Precalculus OnRamps

  • Precalculus OnRamps for DATA Students
    High School Course Information for 2022-2023

    Instructor:  Mrs. Jennifer P. Contreras                              Classroom: RR 239, periods: 3, 4, 5 & 7
    E-mail:                                                  Website:

    Course Overview:  OnRamps courses are designed by the University of Texas at Austin for students to engage in authentic college experiences while still in high school.  They are dual enrollment classes, meaning that students are taking both a U.T. class and a high school class simultaneously. Unlike traditional dual credit courses, OnRamps students earn separate grades, one from their high school and a different one from U.T.  Near the end of the school year, students will decide if they want to accept or decline their college grade.  If they accept, they will have 3 hours of college math credit that can used at many colleges and universities, not just U.T.  If they decline, there is no record of their college coursework.  Precalculus builds on the foundations of Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II to expand the students’ understanding of mathematics using symbolic reasoning and analytical methods. This course follows the Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) model, a student-centered methodology which stresses the importance of the active construction of learning.  Students will deepen their understanding of their previous math courses by moving past traditional skills practice and working collaboratively to reach a conceptual understanding of the topics in this course with support from the teacher. This is a rigorous course, designed to prepare students for calculus and other college level courses.  Topics will include functions (polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, etc.), conic sections, matrices, trigonometry, vectors, polar graphs, parametric equations, and other topics needed for calculus. 

    School Supplies:  Students are expected to come to class each day with a pencil, an eraserloose-leaf notebook paper (or a spiral notebook), a Precalculus binder or folder, the current Unit Booklet and any handouts/materials from the current unit of study. 

      Since this is a college-level course, students will be required to complete the majority of their assignments and assessments without a calculator of any kind.  When calculators are permitted, students may use a school-provided graphing calculator, their own handheld calculator, or the Desmos app or website. 

      During class, we will be using the U.T. textbook, Discovery Precalculus:  A Creative and Connected Approach.  You will receive the textbook, one unit at a time, throughout the school year.

    Google Classroom & Canvas
    :  Announcements and links to assignments/handouts and other reference materials will be posted in our Google Classroom.  However, student work will NOT be submitted through Google Classroom (unless in-person learning is paused and we go virtual).  Our Google Classroom code is
    skbucjiThe University of Texas at Austin uses a different learning management software for their materials, called Canvas.

    High School Grading Policy:
      As stated earlier, you will receive separate (usually different) grades for your high school work and your college work for this class.  This document provides information about your Roosevelt High School precalculus course.  There is a separate college syllabus, posted in Canvas and in our Google Classroom, that explains the guidelines, policies, and expectations for the U.T. college course.  In that document, you will see that your college grade will be determined by Unit Tests, Unit Exploration Assessments, Learning Strategies Modules, and the OnRamps Student Orientation.  Each of those grades will also be part of your high school precalculus average, but your high school average will also include quizzes, homework, classwork, participation, and collaboration as shown below.

             30%       Tests = Part 1 Unit Exams                                                
             30%       Quizzes = Canvas (online) Quizzes & Part 2 Unit Exams
             30%       Demonstrations = Homework (paper) Quizzes, Unit Booklets, Unit Exploration Assessments and Learning Strategies                              
             10%       Assignments = Classwork & Homework completion and Participation

    Work graded by your high school teacher will be posted in Skyward for students and parents to view online within a week, if not sooner.  In fairness to the students who turn assignments in on-time, their work will be graded and posted first.  Late work, makeup work, and retakes go to the bottom of the “to be graded” pile, but every effort will be made to have those grades posted before the next progress report or report card deadline.  Tests scores will be posted as soon as they are finalized by U.T. and released to your high school teacher.  High School grades and averages will be in Skyward for students & parents.  College grades and averages will be posted in Canvas for students only.

    Semester Exams & Grades:
      Units 1-3 will be assessed on the first semester (Midterm) exam in early December.  Units 4-6 will be assessed on the second semester (Final) exam in late April.  Your high school semester grade will be calculated using a weighted average:  your first (or third) nine-weeks grade is 40%, your second (or fourth) nine-weeks grade is 40%, and your semester exam grade is 20%.  By district policy, OnRamps students cannot exempt either of the semester exams.  Unit 7, Sequences & Series, will be part of your high school grade, but it will not be included in your college precalculus grade.

    Each OnRamps precalculus unit consists of a series of explorations. The only way to learn math is to do math. Students will spend the majority of their class time working collaboratively in partners or groups. Students are expected to participate, ask questions, present solutions to problems, and provide feedback to other students; this will be part of their high school grade.

    Homework assignments are given almost every day and will be due at the beginning of the next class period (unless stated otherwise).  Students are expected to show work to earn credit.  Assignments submitted after the beginning of the period will be “late.”  Late work earns 80% credit until the unit test and then 50% credit until the end of the grading period.  Most homework assignments are written by U.T. and will be checked for completion by your high school teacher.

