Course Title: Bridge to College English


Teacher:  William Reiser                                                 Room Number: 213A


Office Hours: M-F 7:00-7:30am & 2-2:35pm and by appointment.                                                          



Phone Number: (253) 571-7380                                                                                                                  Email:                                                                                                                              



I.                COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Designed with higher education faculty and K-12 educators, the Bridge to College English Language Arts Course addresses key learning standards from Washington State’s new K-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as well as essential college-and-career readiness standards. The course will also develop students’ essential habits of mind (i.e. persistence, independence) necessary to be successful at college.


Students in this course should:


●       Have successfully completed junior core courses (English 11/Junior


●       Have identified an interest in postsecondary education in their beyond high

school plan

●       Score below college-ready on the Smarter Balanced Assessment

●       Have enough skills that it is feasible to become college-ready in one year of


●       Be on track to graduate on time


Modules (units) and novels of study for this course will include:

-Bring a Text You Like to Class Students study various genres of writing, including non-traditional texts and scholarly articles. Students develop a portfolio of their own work for which they write a detailed introduction that includes analysis of genre and intended audience.

-Good Food/Bad Food Students study the unhealthy eating habits engrained in American culture while surveying a collection of articles from the NY Times that detail the history, development, and possible solutions to unhealthy eating habits in America. Students develop a survey to identify the eating habits of teenagers at Foss high school and then, using the results, propose a realistic plan for improving unhealthy eating habits in their school.

-Ubik or Brave New World Students choose to read Ubik or Brave New World. Students will read, summarize, analyze and discuss various aspects of the text while considering the technology and predictive nature of their novel. Students will write an argumentative essay discussing one of several prompts/themes discussed in the novel as they use textual evidence to support their claims.

-To Clone or Not to Clone Students will learn the history of cloning technologies, study scientific processes necessary for reproductive and therapeutic cloning, and engage with the moral/ethical/economic dilemmas of whether or not to support further cloning research. Students will write a persuasive letter to a member of the US Congress encouraging or discouraging the use of tax payer money to fund research and development of both therapeutic and reproductive cloning while discussing the merits and drawbacks of each.

-Racial Profiling Students will analyze and then discuss the controversial topic of racial profiling as they study the writing of Bob Herbert.  After studying his rhetoric and moves he makes as a professional writer, students will develop their own research-based claims as they write an essay on the controversial topic of their choice.

-Into the Wild Students will read, summarize, analyze and discuss various aspects of the novel Into the Wild while considering the themes of choice, nature, independence, and travel. Students will write an expository essay discussing one of many themes present in the novel as they use textual evidence and outside research to support their claims.


 II.              STUDENT OUTCOMES


Bridge to College ELA Agreement: Students who earn a grade of B (80%) or better in this course will be granted automatic placement into English 101 at all 34 Washington State’s community and technical colleges. *In order to receive this automatic placement students must take the Bridge to College English course both 1st and 2nd semester and earn a grade of a B (80%) or better in this course. Students may then use their transcript to gain entrance to college level courses these colleges without the need to take a placement test or provide other documentation.


Students who complete a college readiness/transition course in English Language Arts should be able to:


  • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. (CCSS.RL & RI[1].1[2])
  • Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. (CCSS.RL & RI.2)
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (CCSS.W.5)
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (CCSS.W.4)
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. (CCSS.L.1)
  • Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. (CCSS.SL.1)
  • Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. (CCSS.RL & RI.8)
  • Write reading-based arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. (CCSS.W.1)
  • Develop academic/analytical essays that are focused on a central idea and effectively organized. (CCSS.W.2)


In the context of addressing these essential standards, the Bridge to College English course will require that students exhibit the following habits of mind:


  • They become self-directed learners who can engage in academic tasks independently.*
  • They demonstrate “grit” and persistence during academic tasks.
  • They demonstrate metacognitive awareness.
  • They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline.*
  • They comprehend as well as critique.*


*From the Introduction to the Common Core State Standards



-Unit materials will be printed and distributed by teacher. Please do not lose them.

-A 3-ring binder large enough to hold materials, a composition/spiral notebook, and notebook paper.

-Blue or black (please no other colors) ball-point pens and pencils.


Suggested, but not necessary: Multiple colors of highlighters and colored pencils or markers.


Extra materials and novels can be checked-out from the teacher or from the library.


