• English 9 Course Outline

    Ms. DePoala

    Voice Mail:  256-4175 ext 1689


    Welcome to New Paltz High School! This is a new and exciting time for you and I am thrilled to be a part of your journey!  

    My expectations for you as my student:

    1. You will take risks with your writing

    2. You will write and read A LOT!

    3. You will take ownership of what you write and read

    4. You will talk  A LOT about what you write and what you read

    5. You will take yourself seriously and work to your potential 

    6. You will try to accept that learning can be a messy process!!! 

    7. You will make decisions about your writing


    Reading Goals

    • Reading for pleasure 

    • Close reading – textual analysis (non-fiction, poetry, novels, plays)

    • Acknowledging and understanding the variety of texts such as texts that inform, express, analyze, inquire, or persuade. 

    • Understanding Rhetoric – analysis of purpose (ethos, pathos and logos)

    • Understanding WHY WE READ.

    • Self-evaluating – what do I like to read and why? What am I good at reading? Why do I struggle with certain types of texts?

    • Building a respectable base of knowledge (articles of the week will help with that)

    • Understanding that reading is complex and there is not always a clear cut answer to our inquiries. 

    Sustained Silent Reading

    Many of you may already read for pleasure and many of you may not.  Reading books for fun often falls to the sidelines once school starts in the fall.  Your lives are filled with homework, after school activities, and fun with friends. The ssr program is a way to allow you to keep this part of your life alive and to keep you on the path towards being a life-long reader! We will be recreationally reading in class. This is an essential part of the curriculum. There are no book reports, projects, mandatory number of pages, or quizzes for this. My main goal is that you are reading for pleasure!!!! 

    Below are the readings for ninth grade English. 

    • Excerpts from The Thing around your Neck by Chimamanda Adichie

    • Stories from One World: a Global Anthology of Short Stories

    • The Crucible by Arthur Miller

    • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakesepeare (drama)

    • Lord of the Flies by William Golding (novel)

    • Night by Elie Wiesel

    • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater 

    • Poetry   - 

    • Non-fiction articles (most of articles are from The Week magazine) 

    • SSR – sustained silent reading 


    Below are the films and documentaries we will be viewing
    The Central Park Five documentary directed by Ken Burns
    Film versions of The Crucible and  Romeo and Juliet

    Schindler’s List

    Writing Goals

    • Understanding why we write

    • Learning when, why and how to elaborate

    • Experimenting with all kinds of writing without repercussions

    • Practicing and formalizing many forms of writing 

    • Self-evaluating – what works for you? It’s not one size fits all

    • Revisiting grammar and punctuation rules


    The Writer’s Notebook – Third section of your binder

    As my student and as a thinker, I want you writing as much as possible.  You must step away from the idea that if it is not graded, it is not important. This is where the writer’s notebook is essential. A writer’s notebook is just a blank document. You will be filling it with your words and ideas. It will not be a dialogue back and forth where you write something and hand it in to me and I tell you what I think.  I will only be reading about one quarter of what you write and your writing will be as private as you choose.  This notebook is a place for you to write without worrying about your grade. This is where you will play around with writing, experiment with different styles and take risks. Oftentimes (when I write), I will write an entire paragraph and cross out every sentence except one. Rather than feeling like all that writing was a waste of time, I see the one gem of a sentence I got out of all that work and realize it was worth it! The finished product is not the point of a writer’s notebook. The writer’s notebook can be your safe haven; it can be a home where you can begin to develop the habits of mind – seeing, thinking, expressing, and reacting to the world. 

    Vocabulary & Grammar
    I believe the best way to improve your vocabulary is to read A LOT. But, memorization of vocabulary words certainly helps along the way.  You will be learning around 20 words a month and one new grammar rule a week.  Every Thursday or Friday (depending on which day our class falls) we will have a multiple choice vocabulary and grammar quiz. 

