9th English

Cummins 9th English Syllabus 2020-21.docx.pdf

9th English Syllabus


Instructor: Kristina Cummins

Room:  B-2

Email: kcummins@osd.wednet.edu

Phone:  (360) 596-8043


Course Description:

Freshman English is a year-long course. Students will read a wide range of literary selections with the class and on their own and will have some degree of choice in their selections whenever possible. Students will respond to literature in writing and will hone their communication skills in the process. Students will apply what they read and learn to their own lives and to the world in which we live.  Students will have homework, though only when necessary to reach the goals they need to reach this year. Students will be expected to read weekly in their outside reading book.

Fall Semester   Spring Semester

Short Story Unit

Coming of Age Literature Choice (To Kill A Mockingbird, The Highest Tide, Uglies, Catcher In The Rye, All the Light We Cannot See, The Glass Castle, Speak, Ender’s Game, Secret Life of Bees, and others to be considered)

Grammar / Writing / Speech--entire semester

Non-Fiction Media Analysis Unit

Research Unit

Romeo and Juliet

Grammar / Writing / Speech--entire semester

OUTSIDE READING ASSIGNMENTS:  Each student will be expected to read three (2) outside books of their choice over the course of each semester.  An assignment and some requirements around their choices will be given.   



During our time in distance learning, all class assignments and information will be communicated through Schoology.  Students are expected to check Schoology on all class days (Monday, Wednesday & Thursday).  We will have a Zoom class session taking only a portion of the 90 minutes allotted for each day.  Students should be able to complete most of the work within this time frame. IF work is not completed, then students should spend NO MORE than 30 focused minutes finishing the assignment.  Once that 30 minutes is up, go ahead and hit submit or put the work away.  If you have any questions or concerns about completing assignments, please contact me.  

READING DAYS: Wednesdays are reading days.  This means that students should read their IR (Independent Reading) book for 30 minutes and respond to the discussion assignment on Schoology.  Students are strongly encouraged to find reading material that is interesting to them.  Ebooks, audio books, and graphic novels are all acceptable.  Just make sure you select materials that are at an appropriate reading level.  (Sorry, Captain Underpants is no longer a good choice!)

Class will consist of Zoom class sessions (synchronous learning opportunities) followed by work time and online assignments (asynchronous learning opportunities).  Attending our Zoom classes is vital to a student's experience; however, if there are obstacles preventing a student from attending, it is important to communicate with me.  

Zoom classroom etiquette and behavior expectations will be shared the first week of school and revisited throughout the course.  It is important for students to show up and bring the best of themselves for our class time together.

Late work will continue to be accepted; however, once students start falling behind, the work begins to “snow ball” on them.  It will be important to use our class time wisely, and communicate when struggling.  Students are also always encouraged to revise work for a higher score.  You will find more information regarding grading and revisions below.

COMMUNICATION will be key this year!  Don’t hesitate to email me or to ask questions and share concerns.  I also ask that you consider sharing your celebrations as well!  This year we are extending patience and grace, along with a high standard of effort and engagement.


Materials / Supplies: Bring to class every day. 

  • spiral/composition book (bring to class daily for planning/note taking/journal writing) ONLY FOR ENGLISH

  • pens, highlighters, and post-its

  • planner/organizer  

  • folder or binder for handouts and projects 

  • Chromebook

Cell Phone Policy:   We have a general no cell phone policy in class.  If I see a student’s phone out, it will be confiscated and sent to the main office.  On rare occasions, there may be times when cell phones may be permitted for use as an academic tool; this will be clearly communicated and phones may only be used for academics during this time.

Academic Integrity - Students are expected to take pride in their own work and to act with integrity.


Cheating includes copying someone else’s work or allowing someone else to copy or use your work on any class assignment, quiz, essay, or test.  Students are expected to do their own work and arrive at their own answers/responses. 


Plagiarism includes using someone else’s ideas or words as your own without giving proper credit to your source (including electronic sources like websites or online encyclopedias), or turning in a paper that you have not written yourself.  

Cheating and plagiarism will NOT be tolerated and all offenses will be reported to the administration and the student will receive a zero on the assignment.


Missed Work: It is important to check in with me to discuss an absence.   The first few minutes before or between classes are a really bad time to discuss the complexities of any assignment. Please see me before school, during lunch, during Coug Time, or through email if this situation applies to you! Before you ask about what you missed, please also take the time to check Schoology.  

Late Work:  Daily work and minor assignments will be accepted late only up to the end of the unit of study.  Larger (Performance) assignments will be accepted up to the end of the semester; however, those assignments will not be eligible for a revised grade and the assignment will receive a zero in the “On Time” grade category. 

Revision: Revision is the single most important thing a student can do to grow as a writer and a learner. Students may submit revisions of any assignments in the performance category up until the end of the semester for a new grade. Tests retakes may be granted on a case by case basis. Revision requirements are:

  • On the new version, the student needs to highlight changes and additions in yellow or another bright color and what was taken out. If the student is revising directly on the assignment, he/she can just make your changes in another color. This lets me identify the changes faster.

  • Include previous version(s) of the assignment so I can compare old and new drafts.

  • Write a brief reflection explaining what was changed (there is no need to list every single change; just give me an overview or select the most important ones), why these changes were made, and how the revision improves upon the last draft.

Grading Policies:

*Engaged Learning: Academic work conducted during class time, homework, and evidence of reading. Daily note-taking and journal.  25% 

*Performance: Assessments graded on rubrics. These assignments can be redone since they are linked to standards, with teacher approval and as long as the original assignment was submitted on time.  An intermediary assignment may be required before a standards assessment can be redone. This also includes test/quizzes.  75%

For more information on 9th grade standards go to http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/

Work will be assessed on a 4 point scale. 



Percentage in Skyward


Advanced - consistently exceeds proficient level of standard(s).

A =           92.5 – 100%


Proficient with partial success at advanced level.

A-=           86.67 – 92.49%

B+=          80.84 – 86.66%


Proficient - Consistently meets standard(s).

B =           75.0 – 80.83%


Basic but partial success at proficient level

B- =          66.67 – 74.99%

C+=          58.34 - 66.66%


Basic - Inconsistently meets standard(s).

C =           50.0 – 58.33%


Below basic but partial success at basic.

(C) C- = 41.67 – 49.99%*

(C) D+= 33.34 – 41.66%*


Below basic - Rarely meets standard(s).

(C) D = 25 – 33.33%*


The work does not reach a level identified by the descriptors above.



An asterisk on the Skyward report means that students have not yet been assessed in this area or is in the process of being assessed, but not yet entered – it is not a missing assignment.

Our grading motto is:  4,3, 2, or REDO.  We expect students to show at least “Basic” understanding of a concept; otherwise, they must revisit the assignment.

*FINAL COURSE GRADES: All students with percentages of 25% - 58.33% will receive a "C" for the course. Any percentage below 25% will receive an Incomplete for the class. This is a district and School Board decision for the Standards Based Grading Scale.

Communication: Students and families have access to the gradebook via Skyward.  Students can access most assignments and a calendar of deadlines in Schoology.  Families can expect to receive emails each term with class updates.  Please feel free to contact me directly if you have additional questions.   I strongly encourage students to become self-advocates of their own education.  When they have questions, don’t understand an assignment or grade, or have concerns, I want them to come to me directly!  I also encourage parents to check Skyward frequently.  Some Freshmen fall behind during the first semester and close parent monitoring is helpful.