Bartlett High School Civics Syllabus
Mr. Pahl


2016-17, Periods 3,5,7, 8

Instructor: Larry Pahl

Phone: 630-372-4700 extension 4093 E-mail:

Free Period: 1 Lunch Period: 6 Cell: 630-400-5132

Blog: Web site:


Civics, or political science, is the social science concerned with the question of how people govern themselves and their interaction with their political environment. Civics is a semester course required for graduation in School District U46, offered in the senior year. The course emphasizes the decision making process of American democracy and explores some of our major social problems. Topics examined in depth include national, state, and local government, our political party system, the processes of political behavior, and responsibilities of citizenship. This course is most important to senior students since they are able or nearly able to participate directly in our democracy (age 18). The state-required examination on the Constitution of the United States, Constitution of Illinois, Declaration of Independence, and the proper display and respect of the American flag is administered in this course. It is a graduation requirement that students pass this test with a score of “70” or higher.


  • To help students meet

  • a. the goals of the Social and Emotional Learning Standards for late high school students in Illinois

    b. Goal 14 of the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Studies.

    c. The objectives of the U-46 Civics Roadmap.

  • To help students successfully master the basic principles of the US and Illinois Constitutions.

  • To expand students’ understanding of the formation of public policy and their responsibility to influence it.

In the U.S. we are beneficiaries of a stable democracy. The virtues of a stable democracy don’t magically grace nations. Picture the civil war which took place in Iraq, and the uprisings known as the “Arab spring”. People did not want dictators, but when they overthrew them, democracy did not arise. Egypt is being ruled by its military now. Robust democratic activity is not an innate characteristic of the human species. Functioning democracy depends on knowledge, learned behavior and civic “grit.”. In recent years, civic learning in American schools has been marginalized, and two-thirds of 12th-graders scored below "proficient" on the last national civics assessment, according to retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. It will be one of the main purposes, then, of Civics at Bartlett High School to strive to educate students in their civic responsibilities, and the profound heritage of individual liberties of which they are beneficiaries as Americans. I am proud to have helped Bartlett High School become the first Democracy School in America, and to have been appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Civics Education, so I can help realize these ideals in a wider setting. The formal goals below will be utilized to help achieve the noble ends stated above:

STATE GOAL 14: Understand political systems, with an emphasis on the United States.

    A. Understand and explain basic principles of the United States government.

    B. Understand the structures and functions of the political systems of Illinois, the U. S. and other nations.

  1. C. Understand election processes and responsibilities of citizens.

  2. D. Understand the roles and influences of individuals and interest groups in Illinois and the United States.

    F. Understand the development of United States political ideas and traditions.

These Common Core Literacy Standards for upperclass Social Studies:

  • RH.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • RH.11-12.8. Evaluate an author’s claims and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.

U-46 Civics Roadmap Content Areas

  1. Foundations of Government

  2. Active Citizenship

  3. Political Beliefs

  4. Elections

  5. Structure of the US Government

  6. US and IL Constitutions

  7. The U.S. and the World


  • Students in Civics are placed in a blended learning environment.  Each student is issued a computer and expected to take personal responsibility in working through the class content. Students choose group work-partners to help accomplish class assignments. Much of the content is provided to students by video podcasts created by Mr. Pahl. There is also direct teaching.  Mr. Pahl provides personal support to students as they have questions on course material. Students are given the choice of different levels on which to reach the objectives and standards of the course.


  • Textbook: Hart, Diane. Government Alive! Power, Politics, and You. Palo Alto, CA. TCI. 2009
  • Mr. Pahl’s Podcasts
  • A Civics notebook to take notes in, do required assignments and to prepare for the Constitution test.

    Bartlett High School’s theme of “mutual respect” is the governing concept for class expectations. It is expected that all members of the class will show respect for all other members of the class. (Make their day!) It is also expected that all students will attempt to do their best in class. (Choose your attitude) Another expectation is that all students will attempt to help other students do their best in class. (Be there!) Mr. Pahl's specific class rules are simple:

    1. Do not put your head down on the desk.  If you are tired and need to sleep, ask Mr. Pahl for a pass to the nurse.

    2. Do not talk when Mr. Pahl is teaching.  This is a practical rule based on common courtesy and mutual respect.  Mr. Pahl is being paid to teach the class. Questions and discussion are appropriate. There is opportunity in the class for Banter, chatter, and personal conversations, but these are not appropriate when teaching is taking place.


    This course is using MARKS: an updating, in-progress grade which will be displayed in Infinite Campus

    What can I expect to see in Infinite Campus?

  • You will see that each assignment is characterized as either†Formative†or Summative.†Formative†assignments are homework assignments that help students understand the course concepts.†Summative†assessments are mostly traditional tests at the end of teaching unit to see how much students have learned.

  • How will grades be determined for the course?

  • The formative assignments count for 40% of the final grade, the†Summative assignments count for 50% of the final grade, and the†final exam†counts for 10% of the final grade.

  • What is the homework philosophy/policy for this class?

  • Homework is an essential part of student cognitive growth and character formation.

  • Are there any other grading policies that students and parents should be aware of?

  • Students can redo assignments and tests by making arrangements with Mr. Pahl.

  • Work Expectations. The following considerations are used to grade every assignment which is turned in to Mr. Pahl:

    1. Coherence. Does it make sense?

    2. Accuracy. Are answers and statements correct?

    3. Neatness. Is what is presented done neatly? Is it free from smudges and cross outs?

    4. Timeliness. Is the assignment turned in when it is due?

    5. Creativity. When used in appropriate ways, individual creativity can demonstrate personal understanding, and bring to light new insights

    Accepting Late Work, Make-up Policy.

    • Our department policy is that work will be accepted up to 5 days late. If a student is absent, it is that student's responsibility to find out what work was missed.† Because many of our units in Civics are “flipped” I will often allow work to be turned in that is more than 5 days overdue.

    Attendance Policy. District U46 is committed to the philosophy that “Daily attendance, contribution, and participation are necessary for the successful completion of student course work."

    Honesty Policy. Students who are caught cheating will have the assignment they cheated on listed as “cheated” in the Infinite Campus grade listing. If a student cheats repeatedly, parents will be called and the matter will become one for theschool disciplinary system.


    • The class website can be found at Class information, announcements, syllabus and other important information can be found there.