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The school closure has been extended through Spring Break with a tentative reopening of Monday April 20, 2020... Remote Learning will continue, except during Spring Break 4/10/2020-4/17/2020. Please contact Mr. Sawyer at for breakfast and lunch program questions....

Welcome to the 2019/2020 School Year!

As you are all aware, UACHS has transitioned into a homebound instruction due to school closures related to COVID-19. Nearly all of the communication with my students, including posting of assignments, will take place through Schoology, as it is a medium we are all comfortable with using. Please see the notes below on this page OR in the "Homebound Instruction" folder on Schoology for an explanation of the procedure, guidelines, and my expectations for distance learning. Please read this explanation with your students so they are clear on my expectations. All students are expected to complete work daily, as it will not only count toward their grade but also their attendance. If there any questions, feel free to reach out via email or message on Schoology. 
Welcome students, parents, guardians, and faculty to my University Academy Charter High School web page. My name is Mr. John Gurbisz, and during the 2019/2020 school year, I am teaching two sections of English I and one section of Professional Writing and Presentation. 
Prior to this school year, I was a member of the New Jersey City University Teacher Trainee Program for three years while I completed my second Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and my Master of Arts in teaching. Previously, I had achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Rowan University. Following the completion of my certification program at NJCU, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and moved to the Czech Republic where I worked for a year as English Teaching Assistant. 
I am looking forward to getting to know all of my students and fostering their skills in reading, writing, communicating, and critical thinking. 
Students, parents, and guardians, please subscribe to the appropriate section and period. Assignment reminders will be posted on this web page and on Schoology. 
My email is Please feel to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.
Let's have a great year!


Recent Posts

English I: Notes on Assignment - April 2, 2020


Firstly, I recognize that Schoology was down for a few hours during the afternoon today. Apparently the server that Schoology is on is operating at 400% the normal amount of traffic at those times of the day, so it's doing its best to stay above ground. So therefore you might have also had problems logging in at those times too (I know I did). 

However, let's be serious. I post your assignments the night before and they are not due until the evening of the due date. Even if it is not working, you still have time to get something in once the server calms down.

Because of this unpredictability on Schoology, I have decided to ALSO post my daily "Notes on Assignment" on my official UACHS website daily (or nightly, rather). That website can be found by going on and finding my name under faculty and staff, or directly: Bookmark that page in case Schoology goes down and you don't remember what your assignment was.

If it is later in the afternoon and you cannot access Schoology for ANY reason, you can always submit your work to me via my UACHS email address:

Again, Friday we will have another live classroom session, this time using zoom. I will post an explanation on how to use Zoom if you haven't already with another class. Then, on Friday, I will post the meeting code for you to join. 


The assignment for April 2, 2020: 

1.     FInish up Macbeth by reading: Act 5, Scene 6, 7, AND 8. As always, you can use your Folgers original text or the No Fear Shakespeare version. Here is the No Fear version for Act 5, Scene 6: ; Here is the No Fear version for Act 5, Scene 7:; Here is the No fear for Act 5, Scene 8 (THE FINAL SCENE!): . 

      As you can see, all of these scenes are extremely short, and it is the finale of this play! I'm not going to say any more and spoil anything! Try watching this along with reading it, as it is very action-oriented. 

2.     Watch the folowing videos:

·       First, watch these 3 extremely short summary videos to help you understand the scenes: Act 5, Scene 6: ; Act 5, Scene 7: ; and Act 5, Scene 8: .  

·       Watch the following stage version to help you absorb how intense the final battles are. We will watch the ending of the movie together on Zoom on friday!

      Act 5, Scene 6 Starts at 42:50 and then you can just watch until the end of the video for the finale of the play. 

__.           3. Answer the study guide questions  in the discussion post, as usual. Make sure that you are responding to the questions regarding the videos. I leave you these videos not only for you to deepen your understanding on these scenes, but also because I want you to work with them as well.  The study guide questions are as follows:


Act 5, Scene 6:

  1. Who does Malcom send to go as the first wave of attackers on Macbeth’s castle?
  2. After their throw down their branches from Birnam Wood, what does the army do to announce they are storming Macbeth’s castle?
Act 5, Scene 7:
  1. What does Young Siward say to Macbeth before their battle, and how does Macbeth respond? 
  2. What happens to Young Siward?
  3. What does Macduff say as he enters the castle?
Act 6, Scene 8: 
  1. Why does Macduff not fit the title of being “woman born” (what was different about his birth)?
  2. How does Macbeth react to the Macduff’s reveal about his birth?
  3. What news does Ross bring Siward? What is Siward’s reaction?
  4. How does the reader find out that Macbeth has been killed?
  5. How does Lady Macbeth die? (Hint: Malcom reveals it). 
  6. What does Malcom call for at the very end of the play?


