Honors PreCalculus Course Description and Policies/Course Syllabus

Clark Magnet High School (2020 - 2021)                                                                 Course Title:  Honors Precalculus

Instructor:  Amir Ghavam                             email:  aghavam@gusd.net             Website:  aghavam.educatorpages.com





IMPORTANT:  The information in this course syllabus applies to the Remote Learning time period.  In the event that classes are fully conducted in-person or Hybrid, this syllabus will be updated accordingly and will reflect the changes that become necessary.  Students will be notified of the changes, at that time!


Course Description


This course is extremely challenging.  It requires a high level of discipline, dedication, and rigor in order for the students to be successful.  The course is based on utilizing critical reasoning, logical thinking, and sensible problem-solving skills.  This course requires that students are fully familiar and are sufficiently proficient with topics in Integrated Math I, II, and III.  Furthermore, this course progresses at a faster rate than the regular Precalculus course AND will touch on additional topics in preparation for an introductory course on differential Calculus.


IMPORTANT:  Students are required to read each section in the Textbook, once ahead of the class meeting for exposure and familiarity, and once after the class meeting for in-depth comprehension.  Failure to do so will undermine the students’ level of comprehension and consequently their performance in the course.


One of the main intentions of this course is to train students and develop their skills that are necessary for a successful performance not only in this course, but also in their future math courses.  This course requires that students provide clear and concise step-by-step reasoning for their work – as often required on any advanced math course.  The step-by-step reasoning is absolutely critical to demonstrate the critical thinking required for each problem.


These steps often involve – but are not limited to – the identification of all the given information; the determination of a methodology and various tools/formulas required to solve the problem; the arrival at the possible answer(s); and the verification of the accuracy and validity of each answer.  Furthermore, students need to be able to explain all of these to someone else in an understandable manner.


Recommended Material


Students are required to keep ALL material related to this course for the entire academic year.  You are required to keep a notebook (as explained below) and you may be required to turn material in, at any time during the academic year.  It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you keep everything organized.  The following material is often what is needed by students:


  • 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 non-graphing** Scientific calculator
  • NO Messaging calculators***
  • Any other material needed from time-to-time


*     You may organize your binder, with 4-5 tabs, as follows:    

  1. Handouts
  2. Lecture Notes
  3. Homework
  4. Homework Corrections
  5. Lined and Graph Paper


**  Students are NOT allowed to use Graphing calculators, on quizzes/tests.


***  Students are NOT allowed to possess Messaging calculators at ANYTIME in my class; especially during quizzes/tests.  Possession of such calculators will result in an automatic zero on assignments and assessments.


Homework Policy


  • Homework is extremely important.  If you expect to pass this class, you must attempt each homework question 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 set of instructions.  You must do homework for COMPREHENSION, NOT just COMPLETION!
  • Homework will be collected, at random, AFTER it has been reviewed in class.  Usually two questions will be checked at random.  You can usually earn from zero to 10 points.
  • It is YOUR responsibility to submit the requested homework online, during the open window, by its deadline, even if you are absent from the class meeting.  If you fail to do so, you will earn a zero.
  • You must check the answers for the odd-numbered questions assigned, in the back of your textbook, before you attend a class meeting.  The answers for the even-numbered questions assigned will be shared with you, at the beginning of the next class meeting, when the assignment is due.  You must make all the necessary corrections, on your paper, at that time.  When grading your papers, I WILL BE looking for your corrections!
  • Additional (Common-Core) Homework may be assigned for various numbers of points.  Unless you are told otherwise, these homework assignments are often due at the end of each chapter.
  • You must keep ALL related material organized, in your binder, until the end of the course, in case of announced notebook checks.  (i.e., Do NOT throw away anything, unless I have told you to do so)
  • Be advised that any homework from any chapter may be collected at any time during the academic year.  Therefore, for each chapter, you are required to save ALL of your notes, your homework assignments, quizzes, etc. in your 3-ring binder for the entire Academic Year.
  • If you are absent for any reason, 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.
  • You are required to exchange name and contact information with at least two of your classmates:


Name:                                                                   Contact Information:                                             


Name:                                                                   Contact Information:                                             


If you or your partner(s) move to another period, you must update your Contact Information!






  • Cognitive research has shown that multitasking, while studying, does NOT work.  If you are distracted by your cell phone, social media (Snapchat, FaceTime, Skype, Instagram, Tweets, Facebook, etc.), or any other unrelated activities while doing your homework or studying, you are sabotaging your own education and setting yourself up for failure.  While I am NOT against social media, I am a very strong opponent of multitasking or anything else that divides students’ attention and causes distraction, while studying!


