This syllabus is appropriate for any middle or high school Language Arts course. It consists of several key attributes that make it unique compared to a typical Language Arts syllabus. First, the course description conveys the importance of developing strong literacy skills and then explains how students will develop these skills through a balanced literacy approach that focuses on integrating all four language skills and developing critical thinking skills. Second, it organizes the content of the course around essential questions and conceptual lenses that facilitate student learning of big ideas that are transferable to other content areas besides Language Arts. Third, it includes a thorough explanation of the role that independent reading plays in the curriculum. Fourth, it effectively explains how students will be assessed using standards-based grading practices in a way that is understandable for both students and parents. Fifth, it contains a contract that is signed by both the student and the parent/guardian so both individuals clearly understand the course expectations.