This is an invitation
To All English 56 Scholars
Believe in Yourself, Dream, Ascend
This summer we are going to be reading a powerful autobiography,
A Place to Stand, by Jimmy Santiago Baca. Jimmy was born in
New Mexico of Indian-Mexican descent. He was abandoned by his
parents at an early age, raised partly by his grandmother but was
later sent to an orphanage. He became a runaway at age 13, and at
age 21, he was sentenced to five years in a maximum security
prison. He writes that “Prison was the most frightening nightmare I
ever experienced.” Yet, ultimately this house of pain became the
site of his transformation. He writes,
But if prison was the place of my downfall, a place where my humanity
was cloaked by the rough fabric of the most primitive manhood, it was
also the place of my ascent. I became a different man, not because prison
was good for me, but in spite of its destructive forces. In prison, I learned
to believe in myself and to dream for a better life.
How did Baca transform himself? First, he learned to read and write. Then, he discovered
the healing power of poetry.
What hardships have you overcome?
Have you ever had a transformative experience?
What do reading and writing mean to you?
Jarrell/English 56/Summer 2009 1
The English 56 Promise
Reading and writing were the keys to Jimmy Santiago Baca’s transformation, from a hurt and angry young man to
an award-winning poet and writer. English 56 is designed to help you achieve the reading and study skills you
need to be successful in college. Yet, it is also an opportunity for you to engage with reading and language in a
new way. This course promises that you can become a more active, critical reader, a person who enjoys reading
and who feels confident evaluating someone else’s writing.
During this semester, we will read and discuss articles about technology, gender, diversity and health. Some
topics will be difficult or controversial. Yet, they are the type of articles and textbook selections that you will read
in future college courses. This course promises to prepare you for the variety of readings that you will encounter
in your college career. This course also promises that you will build important reading skills, such as using a
process to read a text, utilizing context clues to understand vocabulary, identifying the main idea and supporting
details, making inferences, identifying facts and opinions, outlining, summarizing, and evaluating arguments.
Student Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to:
1. Read and comprehend college-level materials from a variety of disciplines.
2. Analyze and critically evaluate college-level reading materials, both orally and in writing.
3. Use specific reading strategies, including pre-reading, reading with questions, summarizing and note-taking, to
facilitate comprehension and critical reading of difficult texts in a variety of disciplines.
4. Utilize a variety of vocabulary learning strategies, particularly content-specific vocabulary.
5. Write thoughtfully and accurately about class readings using appropriate grammatical structures to convey
understanding of the readings, to analyze texts, and to show relationships between parts of texts.
6. Prepare a response paper, incorporating a variety of sources.
7. Apply critical thinking skills in the process of reading and writing as well as in class discussion.
8. Select the appropriate study skills, comprehension strategies, and work habits necessary for success in further
academic and workplace environments.
Ways to Fulfill the English 56 Promise
To realize these promises, you must be responsible for you own learning. Here’s how:
Be here: Attendance is essential to your success and to the class as a whole. When you are in class, allow
yourself to be completely here. Turn off and put away cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices. Do
not eat while class is in session; drinking is okay as long as you have a closed container.
Be prepared: Having your homework completed makes you ready to participate effectively in class. You
will be able to contribute, teach, and learn from others. Plan on spending at least one to two hours
studying outside of class for each hour you are in the classroom. For this intensive summer semester, that
means studying between six and twelve hours just for this class.
Be organized: Keep your syllabus, notes, and handouts in a binder for easy access and review.
Be engaged: Ask questions … of the professor, the tutor, the counselor, and the other students. When
you have an opinion, express it – and be ready to back it up with logical reasons, examples from personal
experience, and other evidence.
Be open: If at first you think a reading is boring or you disagree with a position, keep an open mind. You
might surprise yourself! Note: This class welcomes all. Diversity (based on race, ethnicity, gender,
religion and sexual orientation) will be celebrated. Respect in actions and words is expected.
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Practicing to Achieve the Promise
Homework is designed to reinforce skills and vocabulary as well as enhance the content of the course.
Please handwrite your homework neatly in pen (only word-process your homework when the professor
specifically instructs you to do so).
Write your name and the date in the top right corner.
At the beginning of each exercise, write the page number, exercise number and title.