  • Be advised that I am fully aware of the various websites and phone Apps that are available for students to use and copy answer to homework questions and possibly use during online assessments.  Copying answers from other sources does NOT constitute as studying!  If you use any of those websites or Apps, to get the answers for your homework assignments or other assessment questions, you need to understand that you will most probably NOT pass this course with a favorable grade, regardless of how much you wish or hope.  It is that simple!

Grading Policy


IMPORTANT:  Your grade is STRICTLY based on YOUR PERFORMANCE in this course, NOT on your good intentions, how hard you tried, your friendly personality, any generous gifts, your past track records, the number of tutors you have worked with, your performance in other courses you are taking, or what any other teacher may have told you.  The fact that you have had “A’s” in ALL of your previous math courses does NOT guarantee an “A” in this course.

  • Students will have opportunities to gain points on Homework, Attendance and Class Participation, Possible Quizzes, Possible Team-Practices, Chapter Tests, and the Final Exam.
  • In general, I do NOT assign extra credit assignments; however, there may be projects assigned, as special Homework Assignments.  Do NOT ask for extra credits.


Approximate Point Distribution (by category):

  • (10%)  Attendance and Class participation – If you are late/tardy, leave before you are excused, or disrupt the session, you will lose part or all of you participation points for that session.
  • (20%)  Homework (collected intermittently)
  • (10%)  Quizzes and/or Team-Practices – Quizzes may sometimes be given on the material presented that day, for a quick check-for-understanding.  These quizzes must be submitted during the Zoom Session.  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%)  TESTS will be worth various points:  Chapter/Unit Tests (40%) & Final Exam (20%).


IMPORTANT NOTE:  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.


  • Be advised:  The Q grading system sometimes adjusts the grades up or down by a fraction of a percentage (throughout the semester) even when students get 100% in a category.  However, the system automatically corrects itself at the end of each grading period.  This has already been verified manually, numerous times!  You need NOT be concerned about this issue during the semester!


  • During each semester, at various times, I may make your letter and percentage grades in Q grading system invisible to you, for personal reasons!  However, your up-to-date grade is always there.


Letter Grade Assignment:

  • Your grade will be based on your percentage of the total possible points (by category) according to the following scale:

90.0% – 100% = A

80.0% – 89.9% = B

70.0% – 79.9% = C

60.0% – 69.9% = D

Below 60% = F



  • In general, I do NOT round grades up.  Please do NOT ask!  However, for students who have shown extra effort, by attending and actively participating during the Enrichment Sessions and/or the Office Hours, on a fairly regular basis, I sometimes consider rounding their SEMESTER grades up (WITH NO OBLIGATION OR PROMISE) ONLY IF they fall within 0.9% of the higher grade.
    • For example, at my own discretion, I MAY round 79.3% up to a “B” at the semester, if the student meets the requirements stated above.


Make-Up Policy


  • HOMEWORK:  If you miss submitting a homework assignment, during the open window, you will NOT have a chance to make the homework up for points.  However, it is highly recommended that you complete the homework assignment for your own sake and in case it is again collected in the future.
  • QUIZZES and TEAM-PRACTICES:  If you miss a quiz or a team-practice, there is no make-up!  Those points will NOT be counted for or against you.
  • ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION:  If you are absent, you will not gain any attendance or participation points.  Those points will NOT be counted for or against you.
    • If you miss any Chapter Test or the Final Exam and your absence is an excused one, YOU MUST SEND ME AN EMAIL, ON THE SAME DAY to arrange for a make-up test.   Tests can be made up at a time that is convenient for the teacher.  If you fail to send me an email, on the same day, or if you fail to make the test up, you will earn a zero on that test.
    • If you miss any Chapter/Unit Test or the Final Exam, and your absence is NOT an excused one, or if you were absent due to ANY suspension assigned by ANYONE, you WILL automatically receive a zero and no make-up test will be given to you.


