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This is a challenging course, possibly the most challenging course you'll have in middle school,

but the students who pass through the WAMS Encounters program and Advanced Academic courses,

go on to fill most of the leadership positions of student groups,

make up a large portion of the top 10%, and often become valedictorians.

(The 2023 valedictorians for GPHS and ECHS were both from WAMS.)

Course Description 

            The Advanced Academic/ Encounters courses in English engage students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing. The middle-school Advanced Academic/ Encounters English classes support and prepare students for high school AP English courses and the AP English Literature and Composition exams.

            With advanced college preparation in mind, the pace and rigor for Advanced Academic/ Encounters classes is strenuous. Extra reading and writing assignments are scattered throughout the year, beyond the scope of a traditional Language Arts course. The pace and high expectations will not be modified to allow for students who are not able or willing to meet the demands of the course.

            The Advanced Academic/ Encounters course provides students with a more rigorous opportunity to analyze a variety of literature genres. Students are required to read and analyze both classic and contemporary novels as well as non-fiction selections, participate in thematic units, conduct in-depth research, complete individual and group projects, and write extensively throughout the year. The increased pace of the Encounters class allows for additional research and creative activities. Saturday tutorial time aids in the successful completion of the courses “creative” components. The emphasis on critical thinking skills prepares students for high school AP English courses and the AP English Literature and Composition exams, which are components of the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP).


Course Expectations

Students continue to develop their reading, writing, and editing skills. They will come to class prepared, complete assignments on time, and behave appropriately for a classroom environment.


Class Materials

All students need a white three-ring binder (provided), notebook paper, pens (dark blue or black), pens (multiple colors), pencils, and highlighters. (I have plenty of these things in class.)


Grading Categories

     Advanced Classes

          - Daily grades (in class assignments and homework): 50%                             

          - Major grades (tests, essays, projects) 50%

     On-Level Classes

          - Daily grades (in class assignments and homework): 60%                             

          - Major grades (tests, essays, projects) 40%

Grading Scale

            A: 100-90      B: 89-80        C: 79-70         F: 69-0 


Course Policies and Guidelines

Student Work: Students will complete assignments as assigned. Students will use complete sentences, proper grammar, and correct spelling in every assignment. They will consult with their writing partners/ groups for inspiration and will work collaboratively to edit and revise and will become proficient at editing and revising on their own. Students will complete reading assignments will as scheduled, including the completion of “two-column notes.”


Absences: If a student is absent, it is his/ her responsibility to attend tutorials within one week of the absence to complete the missed assignment. The missed assignment will be recorded as a zero until completed.


Late Work: Most assignments are to be completed and are due during class. Any work turned in late, will result in a grade reduction of 10 points per class day (5 points for On-Level classes).


Grade Monitoring

Parents and students need to regular check their grade on Skyward.

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