•   Welcome to Mr. Livingston’s ELA Class!

    It’s great to be back for this school year, and I am looking forward to working with your child! As we get into the swing of things again, I would like for you and your student to be aware of the practices and expectations in my class.


    While your child may not have homework for me every night, he/she will have regular assignments to complete. Some will be paper assignments, and some will be online. Whenever possible, I will try to give students opportunities to begin and/or complete assignments in class, though this depends on how efficiently we are able to cover each day's critical material.  Unless directed otherwise, homework or in-class assignments will be due on the following day. If there are directions to the contrary, I will have them posted on Canvas for the day along with all other necessary information, links, PDF documents, etc. Assignments and end of module tasks that are expected to take more time to complete will be given specific due dates... again, that information will be posted on Canvas. Any work that is not turned in on or before the due date will be penalized as explained in the following section. 


    Caldwell County Schools uses a ten-point grading scale as follows:





    59 and below…….F

    I utilize a points system in my class, which calculates a grade based on points earned out of points possible. Different assignment types have different point values, which are as follows:

    Checks for understanding (CFUs)/ seatwork/ homework- 25 points

    New read assessments/ focusing question tasks/ quizzes- 50 points

    End of module tasks- 100 points

    Assignments that are turned in after the due date will automatically be penalized 11%. Work that is not completed will be assigned a zero in PowerSchool as a placeholder, which will remain a zero in Powerschool if it is not turned in. When it is turned in, it will be subject to the 11% late penalty. If a student is absent, they will have a reasonable amount of time to complete the work and turn it in without penalty as per the policy stated in the student handbook.

    It is not possible to provide time in class to make up missing work, so students will need to complete any missing work at home and then turn it in promptly. Paper/pencil work that is turned in late will be graded as time permits, as current work and classroom priorities take precedence. If a student completes an online assignment that they were missing, it is their responsibility to email me with that information so I will know to go in and check for it when time permits. Assignments that are missing before midterm progress reports but which are not completed by the day before those reports are available will not be accepted and will remain permanent zeroes in PowerSchool. I will also remove access to all previous days' classes at that time.

    Course Structure-

    By nature of the Wit and Wisdom curriculum, my classes are largely reading, discussion and multimedia based. Your child will be expected to positively participate, and what they put into the class is what they will get out of it in return. The better and more positive class discussion we have, the more meaningful and beneficial the class will be for all involved.

    Also, there are smaller daily tasks that students will be required to complete. These assignments may or may not be graded, but either way they are critical to the value of what your student gets out of this curriculum and they are not optional.

    Canvas/ PowerSchool-

    I use Canvas to outline what we do in class every day. Both parents and students have access to view the current day's information at 12:00 AM on that day. Of course, parents and students can also view past days to get assignment information. Please note that adjustments could be made to the agenda for a given day.  Graded assignments and due dates will also be posted for applicable days. In the event of an absence, you can refer to missed days to see what your child needs to make up. When assignments are available online, links to those assignments will be posted in the "assignments" section along with the due dates that go along with them. Beginning on the assign date for each, students have access to online assignments that I give in other platforms, including ReadWorks, EdPuzzle, and potentially others. If your child does not have home access to a computer, internet, or smart devices, please be sure to let us know in the PARENT CONTACT INFORMATION Google form (if you have not filled it out yet).

    I make every effort to keep PowerSchool information updated as often as I can. In some cases, I update it every two to three days, where applicable. Many assignments that your child will have for me this year will be provided through Canvas, which is supposed to sync with PowerSchool and automatically update every evening. In this way, I hope to provide the information for you and your child to use to monitor progress PRIOR TO MIDTERM REPORTS AND REPORT CARDS. However, the information does not serve much purpose if it is not checked regularly. I encourage all of my students to check PowerSchool every week to see where they stand, and I encourage you to take a few minutes every couple of days and check for updates, as it will keep you more in the loop and can also serve as a motivating factor for your child.                     

    Assignments which are missing due to a student being present in class the previous day but not having his/her work on the following day will be automatically marked as a zero until they are turned in and will be subject to an 11% late penalty, as previously stated. Should your child be out of school and miss an assignment, it will be marked to indicate that he/she was absent. However, if this assignment is not turned in within the time period indicated in the student handbook, it will be marked as a zero and will incur the 11% late penalty when it is turned in. Missing assignments which are not turned in by midterm or end-of-term deadlines as stated on Canvas will not be accepted, will remain zeroes in PowerSchool, and will be factored in to your child’s average for the given grading period.

    If you do not have access to PowerSchool's Parent Portal, please stop by and see Mrs. Allen in the office to get signed up as soon as possible. Every child will also have access to PowerSchool, so they can pull up all of that information for you from their account, should that be necessary.  *NOTE- There is an app that can be downloaded to smartphones which will provide you (and/or your child!) with easy access and immediate notifications whenever a grade is updated in PowerSchool.

