South High School -- Spring 2003

Ms. Margaret Ogilvie

Room 252
Voicemail: 764-3203 -- Mailbox 21467


Welcome Students and Parents:

This is my second year at South, and I have taught at both high school and middle school language arts and journalism in Denver Public Schools as well as elsewhere in Colorado and in California.  I've also worked as a human services counselor and as a professional journalist.  I especially enjoy teaching in the culturally-diverse environment at South.  

My goal in teaching journalism is to give students an idea of  how language arts skills are related to each other. In journalism, as in any language arts class, these skills include reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  I believe that good study skills are important and that homework is helpful in practicing and reinforcing new ideas.  Therefore, students can expect assignments up to twice each week, though usually not over the weekends.  Some assignments will be long-term.

I believe that journalism requires curiosity and the determination to be objective and responsible.  The course focuses on newspapers, but students also will learn about other journalistic media.  Photography, design, advertising, and writing will be emphasized in hopes that students will gain the skills necessary to become members of the South High Gargoyle newspaper staff.

Objectives and standards for this course are outlined by Denver Public Schools.  We have a new textbook, Introduction to Journalism, published in 2001 by McDougall Littel.   I plan to emphasize processes involved, as well as final products. Students will have opportunities to contribute occasionally to production of The Gargoyle.  The course will cover topics such as the history of American journalism, ethics of good journalism, and interview techniques.  Students will write news, features, sports, and opinion stories, and will learn to write headlines and to edit copy based on AP style.

Academic standards are consistent throughout the district, but I recognize that each student has unique interests, abilities, and learning styles.  Behavioral expectations are based on respect for each other and for school property.

Classroom expectations are:

1. Attend regularly and be on time. (Please review policies in student handbook.)  

South's tardy policy allows three unexcused tardies, at which time parents are notified.  The fourth tardy is unexcused regardless of circumstance, resulting in in-school suspension and parent conference. The fifth tardy results in out-of-school suspension and parent conference before readmission.

South's attendance policy requires a report to parents after the second unexcused absence and to the counselor after the third.  The fourth time results in in-school suspension and parent conference; the fifth time requires student and parent to appear before the appeal board to avoid failing the course.

2. Bring supplies every day.  These are:  Three-ring notebook with a section for English, and notebook paper; spiral notebook; dark ink pen.  (Don't use light ink.)

3. Passes out of  room limited to three per semester. (Rest room only, except in emergencies)

4. No late homework allowed without written parental excuse.  Make-up work after absence: Due next class meeting after return, if one-day absence. (If longer, proportionate time will be given.)  There will be no credit for make-up work related to unexcused absences.

5. No food or drinks allowed in classroom, other than bottled water. (Gum only if not seen or heard.)

Referral ladder for violation of expectations:

1. Conference with teacher (warning, possibly written plan for student to improve)

2. Referral to counselor (may involve parent conference and/or in-school suspension

3. Referral to Dean of Students (teacher may go immediately to this level is the student must be removed from school immediately; automatic in-house suspension)

4. Out-of-school suspension (conferences with parents necessary)

Grading Scale (based on school-wide standard):

100-93   A
92-84     B
83-72     C
71-65     D
64-0       F

Basis for Grades: Generally one-third classwork, one-third homework, one-third quizzes and tests.  Participation is not a separate category, but positive attitude and effort always result in better performance.  Good attendance also is a very important factor.

Extra credit:

Students may earn extra credit in a variety of ways.  Usually, I reward prompt completion of assignments in this way, as well as volunteering to do extra work.

Ms. Ogilvie's Syllabus Page

The English Faculty Page

The Reading and Writing Center Page