2011 – 2012
THE OPENING OF CLASS
Entering the Classroom: If the teacher is at the door, please greet him or her with a firm
handshake, make eye contact, and offer a respectful greeting. If the teacher is not at the door,
please come in quietly, gather handouts when available, and go directly to your assigned seat.
Scholars demonstrate zest and initiative when they begin work immediately and purposefully.
When the bell rings you must be in your seat with your materials out to be ―on time.‖ If you have
not already done so, begin work immediately when the bell rings. If you are late, enter invisibly.
Submitting Work: Assignments should be placed neatly on the corner of your desk at the start of
class on the date due. Top quality homework demonstrates excellence. If you are turning in late
work, because of absence or lateness, also put it on the corner of the desk. Unprofessional work
(folded, wrinkled, stained, frilled, illegible, scribbled, etc.) will not be accepted. All work must
be submitted with proper heading, including first and last names. Work that is submitted without
both first and last names, will be treated – like all unprofessional work – as a missing assignment.
All written work must adhere to MLA formatting for heading and title (worksheets do not require
MLA formatting, but must include first and last name and date) as shown below:
John Q. Student Student [pg. #]
1 Sept. 2010
Do Now: Class will begin with a SILENT Do Now. After the bell, any conversation not explicitly
prompted by the Do Now will earn an ―off-task‖ demerit. If the teacher does not distribute a Do
Now, your default setting should be to ―assign yourself‖ to a productive task relevant to the class
(this includes: reviewing your notes, re-reading handouts, studying, reviewing flashcards, etc.)
NOTE: Such productive use of time (whether following the Do Now or when otherwise awaiting
direction) demonstrates initiative. It is unacceptable to talk, pass notes, complete work for other
classes, read for pleasure, sleep, or rest when awaiting direction.
Your Desk: Please keep your desk clear of all unnecessary materials. Excess materials should
be placed in a location out of the aisle and under your desk or chair unless otherwise instructed.
You should only have materials for the present class, your planner, and an appropriate writing
utensil (blue or black pen only for all classes except Science and Math).
SLANT: Look alert, attentive, and engaged. This demonstrates zest. Sit so that your legs are
directly under the desk and your feet are on the floor. If there is a space between you and the
back of your chair, you are slouching and will earn a poor posture demerit. Hands may be placed
on your face in a thoughtful position only. Your hands should not be holding up your head.
Tracking the Speaker: Your courses will have a tremendous amount of discussion. It is essential
that you track the speaker, be it a teacher or classmate, as tracking ensures that you are paying
attention and giving due respect to the ideas of others. In the Upper School, teachers will not
always explicitly ask you to track a speaker. It is your responsibility to track the speaker, turning
when necessary, without instruction. Not tracking demerits will be issued, even if an explicit
instruction to track is not given. Of course, there will be times when someone is speaking and
you are looking at an overhead screen or your notes. These are acceptable when appropriate,
unless you have been explicitly instructed to track. In general, at all times, you should be focused
on your paper, the document on display, or the speaker. These guidelines for tracking apply to
small group/pod work as well as whole class instruction and seminar/discussion.
Raise Your Hand to Speak: To speak in class, which can illustrate your leadership and courage,
please raise your hand directly in the air. Your hand should be above your shoulder with your
palm facing the speaker. When another person is speaking, however, please have your hands
down. In seminar, your teacher will establish guidelines for when and how it is appropriate to
speak without raising your hand.
Be Kind: Say please and thank you when appropriate to show kindness and citizenship.
Disrespect of peers will not be tolerated. On our worst days, our class should feel like a business
meeting amongst professional scholars. On our best days, it should feel like a team and family
working together to climb the mountain to college. Laughing at others mistakes or demerits
constitutes Level 2 disrespect. It sets an unscholarly, unproductive, and unfriendly tone in our
classrooms that we will not allow.
Be Professional: Teachers should be addressed with their title and last name (e.g.: Mr. Khan; not
Khandeezy, Mister or Khan). Furthermore, scholars at AECHS always speak in Academic English.
If you use slang or non-standard English in class, the teacher will correct you, issue an
unprofessional communication demerit, and expect you to rephrase. Any of the following phrases
used in an academic context (class/halls/conversation with adults) at any time will result in a level
1 demerit: ―we was,‖ ―I/we/you/he/she/it be,‖ ―ain’t,‖ ―ya’ll,‖ or questions delivered as
statements (i.e. ―I can go to the bathroom?‖).
