Dear Parents/Guardians,                                                                               2017-2018


This letter is to help acquaint you with 9th grade science, “Essential Elements of Science,” at Red Mountain High School.  Attached you will also find very important information regarding eye safety.  It requires your signature for student participation in lab activities. 

This exciting, year course will have basic chemistry concepts as the main focus.  Some general physics concepts will also be included.  We will explore why things work the way they do.  It’s like discovering the secrets behind magic tricks!  Your child will learn and use general laboratory skills for scientific investigation and problem solving, as individuals and as teams.  “Essential Elements of 9th grade Science” counts as a science credit towards high school graduation for regular and scholastic diploma.  It has been approved by the state Board of Regents to qualify as one of four science credits required for entrance into the Arizona universities.  The objectives for this course are aligned to the new state science standard, and provide excellent preparation for future science classes.

The following are some specifics about the class that may help you monitor your child’s progress (if you want further details, please read the “Classroom Guidelines” paper students keep in their notebooks). 

1.  The student’s average is determined by calculating the percentage of total points possible that the student has earned. The MPS student portal will keep you informed with missing assignments and current grade, most assignments and scores are uploaded daily and minimally weekly. 

2.  Unit notebook scores represent almost one third of the grade.  The notebook is, essentially, a collection of all the work the student does in a given unit.  This may include notes, organizational papers, lab sheets, informational papers, and homework. 

3.  The following is a list of the essential materials your child needs to bring to class each day:

pencil, graphing paper and a composition notebook (sold at the bookstore)
ruler, calculator, colored pencils. 

4. This course relies heavily on hands-on activates and lab work to teach science skills and concepts.  Homework is occasionally given to promote discovery learning (questions that follow lab work and require analysis for data), to reinforce ideas presented in class, to check for understanding, or for test preparation (retrieving information from their brain and effectively communicating it in writing).  Used in these ways, homework becomes a powerful tool that can help your child become more successful.  For maximum benefits, it must be completed on time and graded immediately to provide feedback.  Therefore, late work will be accepted, but reduced. 

5.  Short unit quizzes will be given frequently and will represent approximately the other half of the student’s grade for a unit.  A more comprehensive quarter exam will be given at the end of each quarter. 

6.  Occasionally students are given an opportunity to earn extra credit.  This is always enrichment in nature, encouraging students to participate in activities that wither increase their level of understanding, improve a skill related to current coursework, or highlight a current science event (like observing a meteor shower).  It is never “invented” just to improve a low average after a student has chosen not to do regular assignments. 

7.  All students are required to record assignments daily in the student planner.  Additionally, class assignments and worksheets are posted in the classroom and are available to all students after an absence.  Encourage your child to accept responsibility for completing make-up work.

8.  I am available before school except Wednesday late starts, those are meeting dates. I am also available for tutoring during "lion Time" which is second hour. if students need additional help.  Specific days and times for each week are posted in the classroom.  The school offers tutoring through out the week before and after school, I will try to post a link here to those times and dates.

9.  Student behavior should be considerate and not disrupt or interfere with the education of other students.  Cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned off and put away when the student steps into the campus in the morning.  They may not use these devices unless instructed they are allowed.