Policies & Procedures

Review the following policies and procedures carefully, as they not only explain how this class will be run, but also articulate my expectations for you this year.



(1) Classroom Environment.   

When you cross the threshold of my classroom door, you enter a community of teachers and learners. I keep the door locked to prevent disruptions, so make sure you arrive on time. Consistent lateness will lower your class participation grade. I’m fine with you eating and drinking in my classroom so long as it does not distract you or your classmates, and so long as you tidy up when you are done.


(2) Cell Phones and Technology.

This class moves quickly, so it is important that you keep up with the conversation and are free from distractions. No cell phones, iPods, iPads, or personal computers may be used during class. Exceptions will be made at the teacher’s discretion.



(3) Absences and Late Work. 

You are responsible for completing all assigned work for this course. If you are absent, consult the course’s online calendar and/or get in touch with a friend to see what you must make-up. Make-ups for exams, essays, and seminars given in class are only granted for excused absences. Please note that if you fail to show up for the make-up exam, you will not be able to re-schedule and you will not receive credit.


When turning in late or absent work you must fill out a Late Work Form (found in my classroom by the black-wire bin) and attach it on top of your late or absent work. Late work can only be submitted within one week after the due date. This does not mean you will be excused for the tardiness of your work; the grade for all late work is dropped by one full letter (10%) from what it would have earned. Note that work submitted without this form will not receive credit.



(4) Feedback.

Success in this class will depend on your ability to receive and act upon feedback from your classmates and from me.  Independent and critical thinkers must also be able to reflect and give themselves feedback. I will provide numerous opportunities for you to receive feedback over the course of the semester. Due to time constraints, however, I will not give substantial feedback on late work. You are welcome to see me during office hours to discuss your performance on these assessments.

(5) Cheating and Plagiarism. 

Learning is a shared activity, and during class discussions I encourage you to record each other’s ideas and use them in your writing. That said, I do not tolerate academic dishonesty. Any student caught cheating or found guilty of plagiarism will receive a fail for the assignment with no possibility for make-up, as well as a drop in their final grade. Bottom line: don’t do it.



(6) Work Habits and Cooperation.

Work habits grades are based on consistently coming to class prepared and on time, as well as consistently turning in assignments and essays by the due date. Cooperation grades are based on your conduct in class. Violations of the policies and procedures outlined in this syllabus, as will any display of extremely rude or disrespectful behavior, will result in lowered work habits and corporation grades. Please note: I will not write letters of recommendation for any senior who has earned a U in cooperation in my classes.



(7) Grades.

For this class, assignments are approximately weighted according to the following categories:


  • Essays (DBQs and LEQs) = 30%

  • Exams and Quizzes (SAQs) = 30%

  • Socratic Seminars and Projects = 25%

  • Participation (includes active reading and note checks) = 15%

Grades for individual assignments are weighted such that assignments given towards the end of a unit count more than assignments given at the beginning. This is because I do not expect you to master the skills and content at the beginning of the year, or even at the beginning of a new unit. However, I do expect that you continuously push yourself. Slacking off will only lower your grade.


All assignments are given letter grades, which are then converted into points depending on the assignment.  Letter grades adhere to the following scale:


                 A+ = 97%              B+ = 87%                C+ = 77%                D+  = 67%

                 A   = 95%              B   = 85%                C   = 75%                D   = 65%

                 A-  = 93%              B-  = 83%                C-   = 73%                D-  = 63%

Fail =  50%


Final semester grades adhere to the following scale: (note that grades are never rounded):


A = 90-100%        B = 80-89%        C = 70-79%        D = 60-69%        F = below 60%

(8) Communication.

Please note that while I always respond to emails, I rarely check them after 7pm, so please allow for up to 36 hours for a response, especially on weekends. Emails inquiring about specific grades are never answered; schedule a meeting or see me during office hours to discuss your performance on a specific assignment.

(9) The AP Exam.

Students enrolled in this course are expected to take the AP exam on Friday, May 8, 2020. The College Board charges $94 for the exam; however, Grant High School offers students significant financial aid. Sign-ups take place during the fall semester. See me with questions or concerns.

(10) Suggested Course Materials.

It is extremely unlikely that we’ll use the textbook in this class, so to ensure your success you’ll need the following school supplies:

  • a dedicated 1-inch three-ring binder (do not share it with other classes)

  • tab dividers to help you organize your three-ring binder

  • plenty of blue, black, and red pens

  • plenty of lined, college-ruled, loose-leaf paper


I don’t think I need to tell juniors how to organize their binders—although, if you’re self-aware enough to recognize that you need help with organization, I’m more than happy to give my recommendations:

  • general course handouts (e.g., the syllabus, rubrics) should go behind the first tab

  • put class notes behind the second tab (keep in chronological order)

  • use the next tab for unit readings (again, keep in chronological order)

  • the fourth tab can be for graded work, which should be kept until the end of semester

  • store blank paper behind the final tab


Remember: Your binder is your textbook, so it’s essential that you keep everything and keep it organized. We will often reference old material.

© 2015-2020 by Max Cecil.