P2/4 (Sem 1) Civics

No law is quite appropriate for all.  ~Titus Livy

Civics Syllabus, 2016-2017

Mr. Brown


Voice Mail: (510) 788-0702


Course Description: Civics encompasses a study of the American government system with emphasis on the US government and its institutions. Topics covered will include the following: the basic legal system of the US; political affiliation, participation, and the voting process; executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, and individual rights. Some time with be spent covering international forms of government and state government structures. Class discussions, lectures, simulations, and problem solving through individual and group projects will be the dominant modes of instruction. This course is required for all seniors.

Objectives:  This course should be viewed as the culmination of the civic literacy strand that prepares students to vote, to reflect on the responsibilities of citizenship, and to participate in community activities. Through the activities and lessons in class, students are expected to become learners who are:

  1. Self Directed Learners

  2. Critical Creative Thinkers

  3. Effective Communicators

  4. Responsible Citizens

This course will be divided into three 6 week marking periods:

You will have an opportunity to earn between 1.5 and 2 credits per marking period.

You need to earn 5 credits to complete this course and be eligible for graduation.

Unit 1 Civic Duties

Unit 2 Foundations of American Democracy

Unit 3 Constitution: Legislative and Executive Branches

Unit 4 Constitution: Judicial Branch

Unit 5 Political Parties & Media

Unit 6 Comparing Political Systems

Unit 7 Tensions in a Democracy

Unit 8 State and local Government

Grading:  Will be assigned on a standard 90%, 80%, 70%, 60% scale.  Your marking period grades will be running point total of all assignments in that 6 week time frame.  Semester grades are a total of the three MP grades (MP1 + MP2 + MP3 = Sem1 grade).  

Your overall grade will be the calculation of 3 categories of equal value (33% of your grade, 0.5 credits):

  1. Participation (10 points per week)

  2. Homework / Classwork

  3. Assessments (tests, quizzes, essays)

Attendance:  Your attendance will affect your participation grade. Tardies will result in a loss of points: -2 point for 1st tardy of week, an additional -2 points for 2nd tardy of week, an additional -3 points for 3rd tardy of week.  Each unexcused absences will result in -5 points as well as not being able to make-up missing work.  

Make-Up Work from Absences:  You must make up missed work within the number of days that you were absent. It is your responsibility to keep track of assignments via the class website. It is also your responsibility to contact me immediately about make-up quizzes and test.

Incomplete Work:

Each assignment has both a due date and a deadline date. The deadline date is the absolute last day an assignment can be turned in. The deadline date for all assignments will be the end of the Marking Period the work was assigned. As long as the work was completed by the deadline date, students can earn full credit, but no score higher than a 70% as a consequence of missing the due date.

Students who do not complete work by the due date are required to complete an Incomplete Assignment Form.  Completing this form will help me to understand if you need additional academic support or if you need help managing your time.


Cheating & Plagiarism:  Cheating on any assignment will result in a zero for both parties involved. It will also result in two detentions and an "unsatisfactory" Marking Period grade for participation. All instances of cheating will be reported home and to the principal. The following scenarios are considered cheating: copying someone’s work, asking another student for answers, providing answers to others, sharing information about a test to another class or classmate.

In summary, I hope you see that I appreciate those who show up on-time and get their work done with purpose and integrity.