For Parents

Thank you for the privilege of teaching your children.  I share most of the following information at “Back to School Night,” so I hope that it is useful to you. Please never hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Mr. William Swinsburg

Contact Information

  • Email
  • Phone: 717.354.1550 ext 3607
  • Office Hours: (Room 607): After school every day until 4pm, and during iSpartan (days 1-4 during B lunch; days 5-9 during A lunch).

Course Information

  • Syllabus
  • Goals that we have for this year
    • Discovery of how the natural world functions
    • Developing problem-solving, hard work, and self-discipline
    • Biology: Preparation for the Keystone Final exam
  • Absent/Make up work
    • Students can find papers in “while you were out” area and consult the powerpoints on canvas. Recent homework list on bulletin board.
  • Grading
    • Biology: 60% Tests, 10% quizzes, 30% homework/classwork
    • Chemistry: 50% Tests, 40% labs, classwork, and quizzes, 5% homework, 5% participation
  • Extra Credit
    • Lab Technicians: Contact Mr. Swinsburg for more information
    • Extra credit articles: Current event article summary and reflection pertaining to biology/chemistry. Students provide one paragraph as a summary, and as second as an opinion.   Students may submit one article per week for 2 points each on your quiz grade.

Spartan Learning Portal (Canvas)

I have posted each day’s powerpoint on canvas, as well as any needed links on Canvas.  Most lesson pages also have an “extra resources” section at the bottom

Become an observer!  Parents at Garden Spot are welcome to create an “observer” account to access all of their child’s courses so they can see assignment due dates, announcements, and other course content. Observers can view the course content (including all of my powerpoints, extra help resources, etc…), but cannot participate in the course.

To become an observer, follow these directions:

For some light reading on being a canvas observer, see:

Other Communications

  1. I will be using a program called Remind to send text messages about homework, tests, etc.. Students and parents are both strongly encouraged to sign up for these messages by signing up via text or email:
Block Text Reminders Email Reminders
1 Text the message @swins1 to the number 81010.
2 Text the message @swins2 to the number 81010.
3 Text the message @swins3 to the number 81010.
4 Text the message @swins4 to the number 81010.

*I will not be able to see your phone number or email address if you use this service.

2. I will also be using a program called Dial My Calls to notify parents if their child has an average grade below 75%. Please do not hesitate to contact me about a student’s performance, or to check on Powerschool for their grades.

3. FYI… many parents don’t know that they can automatically receive emails detailing their child’s web history at school. For more information, contact Tim Leister

4. I am asking students to keep a 1-1.5 inch, 3-ring binder for their materials. If this is a problem, the student should contact me ASAP, and I can take care of it.


Ideas if your Child Needs Help

  1. Focus on the guided notes and make sure that you understand them. I make these notes so that they cover the most important ideas that will be on the tests.  Go over them at night and circle anything that doesn’t make sense.  Then, ask me questions during practice time.
  2. Come in to ask me questions during iSpartan or after school. It is best to do this leading up to a test, instead of after the test.
  3. Pay attention to do-nows and exit tickets. I often take these questions directly from the test and modify them.  You can always find all the powerpoints, guided notes, and other video links on Canvas.
  4. Study for the test a little every night. If you didn’t do well, please come in during iSpartan or after school so you can see your test and consult with me about the answers.  Then, you can take the retest after all of your questions are answered.
  5. Quizlet: Students can use this website to study for biology vocab quizzes or chemistry element quizzes.  Students can practice with online flash cards, games, etc… and print flashcards from the website.
  6. BrainGenie: Since we do not have textbooks, this website can provide a great online substitute. They have very clearly broken-down videos on all the topics covered in the class.  There are also practice problems.



  1. CrashCourse Biology and Chemistry: Hank Green’s youtube channel that features engaging videos on almost all biology and chemistry topics. There is a lot of content covered very quickly, so I tend to not use it during class.  However, students may find it useful to review on their own time

  1. Ian Guch’s Cavalcade of Chemistry: An incredible resource involving tutorials and practice worksheets on almost every topic in chemistry.

  1. Glenn Wolkenfeld’s Science Music Videos: Video summaries, practice problems, and music videos on almost every topic in biology.