Course Syllabus

United States History ACP

Syllabus: 2022-2023


Guiding Questions for the Year

The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal,” yet the United States has often failed to achieve such equality. How have individuals and groups sought to make America live up to the founding ideal that all people are created equal?

Units of Study 

The history department has organized the United States curriculum with a thematic approach. As a result, the content will not always go in chronological order. 

The United States Constitution: The first unit you will learn the structure, strengths, and weaknesses of the Founding documents ; The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution. This unit will introduce the foundational information that is necessary to analyze the complex history of the United States.

Democracy and Authority: This unit will look at the balance that existed (and still exists) between federal and state powers and the impact this balance has on those living in the United States.  

Foreign Policy: We will view the role of the United States on the international stage through the lens of United States’ immigration policies and trends over time. 

Equality and Hierarchy: This theme will explore how marginalized groups in the United States have used their own activism in order to obtain equality. It will also explore the policies created that allowed for groups to become marginalized. 

Standards-Based Grading

In an effort to foster a growth-mindset and facilitate an authentic learning experience, we use a standards-based grading model.  You will get feedback on each assignment you submit this year, but no A-F grade. Categories within quarters will be weighted differently throughout the year to recognize our increasing focus on higher-order thinking.

At the end of each quarter, your grade will be determined based on the extent to which you have met or modeled  the expectations of each standard.  I will update powerschool at regular intervals to give you a sense of how you’re doing overall, and you will always have access to feedback on each assignment on Canvas.

We will spend a few days at the beginning of the year reviewing this practice, and the philosophy behind it, in more detail. 


The Different platforms that will be used this year:


Only scholars have access to Canvas.


- In order to understand the skills you are understanding and the skills you need to work on you will use the Grades tab on Canvas. 


- All assignments will be uploaded to Canvas (unless decided otherwise). 


  • You can see your missing assignments by clicking on the grades tab and then clicking on assignments.

Feedback  (informal)


The purpose of feedback loops are for the scholar to better understand the skill they need to improve. At times feedback loops will be informal and can occur in class or on Canvas. 


It is imperative that you use the feedback in order to improve your skills. 


Therefore it is your responsibility to check your rubrics and assignments on Canvas to read the comments that I have provided. 


Remember: Using feedback is not simply “fixing the few mistakes that I point out”

Rubrics (formal)

 Rubric scores in Canvas are what will be used to determine the grade within the standard being assessed. 


-Will be divided into the 4 major Standards that the Social Studies Department has adopted. 


- The 4 standards  will be updated once a month.


-If I do not have evidence of learning approaching a standard, likely through non-submission of work, PowerSchool will show an Incomplete within that standard.


- Unresolved ‘Incompletes’ at the end of a semester within a standard will become a F when the school requires us to translate that ‘Incomplete’ to a fixed letter grade. 


-I encourage students and parents to have open conversations about the best way for your family to use PowerSchool.  It can be a great tool that can also sometimes distract us from our larger learning goals.  

Course Description:

This course will explore the history of the United States through four major themes that include striving for balance between democracy and authority, the struggle for human equality and U.S. foreign policy. We will also explore the Constitution at the beginning of the year to provide a foundation for better understanding the principles that guide the U.S.


Class Expectations:


  • Your attendance is essential to being successful in this class. I expect you to be in the room and prepared when the bell rings. If you are late and do not have a pass you will be given an unexcused tardy. If you miss class it is your responsibility to contact a classmate or myself to obtain any notes, assignments or handouts. I also abide by the attendance policy described in the Student Handbook.
  • I am available for extra help in the mornings and after school. Appointments may also be made at mutually convenient times. However, I do not stand on formality. Please feel free to meet with me whenever you need help, clarification on an assignment or simply want to talk. My door is always open for students!Part of my role as your teacher is to give you support at any point. I welcome visitors!

Thematic Essential Questions:

Unit 1: The Constitution

This unit addresses the framework of the Constitution.

  • In what ways does the Constitution limit the power of the government to make change?
  • What are the characteristics of the U.S. government set forth by the Constitution? How do these processes work?

Unit 2: 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 U.S. This theme will explore how the power of the federal government fluctuates at various time depending on circumstances, including the cultural and political climate.

  • How has the relationship between the national and state government evolved over time?

Unit 3: U.S. Foreign Policy

This unit examines the motives and methods of United States involvement in foreign affairs.

  • Assess the costs and benefits of American foreign policy on the rest of the world.
  • To what extent has the motivating factors of American foreign policy (i.e, isolationism, ideology and practical interests) sacrificed American ideals?

 Unit 4: 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.

  • Through what mechanisms have marginalized groups gained greater de jure (legal) and de facto (practical) equality?


Course Summary:

Date Details Due