Frequently Asked Questions
In hopes of getting answers to students and parents quickly I have answered many of the FAQs below. Please take a look here before you e-mail or call. If I do get an e-mail with regard to the one of the questions below, I will simply send you a link to this web page.
1. How come the files won't open on my computer?
- You need a free adobe reader, if you are having issues be sure to download the current version: http://get.adobe.com/reader/other versions/
- If you are still having issues opening files use a different internet browser (Safari browser often has issues) like Mozilla Firefox, free download: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ or Google Chome
- Restart your computer after completing updates/downloads.
- Download the pdf file to your desktop, then open the file on the desktop to print.
- Click the refresh button a few times, click and wait for it to load, then click again...sometimes up to 10 times (this works if you click and get nothing, or type the password and get nothing)
- Many animations/simulations require Java, free download: http://www.java.com/en/download/
2. What should I do if I miss a day of class due to an excused absence?
If you miss a day of class you should first make an effort to check the web site for the information covered in class. You should also make sure to check for any homework or quizzes that might be coming up. Ask a friend in class for the homework or e-mail the instructor to help with what may be due next class (When you e-mail the instructor, be specific...ie ask for the title of the notes you need).
3. I had an excused absence and was unable to turn in my work. How can I turn in my work for full credit?
Turn the assignment in to the instructor directly, it is always good to follow-up with the instructor when you return from an excused absence. You have the same number of days absent to make up the work.
4. I am going to miss school due to an unexcused absence (Wedding, Family Vacation, Field Trip, etc.). What can I do to be able to make up the work for full credit?
In order to have the opportunity to make up the missed work, you must fill out an Absent Notification Form at least 5 days in advance. Once you have filled out the form, turn it in to you instructor and you will be given the opportunity to complete the missed work. Not all of the assignments can be made up due to an unexcused absence (Please see syllabus for absence policy)
5. When can I make up a laboratory if I missed a day of class due to an excused absence?
It is the student's responsibility to schedule lab make-up with the instructor within the make-up timeline. Laboratory make-up is at the discretion of the instructor.
6. What can I do to make up a quiz I missed when I was absent?
No make-up quizzes are given. If the absence is excused, the quiz will be excused (appear as NA on Aeries). For mastery quizzes, student will need to complete the mastery assignment to be excused from the quiz.
7. I was absent for an exam, when will I have the opportunity to take the exam?
Schedule to make-up the exam before school or during class time based upon the instructors preference. Per syllabus, there are no test corrections on make-up exams.
8. Is there any opportunity for extra credit in this class?
There is no extra credit assignment, there will be bonus points on assignments occasionally throughout the term.
9. Can I turn in work that is late?
Late work will be accepted for Laboratory Reports and Projects Only. Please review syllabus regarding point deductions for late Laboratory Reports and Projects.
10. How can I raise my grade in class if I am not performing well?
1. Make sure you are attending class regularly
2. Complete every homework assignment (including the textbook reading)
3. Ask questions in class
4. Be an active group member during labs
5. Make flashcards and bring them to your instructor to review
6. Re-do worksheets for extra practice, you have the answers since they were reviewed in class
7. Attend tutorial time
8. Use the agendas posted online to get ahead...ie. complete reading, start HW
9. Use the mastery resources (Mastery Link) - extra notes, resources, video links, websites, extra practice
11. Do you have suggestions on how to study?
Yes! Start with your packet, read, review and highlight. Make a list of key vocabulary. Re-do worksheets, you have the answers from class...print off new ones and try them again in a test setting. Write and solve your own questions with a peer or by yourself. Also, consider making flash cards and bring them to me to review (often I can look over a student's flash cards in class or if more time is needed come to tutorial time). This allows me to see what the student is studying and to help focus their efforts (ie. toss cards out or help them see what they are missing). Watch posted video links. Use the mastery resources! (Mastery Link)
12. What are Mastery Quizzes?
The science department is developing Mastery Quizzes and Assignments for the core classes - Earth and Space, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Check out the Mastery Link on the CCA Science homepage, additional information is also in the course syllabus. The goal is to support struggling students.
13. Do you offer tutoring or have any tutoring services you recommend?
Please check the instructor's website for tutorial hours. CCA teachers can not recommend outside tutoring services.
