Ms. Emerson's Classes‎ > ‎Civics‎ > ‎

Course Overview/Syllabus


Course Title:  Civics                                                   Credits:  0.5

Teacher:  Ms. Emerson                                  Department:  History

Contact Information:  (802) 476-4811 x2213,


Course Description:  This course relates to government and citizenship, specifically in the United States.  Throughout the semester we will investigate the foundations of government, at the federal, state and local level.


Topics/Areas of Study/Units of Study:

Unit 1:  Citizenship

Unit 2:  Federal Government

Unit 3:  State Government

Unit 4: Forms of Local Government

Unit 5:  Project Citizen


Essential Questions: 

Unit 1:  What does it mean to be a citizen?  What are the rights, duties and responsibilities of citizenship?  What civic values are essential to being American citizens?

Unit 2:  What is the purpose, structure and function of the federal government?  What are the roles and responsibilities of each of the three branches as defined by the United States Constitution?  What is the role of a citizen at this level?

Unit 3:  What is the purpose of a constitution and what unique features does the Vermont Constitution hold?  What is the purpose, structure and function of state government?  What is the role of a citizen at this level of government?

Unit 4:  What is the purpose, structure and function of government at the local level?  What is the role of a citizen at this level?

Unit 5:  What is the role of a high school student as a citizen in their community (be it school, city/town, state, etc.)



 Various readings provided throughout the course.

Course Expectations:

 Beginning class:

When the bell rings, you should be in your seat in the classroom, quietly awaiting the start of class.

 Arriving late to class:

If you are not in the classroom when the bell rings you will be considered tardy.  Your first tardy will result in a 5 minute teacher detention, for each tardy thereafter, 5 minutes will be added to your teacher detention (for example, on the fourth day you are tardy you will serve a 20 minute detention).  All teacher detentions are expected to be served on the same day as the infraction.  You are tardy if you arrive in class after the bell has rung without a pass.

 Ending class:

You will regularly have time at the end of class to finish up that days assignment, pack up and get ready for your next class; however, you must remain at your seat until the bell rings.

 Keeping a notebook:

It is in your best interest to have at least a 1” three ring binder dedicated to this class.  All worksheets, notes, handouts, etc. should be kept in this notebook.  It is in your best interest to keep your notebook neat and organized.


All assignments and their due dates will be posted on the wall and will be written on your bi-weekly syllabus and on my web page.  Completed assignments should be easy to read, neat, fully completed and turned in on time.  If an assignment is late, points will be deducted (10 points per day late).  Late homework must be within three days of its being assigned unless there are mitigating circumstances, all other assignments (class work, projects, etc.) can no longer be turned in for credit once the unit test for that particular work has been given.  If you need extra time for assignments, please talk to me about it before the due date.  Homework assignments are expected to be turned in directly to me at the start of class, unless otherwise instructed.


For every handout there will be extra copies made.  The extra handouts will be placed in the metal bin on Ms. Emerson’s desk marked Civics (room 213).  Please let me know if you have a need for any handouts due to misplacement or an absence. If all of the extra copies of the handout you need have been taken, understand that I will need additional time to copy extras to fill your request.


Your grade in this class will be calculated based on the grades you receive on class work, tests, projects, homework assignments and your final exam.  You are expected to complete a term paper and read a novel as part of this course.

 Obtaining extra help:

Whenever you need extra help, please do not hesitate to come to talk to me.  I will help you or give you resources that may help you.  I am available during morning block and after school until 3:05.  I can usually be found in my classroom, room 213, or in S36, the copy room.  

 Moving about the room:

You may leave your seat to sharpen your pencil, use the garbage, obtain a Kleenex and acquire materials as long as you are not disruptive.


You are allowed to consume beverages in class, as long as they do not become disruptive to the class or leave a mess.  All beverages that are brought into the classroom must have a lid or cap and cannot be in glass bottles.  You will not be allowed to go to the cafeteria during class time.

 Leaving the classroom:

Students with a sincere need may use the bathroom during class.  A pass is required to leave the classroom, for drinks and bathroom visits a pass will be located in the sign in/ sign out binder.  For visits to the nurse’s office or other specific places, an individual pass will be required.  Please ask politely if you find yourself in need of such a pass!


Excused absences:  When you miss part or all of a class, it is your responsibility to turn in any assignments that were due the day you were absent (including lesson starters), get any new assignments, and copy any notes that were given. It is extremely important that you meet with me during morning block or TA of the first day you return so that I may help you get caught up.  I will not use class time to explain what you have missed.  You will have one day for every missed day to turn in assignments.  You will have two days for every missed day to make up a test.  You will be dropped from the class after 10 absences.

Unexcused absences:  When a student misses a class without an excuse he or she will not be able to make up any test, quiz or class work that was given on that day.

Predetermined absences:  Although I cannot guarantee that I will have materials for you, it would be very helpful if you notify me when you know that you are going to miss a class.

Leaving class early:  A pass from the office is required to leave class early.  Please notify me that you will be leaving early before class begins.  It is your responsibility to find out what you missed while you were out.

 Disruptive or inappropriate behavior:

Disruptive or inappropriate behavior is disrespectful to everyone in the classroom and will not be tolerated.  Students who choose to disrupt the class or act inappropriately will be given a teacher detention.  If the student chooses to continue this behavior they will be asked to leave the classroom and an incident report will be filed.  Please note that cell phones and other electronic devices are not to be seen or heard during class.  Any device that is seen or heard during my class will be confiscated and turned over to the Assistant Principals.