Course Syllabus

Back to School Night Video


Wellesley High School 

Course Overview and Expectations

Honors Biology

Ms. Morrison


Dear Students, Parents and Guardians,


Welcome to Honors Biology! This year will certainly be unlike any other but I hope that it will retain the wonder and excitement that science classes always bring. In this course, we will explore the major concepts in biology, emphasizing problem solving, laboratory exercises (whenever possible), data analysis and application of biology to everyday life.   

Especially throughout this year, students must take responsibility for their own learning and actions and develop a sense of agency in order to be successful.  Two important skills that will help with the development of self-advocacy are self-motivation and communication.  It is important that you ask questions about material that you don’t understand at the time the material is being discussed and well before an exam, quiz or other summative assessment.  Is something unclear?  Did something come up at home that impedes your ability to meet deadlines?  Let me know!  The sooner you reachout, the better! Email is the best way to connect and I am available for extra help by appointment.  

Please review the class policies, procedures and expectations below and then provide an electronic signature of receipt and understanding by clicking the appropriate Google form link.  Understanding and following these expectations will serve as a solid foundation for your success in Honors Biology.  

Policies and Procedures:
(Remember that the policies and rules outlined in the WHS Student Handbook apply at all times!)


  • General Classroom Culture


The core values of Wellesley High School (Academic Excellence, Respect for Human Differences, Cooperative and Caring Relationships and Commitment to Community) live and breathe in my classroom.  A culture of care, kindness and respect for community members is at the core of my daily practice and I expect the same from my students. This includes adherence to academic integrity, daily preparation and participation and active inclusion and compassion for all people. 

  1. Materials you will need/are suggested:
    1. A MASK! You must wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times.  Gators, bandanas and masks with valves are prohibited. This is a school policy.
    2. Your Computer - with headphones and a charger!
    3. A textbook: Campbell Biology Concepts & Connections, 8th Ed. ($140 replacement cost) (you will be given a code to access the online version and the option to borrow a hard copy to use and keep at home)
    4. Folder/Three Ring Binder (some way to organize paper handouts - these will be minimal)
    5. Pens/Pencils (often many colors are useful - you may not share supplies this year so please make sure you are prepared with writing utensils)
    6. SATII review book (for those possibly taking the SAT subject test)
  2. How you will be graded: Total points earned/total points available
    Grades are determined by total points earned throughout each semester divided by the total points available.  The categories, and their approximate point values per assignment, are:
  • Tests and Quizzes: 10-100 points 
  • Labs/Activities/Projects: 10-50 points
  • Classwork/Webquests: 10-30 points

*All grading policies are subject to change.  

  1. Tardiness/Absences: Our time in class is in short supply this year. Please make every effort to be on time on your cohort days (assuming you are symptom free - do not come to school with new symptoms). We have especially limited time now especially with the sanitation procedures we will be following with shared lab equipment. If you know you will be absent or tardy from class, please email me ( ASAP. It is important for you to contact me about missed work ASAP or you will fall behind. Communication will be key this year!!  
  2. Academic Honesty/Integrity
    Please be clear that cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will NOT BE TOLERATED.  This includes the sharing of HW, classwork and most documents.  I will indicate when assignments are to be done in groups.  Assume everything is individual unless instructed otherwise.  If you need clarity - ask!  If any violations should occur, a failing grade for that particular activity will be assessed for both parties involved.  The appropriate assistant principal will be contacted as well as parents/guardians.   
  3. Canvas & Zoom Links
    All course materials and links to class meetings over Zoom will be on Canvas. Units will be outlined in module format and links to all documents, assignments, powerpoints, labs, etc. will be found in these modules. The Canvas Calendar will be updated regularly with due dates, assessment dates, etc. The announcement feature will be regularly used for any and all updates, especially if there is a last minute change (like a cancelled class- this is rare, but it happens occasionally). Please check Canvas regularly for course information, updates and meeting links.  If you are absent, this is a good place to check. I strongly encourage you to download the Canvas app to your cell phones and allow push notifications so you have the most up to date information possible.
  4. Zoom Expectations, Norms and Guidelines
    Zoom will be a large component of classes this year. All links to classes will be found in the navigation bar in Canvas. In order for those experiences to go well, we all have to abide by the same guidelines (listed below). My expectation is that video cameras are kept on during class (with occasional exceptions). Please use a WHS, or other school appropriate background so that others aren’t distracted by your live background. If you would like to add to the conversation, please raise your hand on your screen, or use the hand raise emoji in Zoom. 

WPS Zoom Agreement:

By participating in live synchronous sessions, you acknowledge and accept the terms and conditions stated in our Confidentiality/Privacy Notice and Disclaimer for Virtual Meetings/Services with Students.


Recording of web conferencing/synchronous video sessions is prohibited by participating students/parents/guardians. Massachusetts Wiretapping Law (M.G.L. Chapter 272, Section 99) has very strict rules on the recording of meetings and prohibits the recording of video sessions without express permission of all participants.


In addition to the Massachusetts Wiretapping Law, Wellesley Public Schools forbids students/parents/guardians from taking photos, screenshots, recording any video or audio during all (live and pre-recorded) remote learning sessions. 


Student violations will result, at a minimum, in school disciplinary action; parent/guardian violations will result in a referral to the Wellesley Police Department.


Thank you for your careful attention to these classroom expectations.  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.

Parents/Guardians: Please feel free to contact me via email (  Email is the best way to get in touch with me.  I will reply to your email as soon as possible.  


Louisa Morrison

Course Summary:

Date Details Due