March 4, 2014


Dear Parents of 7th Grade Students:


As an 8th grade student, your child will either take the traditional Language Arts course or the Advanced Language Arts course.  Both courses will focus on building student skills in reading, textual analysis, writing, and grammar.  However, there will be increased expectations for students in the advanced Language Arts course.  Students in both courses are eligible for the Accelerated English program once they reach high school.


The traditional Language Arts course will present thematically based literature throughout the year.  Students will explore issues of identity, diversity, fairness, and adversity.  These classes will explore the importance of grammar, paragraph structure, literary analysis, persuasive essays, and much more. 


The advanced Language Arts course is intended for students who enjoy reading and writing independently and desire the challenge of a faster pace.  The reading selections will include challenging modern works, as well as the classics.  Students will be expected to participate in higher-level discussions of these works.  Moreover, the expectations for literary analysis in writing will be greater.  Students recommended for the Advanced Language Arts course demonstrated a love of literature and a passion for writing and textual analysis.  Moreover, their grades reflect a high level of understanding.


We are presenting the Language Arts placement recommendation in electronic format, which has provided a time and cost savings to the district; we hope you find this information easy to access.  Course recommendations will be available on Monday, March 17 for viewing in Genesis.  To access course recommendations:


·         STEP 1: Log on to Genesis

·         STEP 2: Click on the “Scheduling” tab

·         STEP 3: You should then be able to view the recommended course

o   If your student was recommended for Advanced Language Arts, the description will read “8 Advanced LA.

o   If your student was recommended for traditional Language Arts, the description will read “Language Arts.”


We recognize that some students may have hoped to enroll in the Advanced Language Arts course but were recommended for the Traditional Language Arts course.  I understand and respect individuals’ rights to challenge themselves, so if you believe the advanced course would be a better placement, you may complete a waiver form.  The waiver form is intended to document decisions to select courses for which recommendations were not received.  A copy of the waiver form can be accessed here.  Waiver forms must be completed and returned to me by Friday, April 4, 2014.  A conference is required for parents that submit a waiver.  The purpose of the waiver meeting is to review course requirements and to address any questions or concerns.  If waiver forms are returned after this deadline, there is no guarantee that the desired course will be available as the master schedule is developed shortly after this date.  Most importantly, please know that HMS students often struggle when enrolling in a course for which they were not recommended.  They receive less value from the coursework and are forced to bear what I believe to be excessive amounts of stress.  If you are satisfied with your Language Arts recommendation and placement next year, you need not take any further action.


In closing, we encourage every student and parent to be mindful of the importance of course selection and what it entails.  That includes recognizing how extracurricular activities and the intensity of course work can affect one’s school experience.    Therefore, it is our hope that students and their families will give serious consideration to the merit of recommendations when making their course selections.


If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me, your child’s LA teacher, or 7th grade counselor, Ms. Aquino.




Gino R. Priolo