    Inquiry learning Goals 

    Being a 21st century learner is quite a challenge. One of the most important skills you can develop before branching out into the world  is to become a self-directed, curious and resourceful learner.  To do this, you must embrace:

    • risk taking

    • the MESSINESS of learning

    • time management 

    • creative problem solving 

    • self-direction - DECISION MAKING!!!

    • self-reflection

    Your Assignments
    All assignments and lesson plans are posted in the Google Classroom. If you are absent, you are responsible for the missed assignments. If I am absent, you are responsible for doing all of the work assigned via Google Classroom. 


    Extra Help

    Extra help can be for a number of purposes. Sometimes you may need a quiet place to simply do your homework and have me there just in case you have a question. Other times, you may want me to go over an essay you are writing. I have even had students come to me with their notebooks in disarray in desperate need of some organizational help. Extra help is not a place for me to tell you what a book is about if you didn’t read it. You must meet me half way. I am available for extra help every day after school at 2:20 in room 163. I will have a sign on my door if I am helping out in the English office (room 243).  Occasionally I will have a meeting at 2:25 and will not be available, therefore it is important to let me know that you are coming so you can catch your bus and not have to wait for the late bus.  This does not mean that you can’t just pop in after school – please do. I welcome all visitors!


    1. One three-ring binder (you may share it with other classes)

    2.  Folder

    3. post-it notes & highlighter


    Grading Policy 

    RESPONSIBILITY GRADE – 50  points for collected and graded assignments. You begin the quarter with a perfect score. If your assignment is one day late, 10% is taken off of this grade.  It is not reflected on the grade of the assignment. This allows me to look back on your assessments and see whether or not you have reached or exceeded the benchmarks. 

    HOMEWORK:  5-10 points (QUICK CHECK) – the points cannot be made up.

    SSR – 50 points .  If you do not have your book in class, you lose 3 points from this score.  Be prepared!!!

    ARTICLE OF THE WEEK - 50 points


    READING CHECKS :  10-20 points – If I assign reading homework, you will most likely have a multiple choice reading check the next class.  The reading checks will assess whether or not you read the chapters.  If you read, you should do very well!

    EXAMS:  100


    FISHBOWLS - 100 Points 

    PARTICIPATION:  Occasionally I give daily participation points (5 points). If you go above and beyond, I give bonus points.


    As an educator, I welcome academic honesty and tenacity in a student’s work.  On the other hand, I abhor academic dishonesty (copying homework, cheating, plagiarism, using films and Cliff’s Notes while failing to read the original work).  This type of behavior has no place in high school, and it will not be tolerated.  Plagiarism is the direct copying of a source.  If a student chooses to plagiarize at any time during this course, disciplinary action will be taken and the assignment will be given a ZERO.  

    English 9 Contract
    One of the purposes of this course is to broaden a student’s understanding and appreciation of classic and contemporary literature.  Only in a community of trust can we help each other reach our academic goals.  Some guidelines regarding the classroom will aid in our journey.  Please contact me with any questions or concerns.


    • Language is important.  Racist, sexist, homophobic, or other abusive language will not be tolerated.  

    • A respectful atmosphere is key to a learning atmosphere.  I respect my students as individuals, and I expect them to act accordingly.


    Certain paperwork requirements will remain the same throughout the course, and they include the following


    • If an assignment is handwritten, it must be completed in blue or black ink only.

    • All assignments must include a heading in MLA format with the student name, teacher, course, date, and assignment title in the upper left hand corner of the paper.

    • All handwritten assignments must be handed in on white loose-leaf paper, and word processed assignments must be in a standard font of 12 point size and in times new roman.

    • Students must hand work in on time to receive full credit:  points will be deducted for each day the assignment is late.  Assignments more than five days late will not be accepted unless there are extenuating circumstances.


    Any assignment not meeting the above criteria will be returned to the student. 
        Detach here and return the lower portion.




    By signing below, I acknowledge that I have read, understood, and agreed to adhere to the policies stated in Ms. DePoala’s English 9 syllabus and contract.


    student name (print)

    __________________________________ _______________

    Student’s signature date

    __________________________________ _______________

    Guardian’s signature date

Last Modified on September 3, 2022