VanWees, Carlos » Syllabus


Biology & Environmental Systems: 2021- 2022

Mr. Carlos J. VanWees, Room 256


Background: Biology is the study of the living world, both large and small. This year, we will explore different elements of life including how organisms interact in nature and cellular process that keep all biotic things alive. Biology is a STAAR tested course. Passing this exam and gaining credit for the course are both requirements for graduation.


Class Expectations:

  1. Students will have a mask on at all times in class.  
  2. Students will have all required online assignments completed by the required due dates.
  3. Students will be respectful towards the teacher and classmates at all times online.
  4. Students will be engaged and participate fully in lessons and hands-on activities
  5. Students will take responsibility for their grades and behavior. 

Grading Policy:

All classes will implement a standards-based grading model to their grading policy. This mode of grading requires all students to demonstrate and provide evidence of mastery of biology content as their grade solely reflects mastery of the standards. The following scale will be used when grading all assignments:

Grade Descriptor

Gradebook Equivalent

Insufficient Evidence (INS)


Emerging (EM)


Approaching (AP)


Satisfactory (SAT)


Proficient (PRF)*


Mastery (MST)



*minimum preferred score—the goal is Mastery


Assessments (quizzes, exams, etc.) will be used as a bulk of the grade in class. Students will need to study on a regular basis in order to reach a mastery level as they will be expected to demonstrate a deep understanding of the biological world. Students will be able to demonstrate mastery throughout the six week grading period and improve their grade as they provide evidence of learning. Grades will be weighted in the following fashion:


Summative Assessments: 60% (Tests, projects)

Formative Assessments: 40% (Practice, “daily work”)


Students are responsible for their grades and are expected to keep up with all grades throughout the year.




Students will be issued a school laptop at the beginning of the year. All students are expected to have a fully charged laptop every day. Students will be allowed to use their laptop at teacher discretion. The use of cell phones is prohibited with the exception of teacher permission. Students ARE NOT allowed to take phone calls, text messages, emails, etc., in class for any reason. If a student needs to be reached, please call the front office and they will connect you to my classroom. 


Lab Safety:

Safety for all students is an utmost concern, especially when we are doing laboratory activities. All students must sign a lab safety contract in order for the student to participate in laboratory activities. Students without signed safety contracts on file will not be allowed to participate in the labs and may receive an incomplete on any related assignments. If a student violates a safety rule during a laboratory activity, he/she will be removed from the lab and graded accordingly.


Contact Information:

The best way to contact Mr. VanWees is through email at OR on Remind via the following class codes:






Be sure to read the syllabus carefully and ask for clarification when needed. Students will be expected to adhere to the syllabus throughout the year.