• U.S. and VA Government Syllabus

                                                                                                             Mrs. Dorn



    Course Description

    This course examines the structures of government and the economy in the United States.  The balance and separation of power within U.S. government and the powers inherent to each branch and level of democratic values, and responsible participation in the community are stressed throughout the course.  The United States’ political and economic roles in the global community are also analyzed. Basic principles inherent in the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of Virginia, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and the Virginia Statue of Religious Freedom are examined and related to everyday life. 

    Main Topics:

    ·         What is Government?

    ·         Foundations of the American political system and the US Constitution

    ·         The US Constitution

    ·         Federalism

    ·         Citizenship and Civil Liberties:  Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities

    ·         The Election Process

    ·         Influencing Government

    ·         Organization of Powers of the National Government

    ·         State and Local Government

    ·         Comparative Governments and Economics

    ·         Practical Citizenship

    ·         The three branches of US Government: Legislative, Executive, Judicial


    Course Textbook

    Magruder’s American Government, William A. McClenaghan, Frank Abbott Magruder, Needham, Mass., Pearson/Prentice Hall 2006.


    Grading is in accordance with Social Studies Department guidelines for US/VA Government. Tests and quizzes are 80% and classwork/homework is 20%. Students grades will be posted in the online grade book on PARENTVUE. Grades are numeric not a letter grade. Therefore, if a 30 question assessment is given and the student answers 27 correctly, the grade will be 27. The online grade book assigns a numeric and letter cumulative grade based on all assignments/assessments that are recorded and posts them in the grade book. There are, however, some letter grades which can be posted. They are as follows:

    - X indicates the student is exempt from the assignment or assessment

    - Z indicates the work is missing or not turned in or the test or quiz has not been taken. The grade is therefore a 0.

    - S indicates the student was absent on the due date

    - L indicates the work was turned in late.

    - R indicates the absolute lowest grade that can be assigned which is a 50.


    Honor Code

    Each member of the class is expected to follow a code of conduct and the BWHS Honor Code that reflects a respect for the worth and dignity of all.  Absolutely no cheating or academic dishonesty will be tolerated.  No warnings will be given.  Any student involved in a cheating incident will be referred to administration. 

    Class Policies:

    1.  Mutual Respect.

    2.  Be on time.

    3.  Be prepared-- bring pen/pencil, 3 ring binder or folder, paper.

    4.  NO PHONES.

    5.  You are responsible for all assignments when absent. Classwork/homework and assignments will be posted on the Phoenix gradebook.

    Late work, missed work – Homework, classwork, assignments and projects not turned in on time will receive a grade of zero. However, students will be given the opportunity to make up most missed or late work and receive up to 70% credit by completing and turning in the work the next class period.  Afterwards, it will not be accepted for credit.  It is your responsibility to make-up a quiz or test ASAP. Tests and quizzes are expected to be made up the day you return to class.

    6.  NO PHONES.

    7. All work must be the student’s own. Downloaded or copied work will result in a zero. The Briar Woods Honor Code will be followed and the administration will be notified of any cheating.

    8.  When in doubt about behavior or class rules follow the BWHS student handbook.

    9. Food and Drink are permitted in the classroom as long as students are discreet and maintain a clean classroom.  Do not abuse the privilege.

    Contact Info

    The best way to reach me is through the school email which is susan.dorn@lcps.org. I will respond as soon as I am able. You can also call the school at 703-957-4400. I am available to meet with students at the beginning of the school day. I can also meet during the school day if prior arrangements are made. I am in Room 301 on A and B days.