The course curriculum emphasizes focused reading, writing, speaking & listening, and research work based on Washington State’s K-12 Learning Standards for English language arts (the Common Core State Standards, CCSS-ELA). This course will develop students’ college and career readiness by building skills in critical reading, academic writing, speaking and listening, research and inquiry, and language use as defined by the CCSS-ELA for high school. Students will engage with rigorous texts and activities that support the standards’ additional goals of developing the capacities of literacy, including deepening appreciation of other cultures, valuing evidence and responding to varying tasks across content areas, and navigating technology to support their work. Students will learn to evaluate the credibility of information, critique others’ opinions, and construct their own opinions based on evidence. By the end of the course, students will be able to use strategies for critical reading, argumentative writing, and independent thinking while reading unfamiliar texts and responding to them in discussion and writing.

The course will also develop students’ essential habits of mind necessary to be successful in college. Literacy activities will engage students in building skills in navigating complex texts in multiple content areas and communication skills that transfer to different tasks and demands. Students completing this course will be equipped to engage in college-level work in English.


Specific Language and more information on the standards can be found at



Instructional Strategies for student success include, but are not limited to…

•         Socratic seminar                         •         Peer editing

•         Group work                                 •         Writing formats

•         Close reading                             •          Think- Pair-Share

•         Lecture                                        •        Cornell Notes                             

 VI.            ASSESSMENT:

•         Summative assignments will include essays, argument papers, and papers focused on textual analysis. All summative work will be assessed using a rubric.

•         Formative assignments are intended to help you learn skills and practice using them before a summative assessment. Formative assessment will require students to read and write daily, participate in groups, participate in peer editing activities, and participate in class discussions.


Students are discouraged from bringing electronic devices to school. Electronic devices include, but are not limited to, cell phones, dvd players, gaming units, iPods, tablets, etc. Henry Foss High School is not responsible for the loss or theft of electronic devices and investigation time will not be utilized for retrieval of lost or stolen electronics. Students may use electronic devices before school, after school and during lunch. Regular school hours are 7:35am until 2:05pm. Students may NOT use electronic devices during class time due to increased risk of cheating, cyber bullying, sexting, and general disruption to the educational process. The ONLY exceptions are when directed to do so by their teacher. If expectations are not followed, the first offense will result in classroom level intervention. Students who continue to violate the classroom rules on electronic devices will be subject to progressive disciplinary action including suspension.


-Plagiarism: Cheating, or copying the work of other persons, or turning in another person’s papers, projects, computer programs, etc., and claiming it as your own work, constitutes plagiarism.

-Academic Cheating: Cheating is by definition an action done by a student to supply work for another student, or turn in work, use work, rely on work that is not his/her own, or allow someone to copy work other than in circumstances clearly understood to involve collaborative or group learning.


Policy on Academic Integrity Violations: The judgment of the teacher or staff member who discovers cheating is final. In the first instance of cheating, the student will receive an E grade or zero credit for the work, after school detention, and documented incident report. Subsequent cheating will result in progressive disciplinary action leading up to and including suspension.


 IX.            Grading Scale / POLICIES:

Weighted Scale: -Summative Assessments will be worth 80% of a student’s grade.

    -Formative Assessments will be worth 20% of a student’s grade.

Policy on Late Work and Expectations on Post Absences Make-up Work: All missing/late work will be marked an as a score of zero in the gradebook until the assignment is turned in.


For late work or work turned in after unexcused absences,


If your assignment is 1 day late, your assignment will lose 20% of the total points,


If your assignment is 2 days late or more, your assignment will lose 50% of the total points.


For excused absences, students have as many days as they were absent to turn in work.


In the event of a long-term absence or other extenuating circumstances, please contact the teacher so arrangements can be made on an individual basis.

Home Access Center (HAC) - I encourage all parents to use their Home Access Center account to allow for (1) easy communication between parent(s)/guardian(s) and staff; (2) up-to-date information regarding your student’s successes; (3) access to your student’s attendance in all classes; and (4) access to your student’s schedule.  Ensure your information is up-to-date, including your address, phone number, and e-mail. If you do NOT have HAC access, please contact Tracy Moser at 253-571-7341 to receive your login and password information.  Please feel free to call me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding your student’s progress.



[1] The codes reference specific Common Core State Standards (e.g., RL= “Reading: Literature”); see for more details.