American Government Syllabus

The Cleveland School of Architecture and Design

at John Hay Campus

2075 Stokes Boulevard     Cleveland, Ohio  44106

School Phone (216) 229-0100  School Fax (216) 229-0072


“The primary goal of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is to become a premier school district in the United States of America”


American Government


School Year:  2011-2012


Instructors’ Names: Ms. Sherlynn Allen-Harris



Instructor’s Hours: 7:50-3:20



Course Description: This course is an in-depth study of the purposes, structures and processes of political systems at the local state, national and international levels of government.


Course Supply List:


  • Dark Ink Pens (Blue and/or Black)
  • Sharpened pencils
  •  Spiral Notebooks (As needed for Journals)
  •  Pocket Folders (As needed for class notes)
  • Flash Drive (Removable Storage)
  • Loose Leaf Notebook Paper
  • 1 Box Colored Pencils
  • Recommended:  Pocket Dictionary/Thesaurus (may use teacher approved phone app)



Textbook Title: United States Government: Principles in Practice (Holt  

          McDougal, 2010)      



Textbook Website:   You will be provided with a user name and password so that you can use the textbook online.



Course Goals: Students will use knowledge of the purposes, structures and processes of political systems at the local, state, national and international levels of government to understand that people create systems of government as structures of power and authority to provide order, maintain stability and provide for the general welfare.


Course Objectives: By the end of the semester the students will:


  • Evaluate, take and defend positions about issues concerning the alignment of the characteristics of American democracy with the realities of the United States today.
  • Explain how the U.S. Constitution has evolved; including its philosophical foundations, amendments and interpretations.
  • Analyze the manner in which citizens participate in the election process in the United States.
  •  Use economic reasoning skills and knowledge of major economic concepts, issues and systems in order to make informed choices as producers, consumers, savers, investors, workers and citizens in an interdependent world.
  •  Use knowledge of the purposes, structures and processes of political systems at the local, state, national and international levels to understand that people create systems of government as structures of power and authority to provide order, maintain stability and promote the general welfare.
  •  Use knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in order to examine and evaluate civic ideals and to participate in community life and the American democratic system.
  •  Collect, organize, evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources to draw logical conclusions. Students communicate this information using appropriate social studies terminology in oral, written or multimedia form and apply what they have learned to societal issues in simulated or real-world settings.


Class Expectations:


John Hay Campus is more than a school—it is a community of scholars— and you are expected to conduct yourself in a way that reflects well upon your community. The best way to do this is to observe and respect the rules that govern our community and keep it a place where students are able to strive for excellence.


In this class, there are three simple rules—the “3 P’s.”  Students will be:


  • Prompt
  • Prepared
  • Polite




Class Procedures and Policies:


  • Students arriving late 1st Block must obtain a tardy pass from the Main Office.
  • Students arriving late during later blocks, must obtain a hall pass from the staff member who detained you.
  • Hall passes during class are limited and only given for emergencies
  • No Electronics!  Unless teacher approves for instructional purposes, any electronic device, seen or heard, will be confiscated and can only be retrieved according to school policy.



Additional Policies


Homework Policy


In the event of an excused absence, you will be given the opportunity to make-up work that was missed during your absence.  The time allotted for make-up work will be the same as the time allotted when the assignment was originally given (usually overnight).  Scholars are not to do make-up work during instructional time in class.


If your absence occurs when your cooperative learning group is presenting, you may be given an additional make-up assignment that will be due on the next school day.


Failure to Complete  Homework/Classwork


Since one of our rules is promptness, scholars are expected to complete all assignments on time. Failure to do so will lower your grade significantly or lead to a failing grade.  If you do not turn in your required assignments on time, you may turn it in the next day; however you will only receive half credit.




            A         100-93%

            B         92-85%

            C         84-75%

            D         74-65%

            F          64-0%


            I           Incomplete


Method of Evaluation: We will use a point system based on: tests, computer projects, journals, homework, class participation and a comprehensive final exam. In addition, there will be a major project that will count as 10% of your final grade.


Assignments:  There will be both individual assignments and cooperative group assignments. Scholars are expected to complete assignments as instructed (i.e., you do not share answers during individual work assignments). 


Tests/Quizzes: All testing requires students to do their own work.  Cheating

and/or plagiarizing will not be tolerated on any level. 


Year-long Project – This project counts as10% of your grade in either your first or second block class.


Projects: Occasionally, projects will be assigned with advanced notice. These require students to provide an oral, written or PowerPoint presentation of class material as it relates to “real-life” applications.


Participation/Attendance Requirements: Attendance is required!  If you miss a class it is your responsibility to cover the material from that class. Also, as part of a community of scholars you are expected to show your colleagues respect by actively participating in the learning.


Make-up Work:  You as the student are responsible for notifying the teacher of a missed test or assignment.  No make-up work will be given for unexcused absences.


Extra Credit: Extra credit should never substitute for engaged learning throughout the semester. However, if the student has been an active and conscientious member of our learning community throughout the semester, extra-credit may be offered. This will be at the teachers’ discretion and on a case-by-case basis only.


Disciplinary Policy and Procedures:  If students choose not to respect the rules and regulations of School of Architecture and Design at John Hay, the following protocol will be used:


1st Offense:   Verbal warning that will be documented.


2nd Offense:   Parent will be called and student will be assigned a Tuesday detention after school.  If the student cuts the detention, they will be assigned an office detention with his/her administrator.


Course Scope and Sequence


Text Assignment/Topic


Chapter  1  Foundations of Government


Chapter  2  Origins of American Government


Chapter  3   Federalism


Chapter  4   Congress and the Legislative Branch


Chapters 5&6 The Presidency and the Executive Branch at Work


Chapter  7    The Federal Courts and the Judicial Branch


Chapter  9    The Political Process


Chapter  12   Understanding Elections


Chapter  10   Civil Liberties


Chapter  11   Civil Rights


Chapter  13   Supreme Court Cases


Chapter  16    Comparative Political and Economic Systems





Note:  This schedule may be adjusted to reflect the individual learning needs of the students, and at the discretion of the instructor. Also, online content is integral to this course; therefore, consider where you will access a reliable internet connection.


The Cleveland School of Architecture and Design at John Hay requires all students to adhere to the rules and regulations set forth in the syllabus.  Students and parents are requested to sign in the appropriate spaces below having read the requirements of the outlined syllabus.  Please return to Ms. Allen-Harris by the following date: Friday August 26.







Signatures required for the Course Syllabus:


Student’s Name (printed): __________________________________________


I hereby state that I have read and agree to abide by the course syllabus.


Student Signature: ________________________________ Date: ___________

Parent name (printed): ______________________________________________


I have read and understand the expectations Ms. Allen-Harris has for my child.


Parent/Guardian signature: ___________________________ Date:_________  


Contact Numbers: _______________________________________________