The Value of Education

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Honors’ 10, Pre-AP English
Wetumpka High School
Susan Shehane

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is “Pre-AP” and how does it differ from standard or advanced English?

A: Pre-AP English is a college preparatory class that helps prepare students for college and for Advanced Placement (AP) classes. The goal of the Pre-AP class is to elevate expectations, follow the county’s policy of increasing “rigor,” and show the curriculum’s direct relevance to college entrance exams and AP success. Students who take all AP classes offerred at WHS and pass AP exams may begin college as sophomores.

Q: Can students earn college credit in a pre-AP class?

A: No, students don’t earn college credit in their sophomore English PRE-AP class, but the class will help them succeed in sophomore History AP classes by helping them with analytical thinking and writing.

Q: What curriculum is used in Pre-AP English?

A: Glencore Literature, Course 4, and supplemental novels*. For writing, reading skills, notetaking, and analysis, we follow the curriculum provided by the A+ College Readiness Program via a Dell Corporation grant administered by Laying the Foundation (LTF), based in Texas and coordinated through the State Department of Education. Parents and students can access many of the LTF materials at . Our Wetumpka LTF coordinator is Mrs. Teri Thompson, who teaches Senior English and AP classes at Wetumpka High School.

*Brave New World, Dante’s Divine Comedy (The Inferno), The Scarlet Letter, Huckleberry Finn, Julius Caesar, and online full-length texts such as Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” John Winthrop’s “City Upon A Hill” sermon aboard the Arabella, As I Lay Dying, and other materials deemed appropriate and recomended by LTF. Please note that video clips will be used to accompany all, most, or some of these materials.

Q: What will students do in class?
Students will read and respond to literature by writing analytical essays. They’ll be tested on materials, but a primary goal of the class is to elevate critical thinking and prove their abilities through analytical writing. Students will also do a variety of projects and presentations, sometimes in groups.

Q: What is the grading policy?
First semester:
Two nine week grades (40% each).
Midterm (20%). All students must take the midterm. Exemptions for less than four absences will be made for the final exam (May). Please consult the WHS Student Handbook.

Each nine week grade will consist of a variety of assessments, including tests, essays, and projects (70%), quizzes (25%), and homework (5%).

Often, quizzes will be unannounced; therefore, students should always come to class prepared. Work begun in class but unfinished must be completed for homework but may sometimes count as a quiz grade, depending upon the complexity and involvement of the assignment.

Note: Projects will count as 2-3 test grades.

Q: How will writing be graded?
I use rubrics and give these materials to the students so that they can “grade” their own work before turning it in. Such rubrics are posted on my school website ( ; click on “faculty”; find Shehane: go to files or documents).

Q: How often will tests be given?
Tests will be given frequently, at least every two weeks. Students should also expect a vocabulary test each two weeks.

Q: What source of vocabulary is used for such tests?
Students in Pre-AP English will study the LTF vocabulary list from ninth- twelfth grades. This list is called the SAT Vocabulary List and can be found on the website. Words for each test will also be listed on our weekly syllabus.

Q: Where can I find the weekly syllabus?
When ink is available at school, I will print a weekly syllabus for each student. Right now, we have no ink. The syllabus is posted at .

Q: I understand that the “no zero tolerance policy” has changed in your class. Can you explain?
A: Yes. Students in pre-AP English will no longer be allowed to make up zeroes without an excused absence or parental notification of extenuating circumstances, such as illness, family emergency, etc. In other sophomore classes, the Freshmen Academy policy of assigning detention to make up zeroes may be followed. Please note that this will not be the case in our pre-AP English class. We’re trying to produce college-ready students. Enabling them to make excuses would be counter-productive to the A+ College Readiness grant administered by LTF; therefore, I will not accept any late work or allow students to make up zeroes without an excused absence. Students who do have an excused absence must make up tests and other assignments within two days of their return. It is up to the student, not the teacher, to ask about making up a test.

Q: Can students re-take tests they fail in pre-AP English?
A: No.

Q: Do all essays have to be typed?
A: No. Rough drafts, in fact, must be written in class, frequently in a timed manner. This is to help students prepare for AP exams in which they must respond in writing on a timed test. If I ask students to type, say, a final copy or a research paper, again, they must write their rough drafts in class. A typed copy can be printed and turned in (or e-mailed) as long as a written rough draft is available. No plagiarism will be tolerated. Students must follow the MLA style. Please visit the “OWL” at Perdue University’s website. You may also view the county plagiarism policy on my school website or on the county’s website ( >curriculum> downloads)

Q: How can I best help my son or daughter?
A: The best way for parents to help students is by encouraging them to do their best, even when that means re-doing an essay or project. Our goal is to strive for excellence and to exceed the state’s minimum standards. I’m excited about our elevated expectations, and I know that you will be, too.

Q: What should my son or daughter do if he/she needs extra help?
A: Advise your son or daughter to see me after school. My planning period is 2:30-3:20, and I’ll be very happy to help during the eighth period. That’s one of the reasons Mr. Dennis has scheduled an eight period day -- to better accommodate students.

Q: What about the class blog? I’ve heard of this.
A: Students will be required to participate in the class blog, located at To participate, they simply need to create a Google account and log in. Only posts suitable for publishing will be posted (and therefore graded). No anonymous posts will be accepted. For more information, visit my school website.

Q: How can I see my son’s or daughter’s grades?
STI for parents is available. Please keep in mind that grading takes time, especially in an English class.

For more information, e-mail Mrs. Shehane at

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