Bartlett High School

Civics Syllabus

1st Semester, Fall 2013-14, Periods 4,5,8

Instructor: Larry Pahl

Phone: 630-372-4700 extension 4093

Free Period: 3 Lunch Period: 7 Cell: 630-400-5132

Home phone: 630-550-4111 E-mail: 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”. Robust democratic activity is not an innate characteristic of the human species. Functioning democracy depends on knowledge and learned behavior. 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. 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.

C. Understand election processes and responsibilities of citizens.

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

Foundations of Government 5. Governmental structure

Active Citizenship 6. The U.S. Constitution

Political Beliefs 7. The Illinois Constitution



Textbook: Hart, Diane. Government Alive! Power, Politics, and You. Palo Alto, CA. TCI. 2009

Mr. Pahl’s Constitution Study Guide

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 in the following class rules. These rules are also framed in harmony with the principles of the “Fish Philosophy”

All members of the class will show respect for all other members of the class. (Make their day!)

All students will attempt to do their best in class. (Choose your attitude)

Students will attempt to help other students do their best in class. (Be there!)

These rules assume that the main purpose of this course is for education, for learning. Therefore, every student in the class should be attempting to do their best.† That is the academic expectation.† The behavioral component is that each student should be helping other students do their best.† Talking without being recognized by the teacher, fooling around, disturbances, sleeping, laying one’s head on the desk, non-responsiveness, disrespect, are all examples of actions that are out of step with all three rules.

Consequences. Before and after school detentions, referral to the deans, conversations with parents are the consequences that will follow infractions of these rules, not to mention the natural negative consequences which result from failing to live up to an elevated personal and academic ideal.


Grading Scale. This class will use the following grading scale, which will then be modified to fit the new U46 0-5 scale:
90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, 0-59=F

Basis for class grade.† The final grade is determined by the total points earned in all assignments and assessments. These will include daily homework assignments, class participation, a legislative simulation, group work, writing assignments, computer lab assignments, the Constitution exam and a semester final. Mr. Pahl reserves the right to give zero credit when two or more homework assignments come in about the same. (copying), no matter which person may have actually done the work without copying. Grades will be communicated to students through Mr. Pahl updating weekly the grades recorded, by student ID number, on the class website,

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 of a subject, and bring to light new insights.

Extra Credit Policy. †No extra credit will be allowed while the student still has class assignments not yet

completed.† If all required assignments have been turned in, any student desiring extra credit can arrange for it

with Mr. Pahl. The rubric for points to be issued for any approved extra credit work will be issued at the

time Mr. Pahl approves the extra credit request.

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.†

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 the

school disciplinary system.


The class website can be found at Class information, announcements, syllabus

and other important information can be found there.

This class will also make weekly trips to the computer lab, with definite assignments. Inappropriate behavior, including anything from being off task to abuse of lab equipment will be met with appropriate discipline. The misuse of the lab by some may cause the privilege to be lost for all.