Skip lines in order to leave plenty of space to write in corrections during class review.
Write answers in full sentences (except for multiple choice exercises).
Homework assignments are due at the beginning of class. If you are going to be absent, you may discuss
turning the assignment in prior to the class with the professor. No late assignments will be accepted, but
the lowest assignment score will be dropped.
You are responsible for completing all homework assignments even if they are not collected.
Assessing Your Growth as a Reader and Student
Seven tests (50 points each) 300
(The lowest grade will be dropped. No make-ups.)
Collected Assignments and Pop Quizzes (10 points each) 100
(The lowest grade will be dropped. No make-ups.)
Reading Circle Project (Baca) 50
Response Paper 50
Approximate Total: 500 points
(Total number of points may vary.)
80-89% =B (400-449)
70-79% =C (350-399)
60-69% =D (300-349)
0-59% =F (299 and below)
Extra Credit Possibilities
Work in the English Center with a tutor (5 points per hour; Maximum for extra credit: 2 hours)
Textbook Mastery Test (with prior approval) (2 maximum, 5 pts each)
Maximum extra credit: 20 points total
If you need additional accommodations to be successful in this course, you should discuss options with the
instructor during the first two weeks of school.
Policies for Success
You can find important guidelines on academic progress, academic regulations, student rights and responsibilities
in the SD City College Catalog.
If you have an unresolved conflict during the class, you must first contact the course instructor in an attempt to
resolve the problem. If the results are unsatisfactory, you should next contact the Department Chairperson. If the
results are still unsatisfactory, you should contact the School Dean.
Jarrell/English 56/Summer 2009 3
This class will be conducted in accordance with the college student code of conduct and basic standards of
academic honesty. Cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty are not acceptable. Cheating
includes copying answers from another student’s work, quiz or exam. Plagiarism involves submitting work
(sentences, paragraphs, etc.) written by someone else and claiming that you have written it even if you have
changed the words around. Using Internet sources and not giving them credit also counts as plagiarism. If there is
any doubt whether or not the work you submit is your own, you will be asked to complete a comparable
assignment under the supervision of the instructor.
If you are absent or late, please be sure to find out what happened in class and if there was any new information
about assignments or changes to the schedule or the assignments. Also, your homework for the next class will be
posted at the end of class. You are responsible for completing it and for coming to the next class prepared.
Therefore, be sure to get the phone numbers and email addresses of at least 4 other students.
Professor: Jan Jarrell Course CRN: 42891
Office: C224B Class Meets: M/W 11:20-2:25 PM
Office Phone: (619) 388-3962 Room: TM7
Office Hours: Mondays from 2:30-3:30 in C224B and by appointment
Supplemental Instruction Tutor: Norell Martinez Counselor: Ray Wong
English Center: C226 Office: A110
English Center Phone: (619) 388-3633 Office Phone: (619) 388-3540
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com
Required Texts & Materials
A Community of Readers, 4th Edition by Roberta Alexander and Jan Lombardi
A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca
A 3-ring binder with dividers to organize notes, returned work, and handouts
A different color pencil or pen for correcting your work in class
Working email address
Qualifying score on the English Placement Test (R4), successful completion of English 42 (C or better), or
successful completion of ESOL 40.
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Reading and Assignment Schedule (subject to change)
Date Monday Wednesday
Week 1: No Class
Week 2: Test 1: Ch. 1 Joining the Community
Week 3: Baca 1: Chapters 1 & 2 (p. 1-42) Test 2: Ch. 2 Technology
Week 4: Baca 2: Chapters 3 & 4 (p. 43-88) Test 3: Ch. 5 & 7 Diversity
Week 5: Baca 3: Chapters 5 & 6 (p. 89-132) Test 4: Ch. 6 Gender
Week 6: Baca 4: Chapters 7 & 8 (p. 133-175) Test 5: Ch. 3 Food and Culture
Week 7: Baca 5: Chapters 9 & 10 (p. 177-216) Test 6: Ch. 4 Health and Wellness
Week 8: Baca 6: Chapters 11-End (p. 217-264) Test 7: Ch. 8 Science, Society, and Medicine
Drop with Refund: 06-22-2009
Drop without "W": 06-23-2009
Credit/No Credit: 07-01-2009
Jarrell/English 56/Summer 2009 5