US Government Syllabus (2017-2018)

Course Description:

In United States Government, students examine the operation of major American institutions such as the presidency and the executive branch, the Supreme Court and lower courts, and the United States Congress. Study in the course also focuses on the functions of bureaucracy, the roles of the political parties, the actions of interest and advocacy groups, and the impact of mass media. Students also discuss civil liberties, civil rights, civil responsibilities, and public policies.


Standard Enduring Understanding
USG-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of foundational political theory, concepts, and application. To appreciate the governmental system of the United States, citizens must understand the nature and purpose of government in general. An understanding of basic political ideas allows nations to organize and structure the institutions of government in the most effective, logical manner. Understand and evaluate basic governmental function, organization, and effectiveness.
USG-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of foundational American political principles and the historical events and philosophical ideas that shaped the development and application of these principles. As it exists today, the United States Constitution is a product of numerous influences that were critical not only to its inception but also to its evolution over time. The principles set forth in the Constitution serve as the framework upon which United States government was established and on which it operates today.
USG-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the basic organization and function of United States government on national, state, and local levels and the role of federalism in addressing the distribution of power. The organization and structure of government at national, state, and local levels in the United States is based upon principles established in the U.S. Constitution. The most fundamental aspects of organized government within the United States are the distribution of power, oversight, and responsibilities that function to limit the ability of any one institution of that government to concentrate power.
USG-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of civil rights and civil liberties, the role of American citizens in the American political system, and distinctive expressions of American political culture. An informed, participatory citizenry is essential to the American political process. Understand what it means to be an American citizen.


Topics Covered in Class:

The pacing guide is subject to change at individual teacher discretion.

Chapters Unit Essential Question Tentative Major Assessment(s) SC State Standard(s) Tentative Dates
Foundations of Government What is the purpose of government and what principles guide the different types of government? Chapter 1 Test USG 1.1 - 1.6 1/4 - 1/12
Origins of American Government What were the influences that shaped the American government? Chapter 2 Test USG 2.1 - 2.5 1/16 - 1/19
The US Constitution How does the US Constitution structure government and divide power? Chapter 3 Test Project USG 3.1 -3.2 1/22 - 1/26
Structure of Congress What is the structure of Congress? Chapter 5 Test USG 3.3 - 3.4 1/29 - 2/2
The Presidency What is the powers and roles of the president and how have they changed over time?  Chapter 9 Test USG 3.2 2/5 - 2/9
Choosing the President  What are the structure and functions of the executive branch? Chapter 10 Test USG 3.2 2/12 - 2/15
Political Parties How does the two-party system influence American democracy? Chapter 17 Test USG 3.2 2/19 - 2/23
Voting and Elections What factors influence voters and election campaigns?   Chapter 18 Test USG 4.1 - 4.6 2/26 - 3/2
Public Opinion and Interest Groups In what ways can public opinion affect government policy? Chapter 19 Test USG 1.4 and 3.2 3/5 - 3/9
Cumulative Review What have we learned? Final Exam

Cornell Note Project 

all 3/12 - 3/14


Honors Classes:

At the end of every unit Honors Classes will have a project due that incorporates what you’ve learned in that Unit, projects units include brochures, timelines, poems, letters, news articles, news interviews, posters, board games, and video skit.

Textbook and Materials:

  • Textbook: United States Government: Our Democracy (McGraw-Hill)
  • Chrome Book (Google classroom) (ConnectED)
  • Three hole punched one subject note book


Curriculum/Instructional goals and objectives are consistent with the South Carolina Social Studies State Standards. Each student is expected to:

  • Complete reading assignments
  • Complete Homework assignments
  • Participate in class discussions
  • Be on time to class
  • Come to class prepared
  • Give 100% effort
  • Respect everyone!

Make-Up Work:

Make up work is the responsibility of the student and is required within 5 days of an absence unless extenuating circumstances deem more time is necessary.  All missed assignments will be keyed into the grade book with a 0 until the work is made up.  Test grades below a C may be re-done after the student has received additional tutorial help by Mr. Parks.

Assessment Policy:

  • Students are expected to complete assignments by the due date assigned by the teacher.
  • In the event of a missed assignment, it is the student’s responsibility to proactively communicate with the teacher in order to make up the assignment.
  • Prior absences do not exclude a student from taking a test on the day it is given.
  • Test make-ups must be arranged with the teacher promptly.
  • Every effort will be made by the teacher to supply the students with the knowledge, resources, and opportunity to succeed in this class. Ultimately, success depends on the student’s desire and willingness to achieve.

Grading Weights:

Daily Classwork                        10%

Homework                                 10%

Quizzes                                        30%

Test/Projects                              50%

Grades will be maintained in PowerTeacher and can be accessed through the Parent Portal on the CCSD website at If you have any questions or concerns about grades, please to contact me directly via email as soon as the concern arises.

Class Rules

  • Sit in ASSIGNED seat BEFORE the bell rings.
  • Eliminate ALL side comments and conversations.
  • Use RESPECTFUL language.
  • Electronics à Turn them OFF and put them AWAY.
  • Only have food and drink when ALLOWED by the TEACHER.


1st offense                  verbal warning

2nd offense                 student/teacher conference

3rd offense                  parent contact

Additional offenses will be handled with an administrative referral.

Tardy Policy

A student that is not inside his/her classroom when the bell rings, is considered tardy.  A student is expected to be in class and ready to begin work at the beginning of each instructional period.  Refer to Early College tardy policy


Approved devices can be used in schools as an assistive technology tool, but must be in the “off” position and not be displayed for use during the school day from bell to bell, unless otherwise specifically allowed by a staff member for a specific instructional purpose. Student devices are allowed under the direct supervision of school faculty and staff for guided instructional purposes.

Cheating Policy

Each offense will result in an administrative referral. The first offense, the student will be retaught expectations and will re-do the work, with the maximum grade being a 60%.

Any further offenses result in a 0 for the assignment/assessment