Course Syllabus

Course Introduction and Expectations

U.S. History ACP


Erin Sullivan                                        Room: 418


Course Description:

Welcome to U.S. History ACP.  We will begin our study of American history with a thorough examination of the United States Constitution. In order to understand much of American history, it is important to understand the foundations of the American government. After this unit, we will explore the history of the United States from the Founding period through the present, moving through this information thematically.  In total, we will examine United States history through three themes: Democracy and Authority, American Foreign Policy, and Equality and Hierarchy 

Essential Questions for the year:

Throughout this year we will continually turn to the following essential questions and try to formulate thoughtful and analytical answers based on the knowledge gained through our various units of study:

  •       What is the relationship between the national government, state governments, and individuals?
  •       What motivated foreign policy decisions? To what extent did US foreign policy decisions further national security?
  •       What forces have made the United States legally and socially more inclusive?
  •       What has created economic opportunity? Is there economic opportunity for all?


Course Overview

Unit One: The Constitution

This unit focuses on understanding the structure and components of the Constitution.  This exploration of the Constitution will serve as a framework to learn about various topics we will cover this year.

Unit Two: Democracy and Authority: Striving for Balance between Democracy and Authority

This unit examines the increasing power of the federal government and the rights of the people in the United States. This theme will explore how the power of the federal government fluctuates at various times depending on circumstances, including the cultural and political climate.

Unit Three: American Foreign Policy

This unit examines the motives, methods and impact United States involvement in foreign affairs has had on national security.

Unit Four:  Equality and Hierarchy: The Struggle for Equality

This unit explores how different groups throughout history have experienced movement on the spectrum of full equality and being part of a rigid social/political/economic structure.

** All units will include elements that examine the shift from a laissez-faire government to a government that created a highly interconnected economic system by establishing relationships between government, business, labor, and people.  


In order for you to get the most out of class, it is extremely important that you are in class participating in discussions and cooperative exercises. In addition to being in class, it is important that you are on time and ready to work when the bell rings. Daily attendance will be taken and the school policy on attendance and tardies will be followed. If you are absent it is your responsibility to reach out to me via email to receive work you missed. Homework will NOT be posted daily on Canvas. 


As a junior, you can decide how to organize your notes, handouts, and assignments. I ask that you bring a notebook (or section in your binder), writing utensil, and the necessary reader to class each day.


Outside of class, I will communicate with you via your SCHOOL EMAIL. I expect that you are checking your school email. If you ever have any questions or concerns about homework/assignments/quizzes please feel free to email me. Do not expect a response if you reach out via Canvas.  I will respond within 24 hours but do not expect me to answer last-minute questions. If you are confused I expect you to still complete what you can. 

Grade Breakdown

Historical Thinking and Skills 50%

This part of your grade will focus on assessing important historical thinking skills.  It is where your summative/final work will be recorded. Assignments include research, creative assignments, Socratic seminar discussion and narrative & analytical writing. You will complete some of these assignments individually and some in cooperative groups. You can expect to complete 2 of these assignments per term.

Historical Content Understanding 25%

This part of your grade will assess your understanding of historical facts you will be expected to take a short quiz every Day 1 of the cycle.  There will be times when this scheduled quiz will be moved to another day of the cycle because of school-wide scheduling conflicts. You will receive advanced notice when these exceptions occur. The content for these quizzes will be taken from homework assignments, class discussions and activities. The best way to prepare for these short assessments is to thoughtfully complete your assignments, stay actively engaged in class, and review the material from the previous cycle. If you are absent the expectation is that you are taking the quiz the day you return to school even if our class drops. This means that you need to email and arrange a time to make up this work.  You cannot make this quiz up during class.

Student Accountability 25%- (Homework and Class Citizenship 12.5% and Accountability with Assignments 12.5%)

This part of your grade will reward you for the effort and conduct that you demonstrate throughout each quarter.

  • The Homework and Conduct section will be made up of homework completion and class conduct. You will earn full credit for homework assignments that are fully and thoughtfully completed by the due date.  You can make up missing homework assignments for partial credit if they are handed in before a new topic is introduced.
  • You will be assessed twice during the term on your class citizenship at the mid-term and once at the end of the term. This grade will be based on how reflective and thorough you are in your explanation. Click here to access the rubric for class citizenship
  • The Accountability with Assignments section will be based on your ability to hand in major Historical Thinking/Skill assignments on time and your timely completion of Historical Content quizzes if you need to make them up. If an assignment is late you will receive a 0 for accountability for that particular assignment.   

Extra Help:

My office hours are Day 2, Block B from 8:30-9:00 and Day 7, Block E from 12:30-1:00. In addition to these hours, my availability before and after school is fairly open, and you should always feel free to reach out to schedule a time if you need anything! It is my goal to help each student achieve his/her very best in this course.  I am more than willing to assist you with any aspect of this course and will do my best to ensure your success if you put forth your best effort.  Please feel free to talk to me if you have questions, concerns, or problems.  Remember: the Social Studies lab is a resource that can be used for assistance when writing papers, before a test, or on homework. Check the schedule for assigned periods.


August 28th  2019 Homework 

On a blank piece of paper answer the following questions

1. What is your name?

2. Do you prefer a nickname?

3. Do you enjoy learning about history? Why? Why not?

4. What has been your favorite part of learning history thus far at WHS?

5. What pronouns do you prefer I use when addressing you?

6. What is one (or more) fact I should know about you as a student? (i.e. You prefer to work with groups, you are a visual learner, you struggle with staying organized)











Course Summary:

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