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Algebra 1 Guidelines

Clark Magnet High School (2016 – 2017)                                                                                   Course Title:  Algebra 1

Instructor:  Amir Ghavam                          email:                        Website:


“An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”  Orlando Battista


Course Description

This course sets the foundation for many future math courses.  As such, it is extremely important that students get an in-depth understanding of the concepts, as well as the algorithm – the mechanical steps required to solve problems.  The course requires a certain level of discipline, dedication, and rigor in order for the students to be successful.  The course is based on critical reasoning, logical thinking, and sensible problem-solving skills.  Students are expected to read each section in the book/open source material, once ahead of the class meeting for exposure and familiarity, and once after the class meeting for in-depth comprehension.


Recommended Material

Students are responsible to bring ALL material (except the 3-ring binder) to EVERY class meeting:

Homework Notebook (a 3-ring binder; NO spiral notebook)

Lined paper and Graph paper

A straightedge/ruler

Pencils and Erasers

Color Pens (NO red color)

Few Highlighters (preferably lighter colors)

A Scientific calculator

Any other material needed from time-to-time


Homework Policy

  • Homework is extremely important.  If you expect to pass this class you must attempt each homework problem assigned and you must do them constantly, consistently, orderly, neatly, and with special care and attention to detail.  You are expected to follow the homework format as explained on a separate handout.  You must do homework for COMPREHENSION, not just COMPLETION!
  • Homework will be collected at random after it has been reviewed.  Usually two problems will be checked at random.  You can earn from 0 to 10 points.  If you have an excused absence for the day I collected homework, it is YOUR responsibility to remember to turn your homework to me at the beginning of the next session or you will get a zero.
  • Additional (Common-Core) Homework may be assigned for various numbers of points.
  • For each chapter/unit, you are expected to bring ALL of the homework assignments to class until the day of the test.
  • You are expected to keep ALL related material until the end of the course, in case of announced notebook checks.
  • If you are absent, it is YOUR responsibility to check with a classmate for the homework assignment that is due the following meeting as well as any other material, announcements, etc. that you might have missed.


Name:                                                  Phone Number:                                                email:                                                  


Name:                                                  Phone Number:                                                email:                                                  


Grading Policy

Your grade is based on your performance in this course, NOT on your good intentions or your past track records.  Students will have opportunities to gain points on Homework, Class Participation, Possible Quizzes, Possible Team-Practices, Chapter/Unit Tests and the Final Exam.  In general, I do NOT assign extra credit assignments; however, there may be projects assigned, as special Homework Assignments.


Approximate Point Distribution (by category)

  • (10%)  Class participation
  • (20%)  Homework (collected intermittently)
  • (10%)  Quizzes and Team-Practices – Quizzes may be given some days on the material being presented for a quick check-for-understanding.  Team-Practices are opportunities for students to work in a team environment and prepare for the upcoming chapter/unit test.  They will be worth various points.
  • (60%)  Chapter/Unit Tests & Final Exam will be worth various points.



In general, 20% of the overall grade is reserved for the Final Exam.  Therefore, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to take the Final Exam very seriously.


Your grade will be based on your percentage of the total possible points according to the following scale:

90%  A  100%               80%  B  90%                  70%  C  80%                  60%  D  70%                  0%  F  60%


Make-Up Policy

  • If you have an excused absence on the day I collected homework, it is YOUR responsibility to remember to turn your homework to me at the beginning of the next session or you will get a zero.  I will not pursue you.
  • If you miss a quiz or a team-practice, you will not be allowed to make it up.  Those points will NOT be counted for or against you.
  • If you are absent, you will not gain any participation points.  Those points will NOT be counted for or against you.
  • If you miss any Chapter/Unit Test, and your absence was an excused one, you MUST send me an email on the same day and arrange for a make-up test.   Tests can be made up either during the next class period OR during Enrichment and after school.  You MUST make arrangements with the teacher.  If your absence was NOT an excused one, or if you were absent due to a suspension, you WILL automatically receive a zero and no make-up will be given.


Course Expectations

  • Be on time:  Be in the room, in your assigned seat, ready to work before the bell rings.  Remain seated, at all times, during class.  Every time you have an unexcused tardy, you will lose half of your daily participation points.  If you are tardy or late more than 3 times to this class during each semester, you will receive a referral for each occurrence.
  • Show your work:  Unless you are told otherwise, you MUST show all of your step-by-step work to get full credit.
  • Be Prepared:  Bring all your material to all class meetings.  During quizzes and exams, you will NOT be allowed to borrow anything from anyone else.
  • Be respectful:  Show respect to your teacher, your classmates, visitors, TA’s, substitute teachers, and most importantly to yourself.
  • Follow Instructions:  Adhere to school policies, teacher’s instructions, classroom rules and policies at ALL times.
  • Electronics:  Turn your cell phones, iPods, iPads, mp3’s, Smart Watches, Smart Glasses, and all other electronics off AND put them in your backpacks (not in your pockets) when you are in this class.  If you violate this policy, I will confiscate your device; will turn it into the office; and will give you a zero for that day’s participation points.
  • Calculators:  You may NOT at any time use the calculator feature of your cell phone.
  • Pencils:  You MUST use a pencil to do your homework, quizzes, team-practices, chapter tests, and the final exam.  I will NOT grade them if they are done in pen.
  • Be honorable:  Do your own work!  If you cheat, I will give you a zero for your work AND I will refer you to the office.  (See the Academic Honesty Policy handout for more detail).
  • Other Subjects:  If you work on other subjects during math class (without my specific and prior permission) I will take it away from you and will NOT return it to you.


Extra Assistance

In this course, I expect you to do all of your work, at all times.  I highly encourage you to form Study Groups with your classmates, to meet in the evenings and/or on the weekends.  If/when you need my assistance, I invite you to come to my Enrichment Sessions, whenever possible.  Also, you can often catch me in the morning before school begins, during snack, at lunch, or even after school.  In addition to being your teacher, I am offering you my partnership.  I am here to support you!  Take advantage of it and don’t wait till it’s too late!


I acknowledge that I have read and have fully understood Mr. Ghavam’s Course Description and Policies and will adhere to them, at all times:


Name:                                                                                      Period:                          

Signature:                                                                               Date:                             

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