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Dear Current Grade 6 Parents, An English Honors Program is offered in Grade 7 in the Middle School.

This program offers opportunities for students who want to enrich their English experience with literature and improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The published aims and objectives of the English Honors Program at ISM are: To broaden and deepen student appreciation of literature by engaging in a study of challenging literary texts To foster a greater sense of the artistry and artfulness of language and writing To extend each students English skills beyond the regular English curriculum To foster a deeper understanding of how communication skills enrich and enhance the learning experience across the curriculum The Honors Program: What is it and why do we do it? The English Honors Program is primarily about enrichment; it is not used as a prerequisite for future English courses such as the IB Program in the High School. The Middle School English Honors Program, however, is good preparation if a student wants to pursue English studies in the future. While the English Honors Program focuses upon enrichment, it is not for everyone. Parents should talk to their child about the challenges of the class. You need to be honest and think deeply about your reasons to apply. Does your son or daughter fit the profile of an Honors student? Before you consider applying, look at the following criteria of what makes an ideal Honors student: Honors profile: What does an Honors student look like? Students in our Honors Program see the communication skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening as essential components to their lives both in and out of an English classroom. They consistently demonstrate mastery of the skills taught in English and therefore function more independently as English learners. They achieve and maintain the highest standards of English at ISM as reflected by their English grades at ISM and in external testing. They want to extend and deepen their English skills beyond the regular English curriculum. They want greater formal exposure to challenging and varied literature. They are avid readers and writers who practice these skills beyond required coursework. How does my son or daughter apply for Honors? If students presently in Grade 6 want to be considered for Honors in the next school year, they must first meet the minimum requirement of a first semester grade of A- to apply. If they have achieved this cutoff grade, they can then submit the slip at the end of this letter as an application of interest. This will allow each student to be assessed in the four areas of consideration: 1. First semester English grade: The minimum requirement is an A- in English.

2. Teacher Recommendation: Teachers will look at each students educational dispositions to determine whether they are reflective, self-directed critical thinkers and creative problem solvers. 3. External assessment scores: The first semesters MAP scores for language and reading will be considered as another piece of data. 4. Cornerstone Writing Assessment: The Honors exam has been replaced this year with our second semester cornerstone writing assessment. All middle school students will participate in this writing assessment, and the results will be used to inform English instruction throughout the school; however, the results of this assessment will also be the final piece in determining our honors students for next year. The cornerstone will examine each students ideas through comprehension, analysis/interpretation, and evaluation as well as technical writing ability as described by voice, word choice, and sentence fluency. No preparation is possible or needed for the cornerstone assessment as all students will complete it. A teacher panel will conduct a careful review of the information outlined in the four areas for each potential Honors student. After reviewing the criteria, the panel will select the top candidates for grade 6 to be offered a place in the English Honors class for next year. Timeline: Dates January February 1

March April

Actions Cornerstone Writing Assessment will be held Deadline for Expression of Interest slip- turned into English teacher (School must receive this slip for a student to be considered for Honors, including both parent and student signatures) Student applications considered and Honors lists decided Letters sent to parents on Honors decisions

What is my first step to apply for English Honors? If you have read the requirements for the Honors Program, know that your son or daughter has met the minimum grade requirement and feel that he or she is a potential candidate, then please fill in and send back the intent slip at the bottom of this letter by February 1, 2013. This slip expresses your interest; you must hand this in if your child is to be considered for the program. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at Sincerely,

David Burke Middle School English Program Leader

Simon Gillespie Middle School Principal

English Honors Program Expression of Interest

Full Name: _________________________________________________ Current Grade Level: _________________________________________ English Teacher: _____________________________________________

I am expressing interest for my son/daughter __________________________ (first name) to be considered for next years English Honors program. I have read the course rationale, student profile and schedule. I understand that applying for the program will allow my son or daughter to participate in the selection process and does not mean automatic inclusion in the Honors Program.

Parent Signature:

Student Signature:

Please return to your grade level English teacher no later than February 1, 2013.