NOTE: Our goal is to prepare you to succeed in life, college, and your career. In all three of these
areas, speaking in a professional manner is a must. Therefore, before you graduate from our
school, you need to become proficient at Academic English. Giving the impression of
professionalism is very important, and learning when and how to code switch effectively will help
you to succeed in your goals.
Leaving Your Seat: Upperclassmen are expected to use discretion when getting out of their seats
in class. Professionalism and self-control require that you be aware of appropriate moments to
leave your seat and do so in a way that is invisible to the class (i.e.: not during direct instruction,
perhaps during independent work, not to use a pencil sharpener). Students are not allowed to
touch the air conditioner, windows, light switches, doors, or blinds.
Leaving Class [bathroom or locker]: AFAHS policy is that you should use the bathroom during
transitions. School-issued passes are to be reserved for exceptional situations and still require
permission from the teacher. Students should seek permission to leave class during independent
or group work, and only in true emergency situations during direct instruction.
Prohibited Items: Food and drink are not permitted in class. Also prohibited are grooming
items, toys, and any other object a teacher deems inappropriate. College Ready scholars MAY
bring drinks into class, but only if in College Ready containers.
Writing On Yourself will result in a level 1 demerit. If you enter class with writing on your
person, you will be instructed to wash it off and issued a level 1 demerit. ADDITIONALLY, writing
on yourself during class is off-task/disengaged.
SHOULDER PARTNERS AND GROUP WORK
Shoulder Partners: A shoulder partner is someone that you routinely work with to discuss ideas,
questions, etc. Generally, you will be asked to confer with your shoulder partner on a regular
basis throughout a lesson. Shoulder partners are to help you develop ideas and think clearly, not
to socialize (Note: your teachers will assign your shoulder partners). It is expected that
transitions from shoulder partner to whole-class activities will be lightning fast.
Group Work: You will often work in groups/pods. Please follow these guidelines (Guidelines 3-9
apply to BOTH shoulder partner and group work):
1. Desks are pushed together
2. Groups are spread out from other groups
3. Body language shows engagement (facing each other, sitting up)
4. Only relevant materials are out
5. Focus is only on the group (no interaction with other groups)
6. Students are on-task 100% of the time
7. Students exhibit urgency (group work is not a break)
8. Students speak at an appropriate volume
9. All students contribute
THE END OF CLASS
Dismissal: Class ends when the teacher dismisses you, not when the bell rings. Do not pack up
Homework: You are responsible for writing all homework assignments in your planner before
the end of class. Assume that you have homework each night in each class. If you are not sure
what it is, first look on the board, then, if still not sure, ask the teacher.
Re-Arranging Desks: We will routinely move desks for seminars, group work, and other
activities. It is expected that everyone demonstrate citizenship by helping to set up for class and
restore the room to the default position at the end of class, efficiently and as quietly as possible.
Students should lift, and not drag, desks and tables.
Leave the Room Cleaner Than You Found It: As you pack up, please practice citizenship by
scanning your immediate area—below your desk and other desks near you, book cases, the back
ledge and window sill, etc.—for extra handouts, trash, markers, or other items that need to be
cleaned up. If your area of the classroom is left messy and/or if your personal items are left
behind, you will be issued a Level 1 not cleaning up demerit. This includes not putting desks back
properly and not pushing in your chair.
THE MERIT SYSTEM IN THE CLASSROOM
We Will All Earn Merits, We Will All Earn Demerits: The merit system is a reflection of our
high expectations for you. If you never earn a demerit, it would mean that we do not expect very
much from you. This means that everyone will earn demerits at some point in the year, because
we are trying to guide you on a path to excellence and challenge you to become the best student
and person you can be. At the same time, it is a MERIT system, not a demerit system, which means
our overall inclination is to look for and reward all the great things you do.
You Will Know When You Have Earned a Merit or Demerit: The teacher will explicitly inform
you when you have earned a merit or demerit in one of the following ways:
Most often the teacher will say when you have earned a merit or demerit. This is not to
embarrass you, but because we prefer for you to know that you have earned the merit or
demerit in real time as opposed to learning about it—and having to guess why—after the
fact via your weekly merit report.
Scholars should never call out a merit or demerit, or ask for a merit (or demerit) for
themselves. This undermines the system, reflects poorly on your professionalism, and is
distracting to the class. It will earn a level 1 unprofessional communication demerit.
Appropriate Response to Correction: There are two appropriate responses to correction at
AFAHS. You may either say ―Sorry‖ and comply with the instruction, or you may say nothing and
comply with the instruction. This demonstrates self-control. Inappropriate reactions include, but
are not limited to the following examples of poor body language and tone: rolling your eyes,
sucking your teeth, sighing, answering sarcastically, answering with an argument (―I was just…‖
or anything other than ―Sorry‖) or muttering under your breath will be considered an
inappropriate response to correction and earn a level 2 demerit.
