•  Welcome to 6th Grade !
    Welcome to New River!  We are looking forward to a year of adventures in learning, and growth in our knowledge of the world around us with reading and data to think critically using the pros and cons of a subject.    We will be using Canvas, an online instructional program that is in use at Gavilan Peak and the High School, so great practice for Middle School next year!  

    We are always updating and addressing ways to positively enhance this experience for both the students and the parents, so please send me an email, text or call if you have any thoughts or improvements!

    How to Communicate: 

      The most important part of the learning process is that we have to communicate with each other as much as possible so that you (the student AND the parent) do not feel lost, and so that we can have open discussions where you can voice thoughts and opinions based upon your research and learning.  The first weeks' classes will just be "Get to Know You", the basics on how to Write a CER, Proper internet research and an Introduction to Canvas and Technology, and you will need to show your parents how you review assignments due and how to access info there.  If you or your parents have ANY questions please use one of the following methods to contact me,  I will be monitoring all of the methods, so feel free to use the method you are most comfortable with: 

    1.  Email:  My email address is Mark.Sides@DVUSD.org 

    2.  Canvas Messaging:  On the left side of your screen on Canvas there is an INbox.  If I am online it will ding and let me know that you have a question or issue.

    3.  Discussions:  As we will do in the beginning of the year with our "Fact or Fake" assignment, you will be entering discussions each week about what you research and how you interpret those facts that you find.  Post your thoughts/response and then the program will allow you to view others responses.  Then you will need to reply to two (2) other peoples responses.

    4.  Tutoring/ Office Hours : I am available for tutoring by appointment 0800-0845 in the mornings, and 1545-1700 Monday and Thursday evenings.  You must make this as an appointment as there are many times that I may have meetings set during these times with other teachers and other parents.  

    5. GRADING PRACTICES:  Learning is a process that takes place over time and at different speeds for different students. Grades are a reporting tool utilized to reflect what a student knows and is able to do in a content area. We measure achievement, not effort or behavior, in our grading system. You will see student proficiency levels marked for each standard according to the following scale:

    4 = Highly Proficient

    3 = Proficient 

    2 = Partially Proficient 

    1  = Minimally Proficient

    A proficiency standard will be marked at least once a week for each content area. Overall standard grades are determined by the average of the most recent three proficiency levels to determine the overall course grade according to the following scale:

    A = 90-100%

    B = 80-89%

    C = 70-79%

    D = 60-69%

    F =  0-59%

    Gradebook Categories 

    There are three categories in the grade book that are each weighted differently. 

    • Assessment is weighted 80% of the total course grade. This category includes all items used to measure a student’s proficiency towards the learning standard once the student has had sufficient practice. This category can include summative tests, performance assessments, reports, unit or module assessments, quizzes, long-term projects, presentations. 

    • Coursework is weighted 20% of the total course grade. This category includes formative work that provides students with the opportunity to learn content and skills and to receive feedback on their learning. Coursework is assigned to provide meaningful, independent practice, reinforce learning targets, and extend learning. This category can include in-class assignments, quizzes, exit tickets, checks for understanding and daily activities.

    • Practice is not weighted (0% of the total course grade). This category includes formative student work that a student completes while in the process of learning specific skills. Student work that is done inside and outside of the classroom, items such as worksheets for practice, classwork and homework fall into this category.

    6. Homework: Students shall complete at least 30 minutes per night  of Reading novels or Chapter Books, to cultivate reading comprehension and informative research.

    I do NOT assign homework (other than the 30 minutes of reading every night).  However this does not mean that students may not have to complete things at home if they missed a class, or perhaps did not use their time wisely during the class time allotted for completing the classwork.  Some students also prefer to bring things home to spend additional time on assignments or to rework assignments to improve their grade.

    7. Re-assessments 

    We want students to do their best all the time. However, we acknowledge that sometimes the process of learning takes longer than teachers anticipate; therefore, students are allowed to reattempt their assessments after receiving feedback and guidance. 

    A retake is when a student completes another assessment of the same learning targets. The assessment to be retaken may be in the same format or different format. The original score is replaced if the new score is higher. Retakes are not allowed until all of the preliminary classwork has been completed, or improved!

    8. Missing and Late Work

    In order to accurately reflect a student’s academic performance level, teachers will accept late work and missing work for full credit if the work is submitted within the timeframe and no more than 2 weeks after the due date. An assignment is considered as missing work when it is not submitted by the due date.  Missing work will treated as such:

    • The assignment will be marked with the “Missing” special code in the gradebook

    • A zero (0) will be entered as the score for the assignment in the gradebook (grades 3-6)

    • No Evidence (NE) will be entered for the standards attached to the assignment.

    • If the work is submitted as late work, the zero assignment score will be changed to reflect the student’s actual score with no deductions or penalties. The teacher will mark the student’s assignment with the “Late: special code.

    • If the work is not submitted as late work, the score for the assignment will be changed from a zero to a 49% by the end of the quarter

    Students will still be responsible for turning in late work in addition to their current coursework, which results in the natural consequence of a heavier workload. The primary consequence for students not completing the work is to complete the work. This may be done through lunch and learn or PAWS place after school.