14. Can I prepare or review for the STAR science test?
Yes! Below is a list of released questions:
Also check out: http://starsamplequestions.org/starRTQ/search.jsp
15. I am interested in the SAT II in Biology...what do you think?
College prep biology does not cover the depth and breadth required to score well on the SAT II Exam, those students that want to take the exam will need to complete additional studying. In the past students have purchased an SAT II study book (free resources at http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/lc_two.html) and they bring it in for me to make notes on the table of contents about areas that were not covered in college prep biology. There are two biology exams, "E" and "M". "E" is more ecology based and "M" is more cell/genetics based, at first glance the "E" option may appear easier but it is my experience that the questions are very broad while the "M" questions are more straight forward and students have reported they felt they did better on the "M" questions. Check out: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/lc_two/bio/bio.html for more details about the exam.
On a side note, most colleges/universities require that a student complete the Writing, Math (it is suggested that you take the highest math level) and one subject exam - check with the schools that you are interested in before making this decision. Even if you are a super all-star science student, you can still take the exam in history...the schools are using the exam to look for well rounded students that can perform in a subject area outside of math and English. So, if you plan to AP History as a sophomore or junior you may want to opt to take that subject exam because you'll have covered more material at an advanced level and will most likely score higher than the average high school student. Or if you really want to take a science test and are a super all-star science student, take Chemistry and AP Chemistry your sophomore year and take the test in chemistry...or even Physics and AP Physics your Junior year. AP Biology is also an option as an additional tool to prepare for the biology exam, however, AP Biology is typically a Senior course and it maybe too late for college applications. As mentioned above, if you want to take the SAT II Exam after completing college prep biology please follow the recommendations above and I would be glad to guide your preparation.
16. Test Prep Resources
CCA subscribes to test prep materials for SAT, SAT II, ACT, AP exam. Follow the directions to access free resources and sample tests. From the media center website (http://teachers.sduhsd.net), click on the "Gale" button, it will prompt you with the password, click ok, make sure pop-up blockers are off, after typing in the password, a new page will open, scroll to the bottom, click "Testing and Education Reference Center", then click on the test of interest.
17. What classes should I take?
In my opinion, all college prep students should complete at least Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I always suggest taking 4 of science years total (ie. Earth/Space, QUEST, AP science course...check out the course profiles for options). Please do not email asking about the prerequisites (I will most likely be pasting this into my response). The prerequisites are in place to support and set all students up for success, they apply to all students. Per Ed Code a student can enroll in any course via open access, but please carefully consider our recommendations before selecting courses. Most students that ignore the prerequisites regret the decision.
Make a 4 year plan, map out the courses you want to take in High School. If you are a sophmore who loves science/math and is planning a career in science you should be taking Chem and AP Chem. If you want to take another science course as a sophmore, consider Anatomy/Physiology, QUEST or Robotics.
If you plan to take AP Physics B, be sure to take the recommended sequence of Physics in the fall and AP Physics B in the spring.
I often get emails about taking physics before chemistry. We have carefully discussed the recommended prerequisites as a department. Chemistry has students use math and science skills to draw conclusions, physics has students apply those skills to discover in an inquiry setting. Students that complete chemistry first are often more succesful in physics then those that do not follow the recommended sequence.
18. How soon should I expect a response through e-mail or telephone from Mrs. Lawless?
I receive on average about 50+ e-mails a day and have to respond to most of them. Please allow me 24 to 48 hours to respond to an e-mail. If I do not get back to you within the timeframe please feel free to e-mail me again. I typically return phone calls before school. Email is the most efficient form on contact, if you would like me to call you please email a number where you can be reached and the topic of concern. Email will usually generate the fastest response.
19. What is my grade?
In order to view your grade you must have an Aeries account through the SDUHSD school district. The purpose of this system is to allow you to see grades in real time as they are recorded in the teachers grade book. If you need help getting an account or password please contact the front desk at CCA.
20. How can I get a Letter of Recommendation (aka LoR) from Mrs. Lawless?
I accept request from students, please download Mrs. Lawless' student brag sheet (word file so that it can be typed). Read and follow all directions on the form, please allow at least 2 weeks for the letter to be completed - remember you are asking for a letter of recommendation - worthy students are respectful and plan ahead! The brag sheet form is specific for Mrs. Lawless but it could be used when requesting a letter from other teachers, please check with other teachers regarding their policy and information needed.
1. Contact me in person or via email yourself (not your mom, dad, tutor or personal assistant)
2. Give at least 2 weeks notice (that two weeks starts when you get me all your paperwork)
3. Complete Naviance request and/or provide stamped envelopes
4. Complete FERPA (if you want a letter from me, you must waive your right to view the letter)
5. Complete brag sheet
6. Be in good standing (students with academic honesty or behavior issues please do not ask for a LoR, the answer will be no).
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