U. S. Government Instructor: Contact Information

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U.S. Government

Instructor: Contact Information:

Mr. Scott Meikle, Room 624 smeikle@interact.ccsd.net

Website: (702) 799 – 7870 ext. 3624


Course Scope

This one-year course is a study of federal, state, and local governments. Topics covered include governmental structures, functions, and responsibilities, as well as citizens’ rights and responsibilities. Time will also be spent on of foreign systems and relations. The importance of a politically informed citizenry and its obligation to participate is also stressed.

Course Goals:

1. To explain in terms of concepts the components of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the national, state, local, and tribal governments.

2. To evaluate the contributions made by the founding fathers and other political philosophers toward establishing the basic principles of American democracy.
3. To analyze the sources of public authority and political power and the manner in which the two relate to individual civil rights and liberties.
4. To assess the relationship between political beliefs and voter behavior of individuals in a democratic society.

5. To synthesize the concepts of political parties, the media, and interest groups and their impact on the American political system.

6. To critique the growth and development of American bureaucracy created to ensure the stability of the nation’s social, economic, environmental, and political institutions.

7. To investigate public policy networks that influence domestic and foreign agendas.

8. To identify the causes and effects of the major political and economic systems of the world.

9. To apply the content literacy skills necessary to analyze historical documents, artifacts, and concepts.

10. To use information, media, and technology literacy skills necessary to research, communicate, and demonstrate critical thinking.
Please Note:

  • The order of the syllabus is to be taught at the discretion of the teacher.

  • This course will fulfill the one United States Government credit required for graduation.

A. Textbook:

McClenaghan, William A. Magruder’s American Government. New Jersey: Pearson, 2003.

B. Supplemental materials

Items, such as political and historical documents, writings, documentaries, bibliographies, etc., will also be used throughout the year. These will be supplied by the instructor, or directions will be given so the students can obtain such records.

C. Required items:

- Three-ring binder

- College-ruled notebook paper

- Pens (Black or Blue ink only) and #2 Pencils

D. Suggested items

- Whiteout

- Highlighter

- Stapler

- Three-hole punch

- Post-it notes

Course Outline
A. Chronological Order and Topics

1. Foundations of American Government: Origins of the Constitution

2. Political Behavior

3. Electoral Process

4. The Legislative Branch

5. The Executive Branch

6. The Judicial Branch

7. Comparative Governmental Systems

8. Practical Law

9. State and Local Government Structures

B. Methodologies and criteria for grading

This course will include varied techniques for instruction. These assignments will also be graded, with the total points available determining the weight for that particular assignment. These methods will include:

- Cooperative group work - Chart work - AV presentations

- In class assignments - Quizzes - Chapter Content Guides

- Lecture and discussion - Tests

Grading Policy
A. Grading Scale

A .......... 90 – 100 % B .......... 80 – 89 % C .......... 70 – 79 %

D .......... 60 – 69 % F .......... 0 – 59 %

Your nine-week grade will be based on a cumulative point system and the percentage of the total points earned. Total points available will vary each nine-week period.

The instructor reserves the right to modify the grading scale, on an assignment or test, as needed. There is no curve for the class.
B. Quarter weights

Quizzes = 30% Projects/Essays = 15% Tests = 35%

Homework = 20%
C. Semester weights

Quarter Grade ………. ……….40 %

Semester Exam Grade ………. 20 %
D. Tests and Quizzes

An average of two oral quizzes will be given for each chapter covered in class.

Each chapter will include a test. The tests will generally include 25 – 40 multiple choice questions and an evaluation of primary source information.
E. Essay Prompts

During each quarter, an essay prompt will be assigned. This paper will be 4-5 pages in length. In addition, there will be a requirement in sources, citation, and format. The requirements for each response will be given with the prompt.

F. Projects

Each quarter, a project-based assignment will be given. These projects may include any of the following: simulations, student made videos, posters, brochures, sketches, etc.

G. Make-up Policy

The following is from CCSD policy 5113, regarding make-up work. This is the policy that I will follow:

“After any absence, a secondary student is required to initiate contact with the teacher(s) to obtain appropriate makeup work within three school days immediately following the absence. Once contact has been made with the teacher(s), specific makeup work must be completed and returned to the teacher(s) within a reasonable length of time, to be determined by the teacher and communicated to the student/parent or legal guardian. The makeup work must be returned to the teacher(s) by the specified due date if it is to be acknowledged. Students shall be allowed a minimum of three (3) days to complete makeup work.”

In addition to the above policy, the following policies will also be enforced:

  • Arrangements will be made using a log book located at my desk. All assignments and/or arrangements will be tracked; this is for your protection as well as mine.

  • If you miss a quiz or test you may NOT make this up during class. You will have to come in before or after school.

  • Any assignment given prior to an absence is due the first day of the student’s return. Special cases will be accepted, but this is at the teacher’s discretion.

H. Citizenship Grade

Each quarter, you will be assessed a citizenship grade. Essentially, I will determine your level of citizenship as it pertains to this class. Things I will look for, in terms of determining your grade, will be:

- Interest in current events.

- Ability to connect the past with the present.

- A genuine interest in the material, as it is presented.

- A positive and productive attitude towards this class and subject matter.

The grade given for this section will be as follows:

- O = Outstanding

- S = Satisfactory

- N = Needs improvement

- U = Unsatisfactory
I. Notebooks

It is not my intention to check notebooks on a regular basis. However, I will “spot-check” students from time-to-time to ensure compliance. How you construct and use the notebook is your own choice. I believe you will find an organized and up-to-date notebook to be a useful tool for achieving success in this course.

Cornell Notes will be required for all in-class notes that you will take.

J. Homework


Homework will be given on a daily basis. This may include reading, preparing for a quiz, reviewing for a test, completing chapter content guides, or any other tool I may use at my discretion.

Point values and the category of grading will vary depending on the type and scope of the assignment.
K. Expectations on assignments

Spelling, grammar, neatness, and following directions are required on ALL assignments. Failure to adhere to these standards will result in a loss of points.

L. Extra Credit

It is not my general policy to offer extra credit. However, extenuating circumstances in the news (events, special occasions, etc.) may offer an opportunity to extend an extra credit assignment. This is at my sole discretion. Information will be given when appropriate.

Classroom Behavior and Expectations

As all of you are experienced at being in the classroom, all of you should know what is expected of you. However, here are some of the general rules pertaining to this class:

1. Show respect to faculty, staff, and other students at all times.

- This includes raising your hand to be called upon and not interrupting while others are speaking.

2. No racial or ethnic slurs, nor sexually suggestive language, will be tolerated at any time.

3. Be prepared to start class at the appropriate time.

- This includes having all of the appropriate supplies and assignments.

4. No unauthorized work on computers.

- This includes visiting websites that are deemed inappropriate by the school.

5. No food or drink is allowed in the classroom.

6. Students can only leave the class with a corridor pass.

7. No use of personal electronic devices (Ipods, cell phones, etc).

- There is absolutely no need for these in class, and they will be confiscated if found. This process is explained in the Student Handbook.

8. All of the other school policies printed in the Parent/Student Handbook will be adhered to at all time.

*Please Note*:

1. A-TECH employs a progressive discipline policy which can be found in the Parent/Student handbook.

2. Students will be expected to follow these policies at all times.

3. I will notify students of any changes, if necessary, to the general classroom rules.


Each case is different, but here is a general list of consequences for breaking any of the classroom rules.

1. Verbal warning

2. Rearrangement of seats

3. Conference with the teacher

4. Loss of Participation Points

5. Notification call to parents

*In severe cases, students may be referred to the Dean of Students*

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