ENGLISH 9: Course Outline and Requirements                                                  Mr. Castellano

Welcome to St. Francis Prep and to your English 9 course.  I greet you at the beginning of your high school career.  I look forward to a great year: let’s work together to make it great.  Like all English courses, this class will help you develop several essential skills: thinking logically, reading critically, and writing clearly.  In addition, this class has other exciting goals: to introduce you to many great works of literature and to look at them in a variety of ways.  In achieving these goals, I hope you will gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the literature we read, the people who created it, and the possibilities that reading and writing present.  I hope you will continue to make reading and writing central parts of your life.

            The class will involve the reading and discussing of many types of literature, developing writing skills, and learning more about the wonders of language. The bulk of class time will be spent exploring and sharing our various responses to and evaluations of the works we read and looking at how we all use language. To that end, I hope all of us will contribute extensively to class discussions and work. You will have many opportunities to theorize about reading and writing on your own, in groups, and as a class. Class time should be time for questioning, interacting, and imagining – not merely for the taking of notes. Please make the most of the time we have together in class.

The class can only be as good as you make it: really.  Come to class ready to think, be challenged, take risks, and participate fully in all class discussions and exercises; we should all learn from each other.  It is essential that you are willing to challenge yourself, take chances, and make mistakes: that is the only way learning happens.  My goal is to help and support you in creating quality work you can be proud of.  In addition to our work on reading and writing, we will spend class time on grammar, vocabulary, SAT preparation, and other relevant study skills.  A great amount of class time will be spent on the development of writing skills.  Writing – in all its forms – will be an integral part of the class experience.

Every Sunday night, I will update on this web page assignments, work sheets, and addresses of other websites you may find interesting; you and your parents may also send me e-mail through the website.  Either in school or at home, please get in the habit of checking the school’s website on a daily basis.  Be sure to sign up for and list all your classes on MySFP.  You and your parents may also monitor your assignments and progress in class through the Power School Parent and Student Portals.  Please feel free to see me at any time throughout the year for help, with questions, problems, suggestions, or ideas, or just to talk.  Before and after school, you can usually find me in my office in the Faculty-Staff Room; please do not hesitate to make an appointment or just drop by.

The only class rule I have is that we all treat each other with respect, honesty, and trust: all other procedures follow from that expectation.  Be honest with your parents, me, your fellow students, and (most important) yourself.  I will enforce the school’s Honor Code fully; we will discuss the details of this in class.  When one person speaks, we will all listen attentively and respond respectfully.  Only in this way can real learning take place.  Have respect for yourself, your classmates, the material, learning, the school, and your teachers.

We know this school year is starting in a different way.  That will present challenges, but we are ready to face them.  The goals and Mission of the school remain the same: to keep you safe and healthy; to help you grow in your relationship with God; to give you a first-rate education; to help you discover and nurture your intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual gifts and abilities.  COVID-19 does not change that.  We will all work together to make this a great school year.  Do your best.  Take care.  God bless us all.


  • Notebook
  • iPad: fully charged
  • Folder for handouts and assignments
  • several novels and plays that you will have to obtain on your own
  • Join the Google Classroom through the code I have sent you.

These are the books we will definitely read:

  • Of Mice and Men
  • I Am the Messenger
  • The Odyssey (excerpts)
  • Othello
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Night

We will also read a few other books and many poems, short stories, and non-fiction pieces. 


  • Follow all the guidelines in the school’s Acceptable Use Policy.
  • Bring your iPad fully charged to class every day.
  • When we are using the iPad, have it flat on your desk opened only to the web sites or apps I indicate.
  • Use all technology in honest and respectful ways keeping with the school Mission.
  • Sign up for MySFP; list this and all your classes.
  • Join our class on Google Classroom.
  • Have the camera on when you are at home.  Never record anyone.
  • Abide by the Acceptable Use Policy you signed.


  • Each student is expected to come to class on time and fully prepared: that is, with a notebook, your iPad, folder, pen or pencil, and the appropriate texts for the day.
  • Three latenesses will constitute a CUT.
  • Lack of preparation will result in lost points.
  • Six days of absence per quarter will result in a loss of 5 points from your grade at the end of the quarter.
  • It is essential that all assignments, both reading and writing, be completed conscientiously and on time.
  • I will check reading assignments with quizzes.
  • Late writing assignments will lose points.
  • If you are absent, for whatever reason, it is your responsibility to obtain missed notes and assignments and to take missed quizzes and tests.  Please see me about this work on the day you return to school.  Everyone must complete all assignments.
  • Most important of all, each student is expected to participate actively and fully in the learning process.  This means listening, thinking, questioning, answering, and generally being involved in all class activities.  Take chances.

  • Three (3) formal writing assignments, including drafts,
    pre-writing, conferences, and revisions: 100 pts. each                       =  300 pts.
  • Shorter writing assignments, homework assignments,
    reading and vocabulary quizzes: 25 and 50 pts. each                         =  400
  • Projects, presentations, outside research, oral reports, etc.        =  100
  • Classroom grade: preparedness, participation,attentiveness,
    effort, etc. This will be posted twice per quarter, 50 points each:
    at mid-quarter and at end of quarter.                                                    =  100
                                                                                                                               900  pts. total 


            Welcome to St. Francis Prep.  I will be your child’s English 9 teacher.  I hope that your child gets off to a good start.  From past experience, I know there may be an awkward transition period; but, as I tell the students, within the month (if not sooner) they will feel comfortable and confident in their new school.  I know we will have a great year together. 

            We know this school year starts in a different way.  That does not, however, affect the goals and mission of the school and our class.  We will all work together to make this a healthy, safe, great year of learning and growth.  We will face new challenges; working together, we will surmount them.

            I hope your child already derives much meaning and satisfaction from reading and writing.  As I tell the students on the first day, that is essentially what we will be doing this year: reading and talking about reading, and writing and talking about writing.  I expect the students to be actively engaged in the work they do on their own and in class. We will have the privilege of reading some great literature and doing many different kinds of writing.  Please encourage your child to start strong in all classes and to continue to stay dedicated and focused. This new beginning gives them a great opportunity.  Please continue to encourage them to make the most of this great opportunity you are giving them to have a great education.  I am excited about the work we will do together.

            This website is an exciting part of what we do at St. Francis.  Please be sure to read the course outline I have posted (above).  I will also post assignments and reminders regularly; I will put worksheets, outlines, and other relevant material on the website from time to time.  I encourage you and your son or daughter to check the school’s website regularly; you can also send me e-mail through the website.  You can monitor your child’s progress through the Parent Portal of Power School.  Of course, you can also always call me at the school number; my extension is 209.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with questions, concerns, or suggestions.  We work best when we work together.

            Once again, I welcome you and your child to our school community.  I hope and believe this year will be the next great step in his or her education.  I look forward to meeting you soon.  I wish you all the best.  God bless you and your Family and all of us.

                           Joseph Castellano