Course Outline

Course Outline


This course is designed to allow you to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to become responsible and effective citizens in an interdependent world. Young citizens need a practical understanding of the systems of government and economics that directly impact their lives. This course is designed to provide such a framework. Students will develop an understanding of the basic principles of American democracy, the practices of American government as established under the Constitution and as carried out today, and basic concepts of American politics and citizenship. Topics of study will include: the origins of American government, the Constitution, Federalism, the three Branches of Government, the Media and Public Opinion, Campaigns and Elections, and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Key Supreme Court decisions will be analyzed and discussed in terms of their impact on the lives of all Americans. During the second semester, important concepts in economics and personal finance will also be covered: the US economic system, Goods and Services, Personal Finances, Economic Challenges, and Career Choices. This course will include an emphasis on current events and issues rather than just a theoretical look at these topics.


Course Materials


We will use the textbook United States Government, 2018 edition, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In addition, there will be a supplemental packet of Economic materials distributed later in the year. Because this is an Accelerated course, you should also expect substantial additional readings (both primary and secondary sources) as appropriate to each unit of study. A variety of videos, both documentary and fictional, will also be featured throughout the course. Because current events will be such an important element, it would be wise to get an online subscription to a major news source such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal.




The course will be graded on an “all total points” basis. There will be homework most nights, which will be critical not only for your grade but also for your ability to participate effectively in class discussion. It is critical that you come to class prepared every day, as you can expect to be called on daily. Your ability to contribute will depend on you doing your homework. There will be a quiz at the end of each chapter and a test at the end of each unit.







You are expected to have a notebook for this class alone. It can be a separate notebook  or a section in a larger, multi-subject notebook. Either way, notes are to be taken daily. Class notes are to be taken by hand.






I will maintain a calendar on Schoology with all assignments and quiz or test dates. Because of this, you will be expected to keep up with your assignments even when absent. This will be the primary means of communicating class news, changes of assignments, etc. You are expected to check Schoology on a daily basis. Textbook Your textbook is primarily to be used for homework. You will need to access Schoology for all assignments. All of the articles and handouts that I used to print and distribute on paper will now be accessed online. You will submit all homework via Schoology (all regular nightly homework, that is: projects or other special assignments may have different directions). If I am ever absent, I will normally communicate your daily assignment via Schoology. You should also have a set of earbuds with you—there will be times when I ask you to view a video on your Chromebook and use earbuds for the audio.