowed in class. Discrete snacking is ok on occasion, but meals and messy snacks  (sushi with dipping sauce!) or loud snacks (chip bags) are not allowed.


STUDENTSHIP SKILLS:  Organization, time-management, effective communication with teachers, and being a positive and productive member of the class are the keys to your academic success.  To help you establish the best studentship skills, we will begin the year with studentship grades that you will earn each cycle.  


  • Treat your teachers, your peers, and yourself with respect.
  • Turn off your phone and place it in your assigned slot upon entering the room.  
  • When the bell rings, be in your seat with your materials out.
  • Handle bathroom trips/water bottle filling between classes and during lunch or free blocks. Do not ask to leave the room during class except for on rare occasions. 
  • Charge your computer nightly and bring it to class every day.
  • Keep a computer charger in your bag.
  • Have all required materials (including something to write with) every day (or borrow something from the student supplies on the counter at the start of class).
  • Participate productively during whole-class and small group work.  This includes having your completed homework with you every day.
  • Use an agenda book or Google Keep to record homework daily.


The year begins with a review of the building blocks of good writing: punctuation, diction, concrete language, and sentence structure.   We will also learn techniques to combine sentences to form more sophisticated ones. Once we’ve reviewed sentence-level basics, we will move on to writing analytical paragraphs, personal narratives, and expository essays.  During the first quarter, every day #5 will be a Writing Prompt day. This is a writing activity you will do in class. More info to come!



 Our reading instruction will include a combination of whole class studies of novels and plays (such as Romeo & Juliet) as well as choice reading units.   Freshmen also read and study short stories and mythology.  On average you will be assigned 10-15 pages of reading per night. Throughout the year we will also practice active reading of non-fiction texts. 


Word Study

Vocabulary development is essential to becoming a stronger reader.  We will be using a program called Membean. Membean is an online program that creates individual word lists and offers many tools to help you develop your language skills.  You will have two Membean assignments each cycle as well as in-class work and quiz time on day #2.  



 All of your work, including participation/behavior grades, will be posted on Powerschool.  Grades are updated every few days, so get in the habit of checking your average at least once per cycle.  Remember, grades will fluctuate! Please remember that your term grade is based on 10 weeks of work.  Early in the quarter, your average may be quite high as it will likely be based on homework and quizzes only.  By the third or fourth week of a term, you will have a major assessment that will provide a more accurate reflection of your progress.  An average based solely on homework is not an accurate indicator of your achievement.


Academic Integrity


  • Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, etc. are not to be used.  Use of such material is considered cheating. The material you are given may be challenging, but you will be provided with the resources and skills you need to meet challenges. 


  • When given a writing assignment, you are encouraged to bring your drafts to the Writing  Lab, your special education teacher, or one of your academic teachers; however, parents, tutors, siblings and friends should not be doing your work for you. Plagiarism, or using bits, pieces, or all of someone else’s work without sourcing it, will lead to an automatic zero and administrative action. Remember, no one will be helping you during in-class essays or other major writing assignments—if you don’t learn the skills on your own, you will not do well on these assessments.



I look forward to getting to know each of you and hope you will drop by to see me with questions and concerns.  Freshman year involves adjusting to a new school, new rules, new teachers, and very different expectations and grading from middle school.  Be kind to yourself! If you are feeling overwhelmed, schedule time to see one of us sooner rather than later.

Course Summary:

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