Zoom Session Protocol and Expectations


  • By signing up for my Google Classroom and Zoom Meeting sessions you each agree to the following.  The content is subject to change and will be updated, from time to time, as applicable.  If you violate these requirements, you WILL be removed from the Zoom Meeting session.  Once you are removed from a particular session, you will NOT be able to rejoin that session.
  1. You may NOT use your own Zoom Account:  Do NOT sign into my Zoom sessions using your own Zoom account.  You MUST login to each session by clicking on the link shared in the Google Classroom, for authentication and access.
  2. Keep Information Private:  Do NOT share the Zoom session’s information with anyone.  You do NOT have permission to share the Zoom Meeting URL, ID, or Password for the class, with ANYONE other than the students in that particular period.
  3. Be on time:  Plan to sign on to the Zoom session, a few minutes before the start of each session, if possible.  You must use your FULL First & Last names as shown in your school records.  You will have to wait in the waiting room to be admitted.  If I don’t recognize your name, I will NOT admit you.
  4. Microphone OFF/Camera ON:  Start with your Microphone OFF and your Camera ON.  You are required to be prepared to turn your camera and microphone ON or OFF as directed by your teacher, during each Zoom session.  Please be advised that when you turn your camera on, the set up and the background must be appropriate for a professional presentation and not distracting to the audience.  For example, you must be dressed appropriately, in a relatively quiet surrounding, and NOT in bed.
  5. Type in the Chat:  At the beginning of the session, type the word “hello” and your school ID, in the chat box.  At the end of the session, type the word “bye” in the chat box.  You must do this every single time.  This is one way I will take attendance.  If you fail to do so, you may be marked absent for that day.
  6. Late attendance:  If you attempt to join a session that has already ended, you will be marked absent for that day.
  7. Stay present:  Be attentive and ready to participate during the entire Zoom session.  You will be called on, randomly, and you must respond within a few seconds.  If you fail to do so, because you are distracted or just walked away for few seconds, you will lose attendance/participation points.
  8. Do NOT leave early:  Do NOT leave a Zoom session until you are dismissed.  If you leave before you are dismissed, you will lose participation points.
  9. Respecting everyone:  Be respectful of yourself, your classmates, and your teacher during the Zoom sessions.  Act professionally at all times!
  10. Keep conversations in the chat limited to what is relevant.
  11. Limit crosstalk and stay focused on the course content and the presentation.
  12. Raise your virtual hand in the Zoom chat box to ask your questions or share something.
  13. When you are absent or late, you MUST email me, on the SAME DAY, and explain what happened.
  14. You do NOT have your teacher’s permission to VIDEO RECORD, AUDIO RECORD, TAKE PHOTOS, or COPY ANY PORTION of the Zoom Meeting session IN ANY FORM, other than take notes on the material being presented.
  15. You do NOT have your teacher’s permission to annotate any portion of the live Zoom presentation.
  16. You do NOT have your teacher’s permission to post and/or share ANY PORTION of the classroom content, ANYWHERE (especially online on the web), even after the course is completed and over.
  17. You understand that your online public and private video, audio, and chats in Zoom Meetings will be recorded, by your teacher, and may be used to gauge your level of participation, etc.


Additional Requirements


  • Follow Instructions:  Adhere to ALL school/district policies, teacher’s instructions, classroom rules and policies at ALL times.
  • Calculators:  You may invest in a graphing scientific calculator.  I do NOT require one for this course.  However, if you purchase one, be sure it is allowed on the AP Exam, if you are taking an AP course that requires it.  Also, you are responsible to learn its features on your own.
  • Legible:  When posting your work online, in the Google Classroom, your work must be legible and clear.  If I cannot read your handwriting and make sense of what you have done (on my own without you explaining it to me), you will lose points.  Please be sure your pictures are clear, large, and focused.
  • 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 administration, for the maximum allowable consequence.  (See the Academic Honesty Policy handout for more detail).


Extra Assistance


  • In this course, I expect you to do all of your own work, at all times.  I highly encourage you to form Virtual 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 daily Enrichment Sessions and/or Office Hours, whenever possible.


  • In order to be fair to ALL students, I will not answer any questions on the day of the exam.  Additionally, in case I teach the same course on both odd and even days, and when there is a test scheduled for both days, at my own discretion, I may not answer any questions for the students taking the exam on the second of the two test days.


  • Emails:  You can always reach me via email.  Though I reserve 24-48 business hours to reply to emails, more often than not, I reply on the same day.  However, your first point of contact should always be one or both of your classroom partners/buddies, in case you miss something.


  • The format of my daily Enrichment Sessions and my Office Hours is one that I will answer one question per person – first asked, first served.  You may get back in line and wait your turn again, time permitting!  Often times, your questions may get answered while I address someone else’s question.


In addition to being your teacher, I am offering you my partnership.  I am here to support you!  Take advantage of it and do NOT wait until it is too late!



RECOMMENDATION LETTERS:  If you are in need of a recommendation letter from me, or if you need me to complete a school referral form, please be sure to give them to me AT LEAST one week in advance.  Do NOT expect me to accommodate you immediately, as I often need time to gather the required information.







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



Name:                                                                                                       Period:                


Signature:                                                                                                 Date: