Mrs. Alissa Huelsman-Bell
Clarke Middle School

INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION: Work phone number: 543-6547 E-Mail: Conference hours: By appointment only Room 10

Students must meet certain criteria in order to be placed in this achievement-grouped accelerated reading/language arts class. The content covered during the year includes: exploration of various literary genres, communication and collaboration of ideas, vocabulary study, grammar review, spelling practice, development of higher level thinking skills, development of writing skills, classroom discussion, use of technology, varied interdisciplinary projects, and various forms of research and application. This class moves through content quickly, and students are expected to keep up with the accelerated pace.


  1. Be a seeker and synthesizer of knowledge
  2. Complete all assignments as directed and submit those assignments on time
  3. Bring paper, pencil, textbook, novels, silent reading book, and any other required materials to class every day
  4. Actively participate in classroom activities, ask relevant questions, and contribute positively to discussions
  5. Reading and writing outside of class is strongly encouraged
  6. Write all assignments in agenda book
  7. Maintain focus, pace, and motivation at all times


  1. Encourage your child to be responsible and independent
  2. Make contact with the teacher regularly, especially if there is a question or problem. Please e-mail or call ahead to make an appointment.
  3. Check your child’s agenda book nightly and use it to communicate with the teacher. Talk with your child about school.
  4. Assist with homework when appropriate
  5. Read and write with your child when possible. Discuss and share.
  6. Review the team weekly reports that are sent home every Thursday, and remind your child to return the reports to school on Friday morning

Students are required to create and maintain an electronic portfolio of their writing in the form of a web page. All major writing assignments will be placed on the portfolio web page. The teacher will assist students with the creation and management of the writing portfolios, which will be located off the Clarke Middle web site. For those students whose parents prefer not to have their children’s writing online, a separate paper-based portfolio will be created and maintained within the regular classroom. More details regarding privacy and protection of students’ rights will follow.

All major writing assignments must be saved on a computer hard drive, floppy disk, or compact disk. Files created off-campus will be transferred to the teacher via email by copying and pasting directly into the email or sending as text or Word document attachments. In the interest of protecting the school district’s network from viruses, no floppy disks or CDs may be brought from home to school.

Students who do not have access to a computer outside of school may use the computers at school. See Mrs. Huelsman-Bell to arrange a time for using the lab. For those who do not have email access, the Athens Regional Library, located next door to Clarke Middle has computers with Internet access. You can get a free email account from,, or a variety of other places. Please be aware that free email providers do not always have filters to keep out unsolicited email. Parents should closely monitor student use of email and the Internet. The regional library also has Microsoft Word, so students may type papers there too.

Students will use a number of technology tools in language arts and reading this year. It will be helpful if you can familiarize yourself with such programs as Microsoft Office (including Word, Access, PowerPoint, and Excel), Internet Explorer, Inspiration 6, Timeliner, and Hyperstudio. If you do not have access to any or all of these programs, don’t worry – you will have plenty of time to learn and use them at school. Students will also learn how to write HTML code to create very basic web pages for writing portfolios.


  1. Assignments will be submitted on time. The day after the assignment is due, students may turn assignments in late at a penalty of -10 points. After one day, late assignments are not accepted. If a student is absent, it is his/her full responsibility to come to the teacher and request make-up work. Sufficient time will be given for the student to complete such work.
  2. Students are expected to behave appropriately at all times and to follow all rules and guidelines set forth by the Clarke County School District.
  3. Students’ grades are divided into daily grades and test grades. Daily grades receive smaller weight; these grades are averaged together to form one test grade at the end of each six weeks. Daily grades include rough drafts of writing assignments, group work, silent reading book checks, homework, quizzes, and other miscellaneous work completed regularly in class or at home. Major assignments, projects, and tests all count as test grades and are averaged with the final homework grade at the end of each nine weeks. This grade is the final average that appears on the student’s report card. Parents will receive a report of their child’s progress at the mid-point of each nine week grading period. Students are expected to have the progress reports signed and returned to school. Parents should also expect a “Weekly Report” every Thursday. This report is stapled in the child’s agenda book and should be signed and returned to the homeroom teacher the next school day. The teacher may also use the agenda book to communicate grades to parents.
  4. Extra credit work is not provided as a means for a student to improve his/her grade in language arts or reading. Students are expected to do their best on every assignment. Students who cannot meet the high expectations of the class will be evaluated for possible reassignment to a more appropriate language arts/reading class. A detailed continuation policy for remaining in accelerated language arts/reading will be sent home at a later date, but basically, students must maintain a B average (80 or above on report cards) in language arts/reading to remain in the class. Those who fall below 80 will be placed on probation for the rest of the year. If they fall below 80 again in the same school year, they will be placed in another class.
  5. If, at any time, a student feels that he/she is falling behind or having any kind of trouble in language arts/reading, he/she should come to the teacher and explain the problem. Once the problem has been identified, Mrs. Huelsman-Bell will do everything possible to assist the student in solving it.
  6. If a parent conference is necessary, it must be scheduled ahead of time. Mrs. H-B does not have a planning period and only works half-time (8:00 – 12:00 every day), so it is imperative that conferences be prearranged. Parents may not interrupt classes to discuss a student’s progress. Phone conferences may be conducted after hours. Email is always the most convenient form of communication, especially for arranging a time to meet if necessary.

Mrs. Huelsman-Bell maintains a web page with updated language arts and reading information throughout the school year. The website is located at There is also a message board devoted to accelerated language arts and reading located at Students are encouraged to check the website and to visit the message board weekly for updates and to contribute to online discussions.