    Homework Quizzes:  
    Homework quizzes are written and graded by the high school teachers and the problems directly relate to recent classwork and homework. They take 5-10 minutes, are completed in class, on paper, and calculators are usually not allowed.  Homework Quiz grades will be posted in the “Demonstrations” category in Skyward.  Students will usually have 1-2 homework quizzes per week to encourage them to keep up with their daily work and ask questions during class or tutoring.  If a student misses a homework quiz, they have one week to makeup the quiz for full credit.  After one week, the grade will be a zero and the student will need to do a retake.  If a student does not pass a homework quiz (or takes more than one week to makeup a quiz), they can retake the quiz (once) for a maximum grade of 70.  Retakes should be completed before the unit test.

    Canvas Quizzes:
      This type of quiz is written by U.T. math faculty and taken online in Canvas, usually outside of class time.  Each quiz will be open for a 4-7 day window; deadlines will be announced in class and posted in our Google Classroom.  For Canvas Quizzes, you may use your notes, explorations and homework.  You may also collaborate with other current Precalculus OnRamps students; note: they may have different quiz questions.  Students may retake each quiz once within the same window and will receive the higher of the two grades.  Retakes are similar, but not necessarily identical to the original quiz; do not memorize answers or assume the problems will be the same.  After the original deadline, each canvas quiz will be re-opened for 80% late-credit (and for retakes by request) for one additional week.  After the late/retake deadline, students can only take the quiz by appointment, in the classroom with an OnRamps Precalculus teacher. 

      Our Precalculus tests and semester exams are written and graded by the U.T. OnRamps math staff.  As a college-level course, these assessments have strict time limits and expectations.  Only students with “extended time” accommodations through an IEP or 504 plan, will get additional time on tests.  Students will not be allowed to use any notes or other reference materials, nor will they be allowed to use a calculator (of any kind) during most tests.  If you miss a test, a makeup test must be scheduled with your high school teacher and taken within two school days, before or after, the original test.  If you do not makeup the test within that time frame, you will receive a zero and will need to do a retake.  Most unit tests will have two parts: auto-scored (45 minutes) and free-response (30 minutes) taken on separate class days.  For your high school grade, you will receive separate grades for each part: Part 1 Exam scores will go in the TEST category and part 2 Exam scores will go in the QUIZZES category.  (For the college course, the two exam parts will be combined into a single test grade).  If a student does not pass a test, they can retake the test (once). Retakes will NOT change your college test grades.  Like the original test, retakes must be completed in one sitting with the same time limits. If you pass the retake, you will bring your high school test grade up to 70; otherwise, you will receive the higher of the original and retake grades.  Retakes will be similar, but not identical to the original test. 

    Tutoring & Study Groups:
      Math help is available!  Tutoring will be available several mornings and/or afternoons each week.  Check the schedule posted on the whiteboard calendar in class.  In addition to getting math help from me, students can use tutoring times to work independently, meet with study groups, do retakes, or prepare for upcoming assessments. Students are highly encouraged to form study groups to work on assignments, take canvas quizzes, and prepare for tests outside of class time.

    Integrity Policy:
      Students are encouraged to work together, both during and outside of class, on the explorations, homework assignments, canvas quizzes, and unit exploration assessments.  We want you to talk about the math.  However, EACH student should be actively working on EACH of the problems;  “divide & conquer,” having an APP/website do the work, and copying answers are NOT acceptable strategies.  Additionally, all tests, exams and homework quizzes are to be completed individually.  Students who complete assessments without integrity, including copying or using prohibited materials, will receive a zero and retakes/corrections will not be permitted. 

    Electronic Devices & Work for Other Classes:
      Your cell phone (and other electronic devices) should be silenced and put away, unless you have received the teacher’s permission to use them to do your math work.  You should not use electronic devices for personal activities (social media, games, etc.) during class.  Phone calls and texts should not be read/answered during class, even if they are to/from your family; please speak to your teacher privately if you have a special situation.  If your phone (or other devices) are a distraction, they may be collected for the duration of class.  You should not work on assignments for other classes UNTIL you have finished ALL of your math work. 

    Class Rules: 

              1.  Be ready to learn (arrive on time, have supplies & assignments out, and put away distractions).
              2.  Have respect for other people, for their ideas, opinions and beliefs, and for personal/school property.
              3.  Take responsibility for your schoolwork, your words, your choices/decisions/attitude, and your education.
              4.  Help create and maintain a positive classroom environment. 
              5.  Strive to uphold the DATA Core Values of Perseverance, Integrity, Commitment, and Kindness.

      The best way to contact me is through my school district email,  Outside of class, I will communicate with students collectively through our Google Classroom and individually through their NEISD student email address.  I will communicate with parents through the email that is listed in Skyward (unless you provide me with a different/additional email).  I try to respond to emails by the end of the next school day.  If parents would prefer a phone conversation (or would like to schedule a conference), please email me, have your student give me a note, or call the DATA office at 210-356-2237.