Course Outline -- South High School -- Spring 2003

Ms. Margaret Ogilvie

Room 252
Voicemail: 764-3203 -- Mailbox 21467


Welcome Students and Parents:

I'm happy to be returning to South this year, and to start my second year as the newspaper advisor.  We have a really special group of students on the staff, and I'm really looking forward to working with them, and especially to be teaching in the culturally-diverse environment, which I truly value. Previously, 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.  

I believe that participation in the newspaper program is a unique opportunity to develop responsibility and exercise initiative and creativity beyond the possibilities of most classroom situations.  But is also requires cooperation and concern for the overall product and purpose, beyond individual roles.  My hope is that the staff will become a teach which works together well to achieve common goals and to help each other succeed in learning every aspect of production.  Though individuals assume specific staff assignments, these may be rotated or shared for the benefit of all.  I expect students to adhere to high ethical standards and to serve the needs of readers within the South High School community.

I believe that good journalism requires objectivity, curiosity, and -- above all -- idealistic commitment and hard work.  The course follows objectives and standards outlined by Denver Public Schools, with emphasis on practical experience.  It will requrie considerable time after school hours, as we produce a paper each month -- adhering strictly to deadlines!

Each student will be accountable for the following outcomes:

1. Writing news, features, investigative, and editorial articles.
2. Advertising sales.
3. Some technical aspect of production using Microsoft Word (word processing) and Quark Express (page design) programs on Macintosh computers in the classroom.
4. Editing copy (own and/or others? according to Associated Press style.
5. Photography (may use own cameras or the staff cameras -- which do not go home overnight unless by previous agreement).

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.  Section in a spiral notebook, with looseleaf paper, for filing handouts and keeping notes.  Students may also want to use a spiral notebook for interviews.  Bring a dark ink pen and pencil.

3. Passes out of  room:  Students will sign out of the room, with specific destinations and times indicated.  They will carry newspaper identifications, and will not abuse the privilege of leaving class to do interviews.  They will not leave campus on newspaper business during the school day.

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)


See outcome expectations listed above. This class will be "tested" primarily on the quality of the product they produce; tat will be one shared grade each month.  There will be occasional evaluations intended to check for understanding of important concepts.  Otherwise, staffers will be expected to cover their beats conscientiously, to fulfill their individual assignments according to standards and on time, to carry their fair share of the load, and to be "team players."

Grading will be somewhat holistic, taking into account student self-assessment and staff feedback, as well as teacher evaluation.  Positive attitude and effort always result in better performance.  Good attendance is also a very important factor.

Ms. Ogilvie's Syllabus Page

The English Faculty Page

The Reading and Writing Center Page