Gifted and Talented Integrated Language Arts Syllabus 2013-2014

Course Purpose:

The purpose of GT Pre-AP Integrated Language Arts is to provide students enrolled in the Frisco ISD GT (Quest) program with a comprehensive and in-depth language arts foundation. Instruction is literature-based, though students will also be taught grammar, Greek/Latin vocabulary, research skills, and writing technique. The curriculum follows Texas standards, so students are not required to complete more work than their peers; we simply delve deeper into material and allow for more complexity of thought. In addition, the course is aligned with the academic vocabulary and curriculum of Pre-AP and AP English courses in high school. Finally, the course provides gifted learners with explicit differentiated instruction. This differentiation occurs in the content (i.e. rigorous novel selections, abstract themes, deeper grammar instruction), process (grouped with intellectual peers, acceleration, compacting), and products (professional quality, creative, real-world).

Policies & Procedures:

Academic Integrity:  Students are expected to adhere to Frisco ISD’s standards of academic integrity.  Research and citation will be taught as part of this course.  All academic work submitted by students is expected to be the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression. In cases where students feel unsure about a question of plagiarism involving their work, they are obliged to consult their instructor on the matter before submission.  When a student submits work purporting to be his/her own, but which in any way borrows ideas, organization, wording or anything else from another source without appropriate acknowledgment of the fact, the student is guilty of plagiarism. Consequences of such plagiarism may result in a zero, alternate assignment, or administrative action.

Attendance/ Make-Up Work:  It is the student’s responsibility to do make-up work following any absence. Students are responsible for collecting their make-up work the first day they return to the class(es) that were missed. After receiving their make-up work, students will turn in their work as follows: one day of absence, one day to make up work; two days absence, two days to make up work; three days or more absent, three days to make up work. Full credit can be earned as long as the work is turned in within the allotted time. If a student misses a test or quiz, it is the responsibility of the student to schedule a time with the teacher to make up the assessment. If the student was aware of an assignment deadline before the absence occurred, the assignment or exam is due upon the student’s return to school. Special long-term student projects may be required to be turned in on the due date regardless of student attendance at school.

Behavior Infractions: In the event that a student strays from his/her responsibilities, the following disciplinary techniques may be used: lunch detention; teacher detention 3:40-4:10; C-hall (academic or punitive); Thursday Night School (academic) 3:40PM-6:30PM; Thursday Night Reflections (punitive) 3:40PM-6:30PM; Short Term In School Suspension; Long Term In School Suspension.

BYOD: To limit the distraction from instruction during the school day, students who choose to bring a cell phone device to school must remember to turn it off when they are released to tutorials or their 1st period class at approximately 8:15 in the morning and may not turn it back on until the conclusion of the school day. The cell phone must remain turned off, put away, and out of sight unless a teacher has requested that a student may use it during a class for instructional purposes. We ask all parents to please not text-message or call their students on their cell phones during school hours. If you need to leave a message for your student, please call the Wester front office at 469-633-4800, and our office staff will see that he or she receives the message. If a student uses a cell phone, leaves the phone turned on, or displays the phone during an inappropriate time, it may result in confiscation of the phone. The phone will only be returned to a parent or guardian.

Course Content: The content of this course is determined by Frisco ISD, Texas state standards, and the GT program in FISD.  Novels are not chosen by the teacher, but are selected through a committee.  While each novel is carefully evaluated for age-appropriateness, the content covered in the GT program may lead to in-depth and mature discussions.  Please be aware that this content is designed to help your student think critically about the world around him/her and grow academically.

Electronic Submissions: Assignments may be submitted electronically. Emails should include all parts of a professional letter: a salutation, edited and refined body paragraph(s), and a closing with an appropriate signature. Attachments or Google document links should have descriptive and appropriate titles that include the student’s last name and the title of the assignment. Standard grammar and mechanical rules should be followed.

Furlough: A student may also be furloughed for earning below a 75 in his or her GT Pre-AP ILA class for two 6 week periods. (The six weeks do not have to be consecutive.)

Late Work:  The general late work policy for Wester Middle School is provided to promote student responsibility and consistency throughout the building. For assignments turned in late, 10% will be deducted everyday, up to 3 days (30% maximum).   Late work will be accepted for 1 week past the assigned due date or until the end of the six weeks marking period, whichever comes earlier.   For daily grades, students may receive a zero on the assignment.  For major and minor assessments, students will need to attend academic C-Hall, academic Thursday Night School, and/or work in academic ISS to complete the assignment.

Leaving Class:  Please take care of your personal needs during the passing period.  If you need to leave class for any reason, please wait until an appropriate time (i.e. individual working time) and ask for permission.

Grading:  Grades will be posted within the week for any work that is handed in. Students will have at least two major grades per six weeks at 50% of the total grade, which may include multiple choice tests, essays, projects, graded seminars, and presentations.  Students will have at least two minor grades which contribute to 30% of the total grade, which may consist of novel quizzes, vocabulary and grammar work, and minor graded discussions. Homework and participation will be averaged together to constitute at least four daily grades at 20% of the total grade.

Online Course Components: This course is facilitated with the help of several online components.  The Home Access Center (HAC) includes quantitative information (i.e. grades).  In addition, this course is supplemented by an online blog: This website includes course related handouts, materials, directives, links, and more. The students are also encouraged to follow @harrisharbor on Twitter to receive reminders, opportunities, and interesting articles. Additionally, students are permitted and encouraged to submit their assignments, especially written compositions, via email or Google Docs.

Parent Communication: Parents may access lesson plans on the class blog,  Grades may be accessed on the HAC. If there is a question regarding grading or homework, parents are encouraged to first ask their child and subsequently encourage the child to speak with the teacher. The inclusion of the student in conversations about grade resolution or homework assignments allows the student to take responsibility for his or her learning and provides an opportunity for communicating skillfully with an adult. If there are still questions about the course or any subsequent assignments, a conference can be scheduled to discuss the situation. In addition, the course website includes a variety of information for parents in regards to course expectations, assignments, enrichment opportunities, and references to various gifted resources.

Re-testing: Students will be able to retest grades 84 and below on MAJOR exams for a maximum score of an 85.  Students scoring an 85 or above on the original exam will not have an opportunity to retest for a higher grade.  The teacher will schedule the retest for a specific date and it is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for an alternative date in advance of the retest.  Students will have a window of FIVE school days after the exam is returned to retest.

Tardies: Students who have excessive tardies throughout the day will be disciplined according to the middle school student code of conduct. Tardies are totaled per class and per six-weeks grading terms. Consequences for tardies will be as follows: 1st offense = Warning; 2nd offense = Parent Contact; 3rd and 4th offense = C-Hall; 5th and 6th offense = Office Referral and Truancy Referral.

Textbooks & Other Literature: Textbooks, novels, and other literature resources are provided by the district and are issued at the beginning of the year. Every student is obligated to give his or her books the best care.  Students who lose or damage a book while it is checked out to them will be expected to pay for it.


To acknowledge that you have read the syllabus, agree to it, and have shared it with your parent or guardian, please go to:

5 bonus points will be awarded on your first minor grade for students who have completed this task by Friday, 8/30/13.


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