*This is not to say that you may never discuss merits or demerits with the teacher. To initiate a
discussion with a teacher, wait until class is over and then request to speak to the teacher outside of
class time. Such behavior demonstrates independence and initiative.
Category Percentage Late Work:
HOMEWORK 20 Submitted by: Highest score possible:
CLASS 20 5:00 PM on due date 85%
PERFORMANCE 1 day late 75%
FORMATIVE 20 2 days late 70%
ASSESSMENTS 3 days late 70%
SUMMATIVE 40 More than 3 days late (not accepted) 35%
If you have an expected absence, you must collect your assignments and make
arrangements for class work, seminars, quizzes, and other assessments or class work you
may miss with your teachers BEFORE the absence occurs. These absences include any
absence that is not an unexpected illness or emergency. They include, but are not limited
to: doctor visits, college visits, school trips, ambassador duties, athletics, and family travel.
If you have an unexpected absence, prompted by illness, emergency, removal from class,
or any other reason, you must return to class with the homework due the day you missed
class. You should gather missed work at an appropriate time and complete missed
assignments for the following day (one extra day for students who missed multiple days). If
you are unclear about when your work is due or wish to seek an extension, it is your
responsibility to clarify with the teacher or request an extension.
NOTE: Scholars should not ask for missing assignments during class time. Instead, they should
approach the teacher outside of class, during SGI, afterschool, or during another appropriate
Academic Dishonesty Policy:
Academic Dishonesty includes: multiple submission of your own work, cheating on assessments,
plagiarism (use of someone else’s work, words, or ideas as if they are your own,
unacknowledged use of a source), copied HW or class work, collaboration on any assignment
without the express permission of your instructor, falsification of data (such as on a lab report),
misreported independent work, use of online translators for foreign language work.
The consequences of academic dishonesty will always include: a failing grade, referral to the
Honor Council/Dean of Students (and College Ready Status team, when applicable), reporting to
the College Office, and a call home.
Academic dishonesty violates our community’s core value of integrity and undermines your
education. Further, it endangers your academic future. AHS reports all breaches of academic
integrity to colleges with students’ applications. Furthermore, recommenders are bound by their
own codes of integrity and professionalism to report incidents of academic integrity in their
classes in their letters.
Upper School teachers’ office hours will be posted on the first floor of the Gold St. building. If a
student wants to meet with a teacher outside of these hours, he or she should make an
appointment with the teacher in person or by email.
In the Upper School, we encourage you to communicate proactively with your teachers. But
please recognize the following in your communications:
In most cases, teachers are giving you their personal phone numbers. We do this to
encourage active communication and to support you when you are studying and
completing assignments in the evenings and on weekends. This does not mean, though,
that teachers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will return your call as soon
as possible, but will not interrupt important personal responsibilities or commitments to
Similarly, please do not call teachers after 9:00 at night. This is never acceptable with
anyone with whom you have a professional relationship.
Do not share your teachers’ numbers with anyone except other students in the Upper
Begin each phone interaction with a polite greeting, in which you identify yourself. End
each phone conversation by saying ―thank you.‖
Only text teachers who expressly invite you to do so.
Do not ―friend‖ your teachers. Social networking between teachers and students violates
the professional standards of Achievement First. Your teacher loves you, but will not
Write emails as if they are formal letters, and proofread them for grammar, clarity, tone,
and professional language before sending. Always include a subject.
Teacher Email Address Phone Number
Ms. Ahlgren Blythe firstname.lastname@example.org 309-507-2020
Ms. Auger email@example.com 860-748-1290
Mr. Callahan firstname.lastname@example.org 617-275-6180
Ms. Cass email@example.com 203-654-6059
Ms. Chong firstname.lastname@example.org 202-380-7005
Mr. Fellows email@example.com 203-499-9470
Ms. Gallagher firstname.lastname@example.org 616-822-2684
Ms. Johnson email@example.com 917-363-7333
Mr. Khan Bilalkhan@achievementfirst.org 212-203-5552
Ms. Polcrack firstname.lastname@example.org 203-564-3618
Ms. Santos email@example.com 917-596-8378
Ms. Scheve firstname.lastname@example.org 203-435-6065
Mr. Stelson email@example.com 617-275-3782
Ms. Sykes firstname.lastname@example.org 203-376-2655