6 Essential Sections of a High School Syllabus Template

Ginger Abbot

Apr 3, 2023

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A clear, well-organized high school syllabus template is essential for effectively running a course. With it, students learn about your expectations for academic performance and proper classroom conduct.

The best template answers students’ most common questions about the course materials and instruction during the semester. Some might even regard the syllabus as a contract between the teacher and the student. Here are the most important sections to include when writing a high school syllabus template.

1. Contact Information

Place your contact details at the top of the syllabus for students to know who you are and how they can reach you. Items you should add comprise the following:

  • Your name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Classroom website if you have one

You could also list times when students can come to you for help understanding an assignment — for example, before or after school or during a teacher planning hour.

2. Course Information and Summary

The second section should deliver information about the course itself, starting with the name of the class and how often it meets. High schools have varying schedules, including meeting daily, on an A/B program, or by semester.

There should also be a course summary or overview of what the course covers throughout the term or academic year. What is the subject area? What concepts get taught at the specific grade level?

3. Prerequisites and Core Requisites

Some classes may require that students take another course before enrolling in yours. For instance, biology might be a prerequisite for an environmental science elective, while students might also need to have passed algebra and geometry before taking trigonometry or calculus.

Likewise, some courses have core requisites that require students to simultaneously take another class with yours. For example, science lecture courses may have a lab that students must take.

4. Required Materials

The fourth section should list the required materials for the course — textbooks, novels, online resources, and other tools and equipment. For instance, an art class may ask students to supply their own art utensils and canvas for projects.

While many schools provide textbooks for students during the semester, others need more funding for the basics. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), mid-to-low-poverty school districts spend $700 to $3,078 less per student than well-off communities. Meanwhile, schools in extreme poverty districts spend $5,135 less — a nearly 30% reduction.

Ensure students understand what resources they’re responsible for during the semester and try to incorporate cost-effective options and alternatives just in case. 

5. Course Objectives, Assignment List, and Academic Policies

The next section of a high school syllabus template should describe course outcomes — what the students will have learned or mastered at the end of the course.

Following the course objectives should be an outline of the assignments, readings, and exams students can expect. Mapping the semester ahead of time will be challenging but will help you and your students plan and stay on track. 

Of course, flexibility is key — it’s OK not to have every assignment figured out, and you might convey that due dates for projects and exams are tentative to how well the class sticks to the schedule. 

This is also an excellent place to address academic policies and procedures, such as how you grade assignments and how each — including homework, quizzes, tests, projects, and participation — makes up the final grade. Students participating in classroom discussions have an easier time encoding challenging subject matter and improving their grades.

Also, explain the rules of plagiarism, how to submit assignments and your policy for work submitted after the deadline. Do you offer a reduced grading scale for late work? Are students expected to email their assignments if they’re absent the day it’s due?

6. Classroom Policies

The final sections of your syllabus should review general housekeeping for classroom management, including the following:

  • Communication channels — email, phone, or in-person meetings
  • Technology policies — whether laptops, phones, or other devices are allowed 
  • Food and drink policies
  • Accommodations statement — a declaration of respect for students from different backgrounds and learning needs
  • Attendance policies — what constitutes being “absent” or “tardy” from class

Of the seven million students in the United States, 16% missed 15 days or more of school in 2018. Studies show that missing school causes students to fall behind and impacts future learning outcomes.

A Detailed High School Syllabus Template Is a Recipe for Success

Set your students up for success with a detailed high school syllabus template covering essential classroom expectations. Although you don’t need to follow the syllabus to a T, it should serve as a guide for meeting learning objectives and mastery of the subject matter. 

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