    A.R.- We are continuing to use A.R. this year. At the beginning of each nine weeks, goals are set in A.R. using STAR testing results. Students have three separate goals to meet for me: points, average percent correct, and book level.

    At the end of each nine weeks, I take the percentage of the point goal a student has met (maximum 100) and combine it with their average percent correct out of 85% (maximum 100) and their actual average book level out of the one listed as their minimum (again, maximum 100). Divide the resulting number by 3 and that is their final A.R. grade. The point value of this grade as represented in PowerSchool may vary from one grading period to the next in order to reflect no more than 10% of their total points possible in my class.

    My expectation is that students are taking and passing at least one A.R. test every two weeks at a minimum. Students will be expected to read during homeroom every morning, and they will have one scheduled HOUSE block per week where A.R. reading is required. However, due to limited time to cover course content, students will be responsible for reading consistently at home as well. Of course, I encourage all of my students to read as much as possible, whenever possible. Students do have the ability to take A.R. tests at home and are encouraged to do so when they are ready. They also have the ability to pull up their progress with their A.R. goals and show that to you at home.

    Students are responsible for keeping up with their own A.R. goals and making sure they have the materials they need to meet those goals on or before the deadline. I will be taking students to the media center for their first book check-out as soon as that is available to us. After initial book check-out, students may renew checked-out books and exchange books on which they have tested. However, students should not be frequently exchanging books that they have not tested on until they have met all three of their A.R. goals for the nine weeks.

    When a student meets all three of their A.R. goals for the nine weeks, I will award them ten tickets. They will also be allowed to read whatever non- A.R. material they like (as long as it is school appropriate) through the remainder of the nine weeks.


    Over the years, this has proven to be one of the toughest issues for middle schoolers to deal with. Lack of organization (the “Black Hole” of the bookbag, locker, or binder) leads to things getting lost, misplaced, and even thrown away… and that usually leads to academic issues and stress. I have simplified the material needs for my class with this in mind. However, it will take a very conscious effort on your child’s behalf to keep up with everything they need for each class each day. They could receive notes sheets, visual aids, study guides, assignment and/or project guidelines, and many other items that must be organized and accessible at a moment’s notice. Most of the information and handouts for my class should be fastened in some way to the notebook I requested on the school supply list.


    Your student should be present in my class each day. I understand that things come up and students get sick, etc. Though much work can be completed online, when your child is absent from his/her classes, they are missing valuable activities/ experiences/ time in class when learning takes place as well.

    In addition, due to the vast amount of material that must be covered between now and May, this will be a very briskly paced class. It will not take long for your child to fall seriously behind academically, and that will result in it being much more difficult to regain that lost ground and keep up with current topics/ assignments upon their return.

    *Should a student arrive at school after my class or check out before my class, it is their responsibility to come by and see me for any work that they need for the following day(s). Upon their return to school, failure to turn in work that was assigned on the day of the late check-in/ early check-out will result in an automatic 11 point penalty.*

    Behavior and personal responsibility-

    At GFMS, every student is expected to behave properly at all times and in all locations. Inappropriate behavior will be addressed as stated in the student handbook. The Blue Demon Pledge, which provides the framework for behavior expectations at Granite Falls Middle School, is as follows:

     Be Kind -- To everyone… at all times… in all places

    Be Respectful -- Of ourselves… of others… of property… of time

    Be Willing -- To try… to try something new… to try harder… to try again

     This pledge is posted in many locations all around the school and in classrooms as a reminder to students of acceptable conduct. Please consult the student handbook for more particular information on school-wide expectations and consequences.

    Specifically in my class, there will be posted very simple and straightforward guidelines in terms of my expectations when it comes to behavior and personal responsibility. I will make a point to go over and review/repeat these expectations during the first week of school to ensure that students have had adequate time to become familiar with them.

    *NOTE- It is not uncommon for me to have students call their parents if they are having behavior or consistent work issues during my class. Ultimately, it is up to each individual student to make good choices, exercise proper behavior, and practice personal responsibility. Thus, I will have the student first explain their behavior to their parent(s) before the phone is passed to me.


    Thank you for your attention to this information, and I look forward to a very positive and productive school year!


          -John Livingston            jlivingston@caldwellschools.com


    Please print and sign below and return this section to school with your child.


    I have read the requirements and expectations for my child's work, organization, attendance, and behavior in Mr. Livingston’s ELA class, and I understand the consequences my child will face as a result of not meeting those requirements and/or expectations.

    parent/ guardian printed name____________________________________________________

    parent/ guardian signature_______________________________________________________


     I have read the requirements and expectations for my work, organization, attendance, and behavior in Mr. Livingston’s ELA class, and I understand the consequences I will face as a result of not meeting those requirements and/or expectations.

    student printed name_____________________________________________________________

    student signature_________________________________________________________________