Course Syllabus

Google Classroom ( will be our primary website for this course. Canvas will NOT be used except for viewing this document.
After reading the information below, please use Google Classroom and your school email for all future online interaction. I provided students with a link or code to join the class during the first week of school. If you were not able to log on at that point, please contact me immediately.


Course Overview and Expectations

Mr. Giancioppo


Dear Students and Parents, 

Welcome to Honors Biology!  I hope this year will be exciting, fun, and challenging.  In this course, we will explore the major concepts in biology, emphasizing problem solving, laboratory exercises and application of biology to everyday life.  Science is loaded with many facts.  Knowing and understanding these facts is key to being successful in any science course, including Biology.  Being an active listener AND taking notes in class are critical skills that must be developed; these skills will serve you well in college and beyond.

Other important skills that will help you succeed are self motivation and communication.  It is essential that you ask questions about material that you don’t understand at the time the material is being discussed and well before an exam or quiz.  Is something unclear?  Did something come up at home that impedes your ability to meet deadlines?  Let me know!  I am available for extra help on announced days and by appointment.  Please make an effort to attend extra help sessions or arrange a mutually agreeable time via email. When I’m not teaching, you will likely find me in the Science Office, room 358.

Please review the class policies below. Understanding and following these expectations will serve as a solid foundation for your success in Honors Biology. This document will also be available for you on Google Classroom throughout the year.

I look forward to working with you this year!  Please know that I am here to help you learn and succeed in biology.  I hope this will be a rewarding year for all of us. Here are some of the topics that we will cover this year:           


Parents/Guardians: Please feel free to contact me via email (  Email is the best way to get in touch with me.  I look forward to meeting you at back to school night on Thursday, October 3rd.



Honors Biology: Policies and Procedures
Please remember that the policies, rules and expectations outlined in the WHS Student Handbook apply to students at all times.

I. Materials you will find useful:

Space in a three ring binder with loose-leaf paper, pens (2 colors), pencils and earbuds/headphones.

Textbook: Campbell Biology Concepts & Connections, 8th Ed. ($140 replacement cost)
Keep track of your book! You must either return the exact same textbook and book number when you finish the class or pay the replacement cost. Failure to do so will result in a “Incomplete” for the final grade until resolved. This is a department policy and will be strictly adhered to.


II. Student Evaluation:

Grades are determined by averaging and weighting all work assigned during the school year. The CURRENT categories and approximate weightings are: (these weightings may change slightly during the second semester due to more accurately reflect a "final experience" project scheduled for the end of the school year.)

  • Tests and Quizzes: 50%
  • Labs: 35%
  • Homework*/Class work: 15%
    *Note: Homework is due on the assigned date unless arrangements have been made ahead of time (not the day the assignment is due) for an adjusted due date. Also, these grading weights may change during the course of the year and any changes will be announced prior to the change taking place.


III. Attendance:
Students are responsible for any material or assignments missed during an excused absence from school.  If it is known ahead of time that you will be absent, please inform me so that we can make arrangements for any missed HW, classwork and/or labs.  An unexcused absence will result in a 0 for any quizzes, tests, or labs.  Remember: communication is key to success!

IV. Tardiness:
If you are more than 10 minutes late or miss more than 10 minutes of class without a note from the office, you will receive an unexcused absence and may receive a cut in accordance with handbook policies. If you have a written excuse for being late, take it to the office before coming to class. If you are late without a written excuse, come directly to class and be aware that handbook policies will be followed. Block A labs for this class will start at 7:30 AM. It is known that traffic can be heavy at this time so plan ahead; this is not a valid excuse for tardiness.  We will sometimes take a short break during double block; students will be marked tardy if they do not return to class by the designated time. 


V. Academic Honesty/Integrity

Please be clear that cheating, copying HW, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will NOT BE TOLERATED.  If they should occur, a failing grade for that particular activity will be assessed.  The appropriate housemaster will be contacted as well as parents/guardians.


We will follow MCAS testing conditions for all tests and quizzes, including makeups. This means that all electronic devices (including phones, laptops, smart watches, etc) will be put away in your backpacks and placed at the front of the classroom.  If you are observed with an electronic device during a test or quiz, it will be an automatic zero for the assessment. Additionally, the BYOL and cell phone/electronic device policies will be strictly adhered to throughout the year, including during regular class time. 


Course Summary:

Date Details