• Welcome to Pre-AP Biology!


    Welcome to my classroom! I hold a Bachelor of Science from Tarleton State University with a degree in Animal Science and a Biology minor. I will work hard to foster the life skills of asking questions, critical thinking, never giving up, and academic independence as we master content. My approach to teaching is to "Make the strange familiar and the familiar strange." (Novalis)


    Topic Coverage

    ·   Lab Safety & Nature of Science

    ·   Cell Structure and Function

    ·   Cell Growth and Differentiation

    ·   Viruses

    ·   Biomolecules

    ·   DNA Structure and Function

    ·   Protein Synthesis

    ·   Mutation and Changes in DNA

    ·   Genetic Combinations

    ·   Natural Selection

    ·   Evolution

    ·   Biological Classification

    ·   Homeostasis

    ·   Processes in Animals & Plants

    ·   Systems in Animals & Plants

    ·   Matter & Energy Flow

    ·   Variations & Adaptations

    ·   Ecosystem Relationships



    Details to access the online textbook will be given in class and posted on Canvas.



    • 2-3 Composition notebooks for Biology, set up using provided guidelines. NO spiral notebooks.
    • Your HISD laptop, fully charged
    • Writing materials (pencils and pens - must include standard blue or black ink)
    • Book: The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (ISBN: 9780385495226) *will read in the Fall semester



    Notebooks are an important tool for organizing information and your thoughts. Notebooks may be graded at least once during the first 3 grading cycles, and there may be several spot checks. Your notebook will be organized using the provided instructions.


    Grading Policy

    60%     Summative Assignments – Unit Exams, Lab Quizzes, Projects 

    40%     Formative Assignments – Open-Note Reading Quizzes, Lab Skills, Homework, In-Class Work, Activities, and all other 

    All assignments and grades are cumulative.


    It is vital that you follow instructions for properly submitting your work to receive full credit. Houston ISD emphasizes not only the TEKS but also the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TCCRS). These standards are based on cognitive skills that will increase students’ college preparedness. Every assignment should have a complete header (full name and date), be completed in blue or black ink (unless otherwise instructed), have ALL questions attempted, show ALL work, and have correct spelling and capitalization. I can’t grade what I can’t see and we cannot find where a student has gone off-track if work is not shown.


    Classroom Culture

    • Cell phones placed in assigned pocket on the wall and earbuds/headphones in your backpack
    • Arrive on time and remain on task. On time is defined as seated at your desk before the tardy bell rings. (You will be counted tardy if not seated by the bell.).
    • Be respectful. Be appropriate. Be kind. Be present. Be prepared.
    • Always ask if something is not clear.
    • Leave the room the way you found it (Leave No Trace).
    • We are in a science lab - no eating, drinking (except water), or gum/candy in the classroom without prior instructor permission.
    • Not everything we do will be for a grade. Some things are just to help you improve in biology.



    1. Come into class quietly, place your cell phone in your assigned pocket on the wall, remove your earbuds, sit in your seat before the tardy bell rings, and prepare for class.
      Tardiness is not acceptable - you will be counted tardy if not in your seat before the bell rings.
    2. You may not eat or drink anything but water during class without my prior permission.
    3. All work that is to be turned in must be done in standard blue or black pen. You may use any writing tool (pencils, pens, etc.) for your notebooks. Please try to write neatly and legibly. Work that cannot be read cannot be graded and will be returned as incomplete.
    4. You will be told in advance which projects are due at the beginning of the day. If your bus is late, please bring the project to me then proceed to your first period of the day. The project is due even if you don’t have class that day (ex. Field trip, school-related activity, UIL contest, etc.)
    5. Talking or distracting other students, intentionally or unintentionally, during a test or quiz is not tolerated. You are now in high school and should conduct yourself as such. Disrupting a test or quiz will be considered a violation of academic integrity. You will receive a score of “0” and reported.
    6. All proper PPE should be worn, and safety precautions should always be followed during labs.


     Cell Phones

    Cell phones and earbuds/headphones are not permitted for use in class unless directed by the teacher. All cell phones will be placed in the provided cell phone pocket chart hanging at the front of the classroom before class starts and will be “parked” there until class is over. 


    Students caught with a cell phone will have their phone taken up and held until the end of class. A second violation results in the phone being given to the Assistant Principal. A parent must then come to pick up the phone and will be charged $15 for recovery.


    Consequences Any/all of steps 1-3 may be skipped, dependent on the severity of the incident.

    1) Verbal warning.

