• Course Title: American/Arizona Government

    Instructor Kathleen Szczepaniak, MA.Ed.

    Room 304

    School Phone 602-467-6843

    School e-mail Kathleen.Szczepaniak@dvusd.org                  https://sites.google.com/site/9szczepaniak/



    Course Description:

    This course will explore many topics about American & Arizona Government and Civics; as well as your own experiences with Civic Responsibility & Involvement. This course is a requirement for graduation. 


    This course is aligned with the Arizona State Standards which include the Common Core State Standards.


    Course Goals & Objectives:

    By the time the students complete this course of study they will know or be able to:

    • Foundations of government including but not limited to the historical foundations and philosophical foundations of the American political system, the purpose and role of government, and where government gets its authority
    • Structures and function of tribal, local, Arizona and other states, national, and international governments including but not limited to constitutional vs. non-constitutional governments, and how governments are organized, limits and powers of the legislative, judicial, and executive branch, and comparative governments
    • Institutions of the national government including but not limited to Congress, the President and the bureaucracy, federal courts; and institutions of the state government including the legislature, governor and the bureaucracy, and the state courts
    • Law-making process including the role of deliberation and compromise
    • Media, interest groups, and political parties including but not limited to the how these linkage institutions connect the people to government and shape political and social interests, the role of the free press in the American political system, the origin and role of political parties, the two-party system, the role of third parties in American politics, and the social, political, and economic positions of American political parties in history and the present day
    • Media Literacy including but not limited to roles of media, types of media, and media and consumer biases
    • Elections, voting, and voting behavior including but not limited to political socialization, creation of legislative and congressional districts, opportunities for participation, campaigns, types of elections including primary process and general election process (local, state, and federal), laws governing elections, voter turnout, and barriers to voting
    • Citizenship including rights, roles, and responsibilities of a citizen and the process for naturalization
    • Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
    • American political culture, values, and principles that are basic to American constitutional democracy and the republic such as individual rights, popular sovereignty, common good, patriotism, rule of law, freedom of conscience and expressions, privacy and civil society, justice, representative government, checks and balances, freedom of religion, civilian control of the military, and equality
    • Public policy including researching current issues or policies at the local, state, or federal level
    • Foreign Policy including but not limited to formation and implementation


    Units of Study Include:

    Unit 1: Foundations of American Democracy

    Unit 2: Institutions of Government

    Unit 3: Citizens in Politics

                 **This includes 10 hours of Community Service. Please see Semester Projects Module**

    Unit 4: Rights & Liberties


    Course Materials:

    It is recommended that you come to class with the following materials every day:

    •  2 or 3 inch ring binder
    •  Loose leaf notebook paper
    •  Blue or black pen or pencil
    •  Folder with pockets
    •  Textbook
    •  Online Computer & Internet Access


    Classroom/Course Expectations:

    •  Always be respectful and considerate of other people’s feelings and rights.
    •  Always come to class prepared and ready to work.
    •  Always give every task your best effort.
    •  Return all materials to the proper location at the end of each class.
    •  Pick up all trash and put it in the trashcan.
    • Attend All Zoom Meetings.


    Electronic Devices: Many students want to have the privilege of carrying electronic devices on campus. With that privilege comes the responsibility of ensuring that those items are not used on campus during class or on a bus. If students are found listening to music or texting in class or otherwise not fully engaged in learning, verbal warnings will be issued and written referrals for disruption of the educational process.  Misuse of electronic devices may result in disciplinary procedures in addition to the warnings and referrals.

    ID Card: Student must visibly wear I.D. card at all times while on campus or at any school activity for the safety and security of all students.

    Consequences for not following the above guidelines may include the following:

    •  Parental contact
    •  Detention before and after school
    •  Immediate removal from class
    •  Referral to the conduct office


    Grading: Miss Szczepaniak will have grades updated each Thursday by 12 noon as reflected on Powerschools. Please check your student/Parent Log-in often.


    Grading Scale

    A         90-100%

    B          80-89%

    C          70-79%

    D         60-69%

    F          0-59%


    Assessments, Tests, Quizzes                           40%

    Homework, Class work                                     40%

    Projects & Community Service                     20%

    Final Exam                                                        20%


    Final course grades are computed as 80% equaling the coursework done throughout the semester and 20% equaling the final exam portion of the grade.


    Test Retakes

    Students may retake quizzes and tests under the following circumstances:

    Every student has the opportunity to retake each test given in the school year. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule a retake. Retakes must be scheduled within one week of the day the original test score was given to the student.

    This retake policy does not apply to District or teacher created semester exams.


    If a student is absent from class it is their responsibility to obtain the materials they missed upon their return to class. Any student who is swept and wants credit for an assignment that is due must turn in missed work into the teacher the same day as sweep. It is the responsibility of the student to get any assigned material on the same day as sweep and turned in on the assigned due date. If a student is absent or swept on the day they are to present to class, they will forfit the opportunity to earn credit for the presentation.


    Make-up Policy:

    Students who have an absence, which is excused, have one day for each day absent to turn in missed work. Students who are marked unexcused will not receive credit for worked missed but will still receive feedback. See the student handbook for more information regarding excused and unexcused absences.

    An assignment, which is considered a long-term project, is due on the due date and time as stated when the long-term project was assigned.   Long-term projects may be turned in prior to the due date as well as parent/guardian may turn in at the front desk.


    Cases of cheating and plagiarism will be handled on an individual basis at the teacher’s discretion in accordance with the DVHS student handbook. While there are different ways to cheat or plagiarize, please be aware that activities such as sharing material, copying work, and posting information on the web are considered cheating. Those who give or receive answers will be held responsible for cheating.