PWAP - Notes on Assignment: April 1+2, 2020


As I said, you guys will have the day off from an additional writing assignment for today so that you have an extra day to complete your final drafts for your emails. That being said, I’m expecting all of you to make sure that you all hand me in good, edited versions of the 4 emails. 
You sending in your final drafts of your emails will count for your attendance for BOTH WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, so make sure that you get them into me!
You will submit your emails though google docs so that I can make comments on them directly. So, therefore send them into me by Thursday at 8:00 pm to 
Go back to each day individually from last week to look at my comments and suggestions for changes. I am looking at each aspect of the email being effectively completed (scenario, subject line, greeting, opening sentence, body, closing sentence, closing). 
I have also attached a rubric for you all to look at that I will be using to grade these assignments. They are entirely based on the effectiveness of each of the above aspects of an email AND whether you made the changes that I requested from you. 
NOW, that being said, I do NOT want you to individually label each part of the email in your final draft. I simply want you to combine those parts of the email and write it as if it were a normal situation (or like any other email you’ve sent or received). 
Please look at the .pdf for 3 different examples of this on pages 34-36. 
The following is on page 36, and is a good example of what your final email drafts should look like. This could be considered an open-ended email. PLEASE NOTICE there is no labeling of the parts, but all of them are there. 
The exception with this example is that it does not contain the type of email, the scenario you came up with, and the subject line. Your final copy should include this. I have included this so that you can see my expectations. 
As always, if you have any questions PLEASE reach out. I am here to help you over the next two days. 




Email #3: Open-Ended Email

Scenario: Discussion about the development of project timelines 

Subject line: Status on Project Timeline


Hi Jane,

Can you lease update me on the status of the project timelines?

Last week you mentioned that you were waiting for Sam to send you the development timeline and that you were working on communication and planning documents (including timelines) for the project.

I am planning for the project in Asia Pacific and need these dates to initiate discussion with the countries. The pilot will be a topic of discussion on our weekly status calls next week.

Your assistance in getting this information as soon as possible is appreciated.




Update to grading and procedure for Homebound Instruction

Greetings to all,

I hope that you are all doing well (quite literally). I want to thank you all for the timely repsonse to your first post, and I hope that you continue to keep up to date with any and all work that I leave you for the duration of our time in homebound instruction.

Each day, I will post a "note for..." page in the day's folder which will tell you exactly what I expect you to do in order to get full credit for that day's work. Get in the habit of reading that page first so that you what my expectations are for that day's assignment. 

I just wanted to give an updated post regarding some key things that you all need to know. First of all, each assignment that I post is due at 8:00 p.m. on the day of the assignment. I am going to post the following day's assignment at 8:01 p.m. each evening so that you all have a full 24 hours to complete any work for my class. Completion is absolutely mandatory as, again, it will count as your attendancefor my class for that day. So those of you who made comments about "just making it in time" for the first assignment, you're incorrect, as you had a full day to do my work. 

A few of you were asking me how I plan to grade the work that you all complete during this time frame. I've given some thought to it, and because this is meant to represent the work that we do in class, I will be assigning special classroom participation grade for each week of homebound instruction. Each missing or incomplete assignment during those 5 days will result in a loss of 20 points per day for that CPP grade (so if you miss 2 assignments, your entire week's CPP grade will be a 60). Additionally, I reserve the right to count ANY AND ALL assignments as individual homework grades (especially study guides), any quizzes I give will count as quizzes towards your overall Q3 grade, and from now on, any discussion posts to informational texts that I assign will be graded individually as CPP grades as well. 

Therefore, don't miss any assignments, complete them in full, and you should maintain or improve your overall grade for Q3. Miss assignments and your grade will drop RAPIDLY, and you will ALSO RECEIVE AN ABSENCE for that day. In general, you have plenty of time to complete any work I will leave you, and my workload will be extremely manageable as I know you are completing instruction for all of your other classes. 

As always if you have further questions, please let me know through messages on here or through I am available during those "office hour" times that are listed in the first message that you read. 