    2) Personal conference with teacher and parent/guardian contacted.

    3) Parent/teacher/student conference.

    4) Referral to Administration.


    Headings   ALL assignment submissions must include the following information

    Full Name (first AND last name without initials or abbreviations)

    Class and Period (example: Bio P4)

    Date of submission


    Assignment Calendar

    A cycle calendar will be posted in the class Canvas and posted on the class whiteboard. This calendar will have all assignments, projects, daily objectives, quizzes, and tests for the cycle clearly outlined. This calendar is subject to adjustment based on student progress or unforeseen events. You should regularly check the cycle calendar for any changes!



    Labs will have a lab grade and a second grade for lab skills. When you are involved in a lab, you MUST act accordingly. Participating in lab is a privilege, one that can be taken away if the proper procedures are not followed.


    If you do not follow the rules of the lab then you will not be allowed to participate and will receive a zero for that lab as well as a zero for your lab skills grade. In order to participate in lab you must make at least an 80% on the safety test and turn in a signed safety contract.



    You are expected to attend class every day. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to promptly gather the assignments that you missed. I will not remind you of missed assignments, you must take the initiative to find out what you missed by starting with the posted cycle calendar. If you miss a test or quiz YOU must schedule a make-up, but keep in mind that the format of the retest is at the teacher’s discretion. It is your responsibility to make-up your missed test within the 3-day window for each day absent. Any assignments not made up from an absence will result in a zero.


    Email is the best method for coordinating any make-up work or missed tests/quizzes/labs.


    Late Work/Missing Assignments

    All assignments are due ON TIME. Late work will be accepted up to one day late and no later. An academic grade on late work is up to a 70% for one day late and 0% thereafter. In-Class work is not eligible for the late work policy.


    If you are on campus the day an assignment is due, you are required to turn it in, even if you miss your biology period. Being away from school for any school-related activity does not excuse you from turning in any due assignment at assigned times without prior approval.  



    I am available to help you better understand information in a small group or individually. Tutoring is available by appointment at lunch and during SSEP. The National Honor Society also offers peer tutoring. If you are having difficulty in this course you should ask for help early!


    Extra Credit

    I do not offer extra credit.


    Assignment Resubmission

    Resubmissions are permitted at my discretion. The following are general guidelines for resubmissions and are subject to additional requirements:

    • Original assignment must have been turned on time or within the 1-day late window.
    • You must show all work and explain how you came to the new answer/conclusion.


    The policy for my class is outlined below. Please review it carefully.

    • Maximum of 2 retakes per grading cycle
    • Maximum retake score is 70 (score of 70 to 100 = 70); higher grade between original/retake counted
    • The student, not the parent, must request the retake.
    • Student must request the retake within 24 hours of the grade posting on PowerSchool and complete the retake within one week of grade posted.
    • Retakes are for tests only. A reading quiz is an extension of homework and not eligible.
    • If you have multiple retakes on the same day, it is your responsibility to reschedule in advance.
    • “No show” counts as a taken retake. You will be considered a “no show” if you arrive 15 minutes or later from the start of your scheduled retake time.
    • Final Exams are not eligible
    • Missing assignments fall under my late policy not the retake policy.


    Academic Integrity

    Cheating, copying, plagiarizing, and falsifying documents will not be tolerated at CVHS. Any student displaying academic dishonesty will be reported and referred to the Assistant Principal. The student will receive grade of “0” on the assignment and there will not be an opportunity to make up the assignment. This includes exams and quizzes. Any disruptions, intentional or unintentional, or use of a cell phone during a test or quiz will be perceived as a violation of academic integrity in the classroom. Student will receive a score of “0” and be reported to administration.



    Participation is necessary to be successful in this class. Participation should be meaningful and add to discussion, not detract.


    Study Techniques
    Studying for classes involves more than just "cramming the night before a test." The following are suggestions to improve your grade in biology:

    1. Write all assignment due dates in your planner.
    2. Read over your notes soon after you have written them.
    3. Review the vocabulary list as you go.
    4. Do all in-class assignments, homework, worksheets, study questions, etc.
    5. Keep your handouts, lecture summaries, and study questions organized in your notebook.
    6. Always read assigned material and make a graphic organizer to help you summarize main ideas.
    7. Participate in class.
    8. Study frequently and in small doses. 
    9. Set up a study group and study with friends.
    10. If you are having trouble with the material, get help early. Do not wait until the end of the grading period and/or test day!!!


    *Anything not covered here is subject to the rules and regulations of the Student Handbook and/or my discretion.