Parent(s) or Guardian(s),
to the 2013-2014 school year! I am writing to introduce myself to
you as well as to give you information about the goals, curriculum
and expectations of English 11. Because parents play such a critical
role in their child’s education, I wanted to communicate with you as
soon as possible.
year your child will take the Comprehensive Regents Examination in
English. Passing this exam is a requirement for graduation. We will
do a certain amount of preparation for this test. However, the
course is not merely Regents preparation. Students will engage in a
great deal of reflective as well as analytical writing. While there
are particular skills that must be addressed for each task on the
exam, the approach for teaching and learning allows for variety and
creativity. These skills are also easily transferable to other types
of writing. We will cover a wide range of literature this year. It
is my wish that your child will enjoy, as I do, the material
covered. While your child may not “love” a particular work that we
are covering, I do ask him/her to “hang in there.” The next work
might become his/her favorite novel ever!
will be challenging this year, but it is my hope that it will also
be rewarding. English 11 does require a lot of hard work. In order
to be ready for an exam which requires lots of reading and writing
and to truly develop students’ analytical abilities, we must do
demanding work. I do promise you and your child that I will do all
that I can to help your child reach his/ her potential in this
class. If students consistently work hard and do their very best,
they will be prepared to do their personal best on the exam and in
Organization is one of the keys to success in this class. I have
sent several items home with your child to help guide him/her in the
right direction. One of these items lists the course requirements.
This sheet outlines information and policies that will be important
throughout the year. I have also sent home a course outline. Please
look these over.
district currently subscribes to a service called turnitin.com, a
service that many high schools and colleges now utilize. This is
primarily a plagiarism prevention service. In this increasingly
technological age, we as
educators are finding our students more and more reliant on the
multitude of sources available to them to generate ideas and often
words when writing. Unfortunately, plagiarism often results. I would
like for my students to demonstrate their own knowledge/
understanding of a topic when given a writing assignment that is not
research based. To this end, students are expected not to use
internet sources when writing their literary analysis; I want to
know what the students know, and I would like to help them gain
confidence in their own critical thinking abilities.
Ultimately, I would like for this to be a learning tool not
an agent of punishment. As a class, we will review what plagiarism
is and how to avoid it. Students need to learn how to analyze
written works and learn how to put their thoughts into a coherently
structured essay that demonstrates their knowledge of the topic.
Therefore, students will be required to submit a copy of each essay
to this service.
order to set up an account, students must agree to an End Users'
Agreement (EULA). Students who are under the age of 18 need the
consent of a parent/guardian to have an account on turnitin.com. By
signing on the line indicated on the next page, you agree to let
your child create an account. If, for some reason, you do not wish
for your child to create an account, he/she will still need to
electronically submit his/her paper and I will then submit it to the
service. I encourage you to go to the turnitin.com website and look
around, especially at the frequently asked questions. When we began
using this service we found that students were initially quite
nervous. They quickly learned that if they had not plagiarized they
had nothing to be concerned about.
fill out and return to school with your son or daughter the tear off
section at the back of this letter.
Note that there are
two areas for you to sign. The first simply acknowledges that
you have received and read this letter. The second signature is
giving permission for your child to create an account on
turnitin.com. Do not hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns
and/or information about your child. You may call and leave a voice
mail message at 279-4600, ext. 1408 or you may email me at school at
also have a web page for my classes. It will contain general
information as well as specific assignments and handouts that may be
accessed and printed out. I find this helpful to students when they
are absent or misplace an assignment and to parents in obtaining
information about assignments. This should be up and running very
looking forward to an enjoyable year with your sons and daughters.
***Please note the two areas that require your
Student’s Name:____________________________ Home
(please note whose email this is):
signature below indicates that I have received and read the above
signature below gives my child permission to create his/her own
account on Turnitin.com.
Notebook for class notes (preferably
a 3 subject that you can divide for organizational purposes)
Notebook for journal
Pens with blue or black ink
Folder(s): You will be responsible
all handouts and
tests/quizzes/essays returned to
Homework is due on the assigned
date. For every day that an assignment is late, 10 points will be
deducted. Homework will not be accepted more than three days late.
In the event that you are absent,
you will be given the corresponding number of days to make up your
work. You are responsible for obtaining missed assignments
and making up missed tests and/or quizzes. Frequently
visiting my web page will be a great way for you to stay
Many homework assignments will be
graded using the Check, Check +, Check – system. This works as
Check: the assignment was
satisfactorily completed. Showed good effort.
Check - : Something may have been
missing or the assignment demonstrated little effort.
Check + : Assignment was
thoroughly completed. Showed clear thought and effort.
INC: The assignment was not fully
**Please note that assignments that
are graded this way are most often relevant to that day’s class
discussion (i.e questions on reading, journal response on reading).
Because this material is then covered in class, these assignments
can not be completed after their due date.
Weights of Assignments:
homework = 1 grade
quizzes = 2 grades
minor writings = 2
major essay = 3
grades *** see note below
journals = 3 grades
***We will talk a great deal
about writing as a process. You will be strongly encouraged to write
various types of rough drafts to help you with your final product
definition, plagiarism is the taking of another's
ideas and calling them your
It is not simply the copying of
another's work, though that is one type of plagiarism. This is a
serious offense and will be dealt with as such. We will discuss what
plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Students are expected, in all
essays, to express their own individual thoughts and ideas. A
plagiarized essay will result in an automatic zero on the assignment
as well as a disciplinary referral per the C.H.O.R.D. policy.
All essays must be submitted electronically, either directly to
turnitin.com or in electronic form to the teacher for submission to
This is extremely important in and will be averaged into your
quarterly grade. This will consist of being prepared for class and
being a positive contributor to the class and our discussions. In
order to do this, you must also be present in class. Excessive
absences will negatively impact your class participation grade and
therefore affect your overall grade.
EXTRA HELP: I strongly
encourage you to seek out my assistance whenever needed. It is my
wish to help you succeed. I am available both during school and
after school on agreed upon days.
SUCCESS= Positive Attitude + Consistent Effort