Thanks, best, and be safe,

Mr. Gurbisz 

Notes on Homebound Instruction

Good evening students and parents,
Considering we will be on homebound instruction until at least 3/27/20, it is extremely important that all of my students are up to date with my expectations for learning online during this time. All assignments will be posted and are expected to be completed through Schoology, as this is a online medium that we are all comfortable with using. It is your responsibility as my students to keep up to date with these assignments. If you have not already, please download the Schoology app on your phone or tablet and turn on the notifications in order to see when your next assignment is posted.  
The following message was posted on Schoology on March 12, 2020:

I hope you all are safe and healthy during these confusing and unprecedented times. Because this is a new situation for both teachers and students alike, I wanted to include this first message as a reminder of my expectations for using Schoology as our primary method of completing our homebound instruction. I have discussed all of these things in class already, but here is a reference guide as a just-in-case situation. 

You can already see I have created a new folder for your class in which you will find all of the assignments during our time on homebound instruction. Each day, you will find a new folder within that main folder labeled with the date of when the assignment is due. Inside that dated folder, you will find your assignment for that given day. 

Please note that ALL ASSIGNMENTS for a given day will be due by 8:00 p.m. on that date. I will post the following day's assignments at 8:01 p.m. the night before, giving you a full 24 hours to complete any work for my class. 

Completion and timeliness is absolutely MANDATORY, as I will not only be counting these assignments toward your Q3 grade, but it will also serve as your attendance for my class on that date. 


As I mentioned, I will be open for questions throughout the day (Monday-Friday) during the following times:

English I - Period 2/3: 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Professional Writing and Presentation - Period 5: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

English I - Period 6/7: 12:30-2:00 p.m. 

Questions can be submitted to me through a private message on Schoology (using the mail icon on the upper right toolbar), or through my UACHS email ( ). Please try to limit your questions to the time frame given to your class so that I can see if there are similar questions throughout. 


The following are some of the things we will aim to work on during our time on homebound instruction: 

For English I: 

·       SWBAT continue reading, analyzing, and discussing “Macbeth” in order to digest themes and topics in Shakespearian plays that are relevant today. 

·       SWBAT recognize and utilize new a new set of words by creating vocabulary squares in order to diversify and strengthen their vocabulary. 

·       SWBAT identify and distinguish rules of commas, semicolons, verb types, and subject-verb agreements in order to strengthen their overall grammatical knowledge. 

·       SWBAT read and analyze an informational text in order to make connections between advertising issues and real life issues.


For Profession Writing and Presentation:

SWBAT read and analyze an informational text in order to make connections to real world issues and professionalism.

SWBAT identify aspects of a professional email and compile three separate professional emails in three different scenarios in order to diversify their professional writing skills. (This is the primary focus of this unit).

SWBAT begin research on their next presentation, the “Pay it Forward” project in order to summarize all the learning done and execute the skills learned throughout the year so far. 


Some side notes: 

      Whenever I require a picture of your notes or anything at all to be included in the discussion post, you can use the “File” icon on the discussion post itself. It is the first icon on the bottom left of the text-box when you are posting. Simply click on it; then look for the file of your picture saved on your computer or tablet and post!

 If I assign a quiz, it will be timed. You must complete the quiz during that time frame. There will be no instances of retaking quizzes. 

Completion does not mean just handing in an assignment without effort. You must show that you made an honest effort and that you have completed all aspects of the assignment in order to receive credit for it.

You’re expected to write in full, complete sentences whenever responding to a prompt and to write full, complete paragraphs. That means practicing your RACE method of writing textual-evidence based paragraphs when necessary. 

 In general, I hope that you all stay safe, healthy, and we all find ourselves back in school sooner rather than later. I wish all the best to you and all of your families. As always, feel free to send me a message or an email if you have any questions. 

In order for me to know that you have read all of this information, the first part of your first assignment for 3/13/20 is to post in the discussion with the phrase "What's done is done." 



Mr. Gurbisz

Greek Myths Final Project - Due 10/10/19

Please refer to the file for all details on the Greek Myths project. Those who have handed in the Summer Reading Project on time, you only have to complete the essay portion. Students will receive 2 project grades for this: one for the essay and one for creative aspect. 

Test on Greek Myths on 10/4/19

There will be a cumulative test on the Greek myths that we have been reading in class. These myths include: 
  • The family tree of the Gods, Goddesses, and Titans (as well as information about the major ones)
  • Creation of the World
  • Creation of Mankind and Pandora
  • Pyramus and Thisbe
  • Pygmalion
  • Orpheus and Eurydice 
  • Prometheus and Io
Please remember to study! Tests are worth 25% of your grade.