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Class Policies and Expectations for AP Government

Instructor:   Ms. Salisbury                                                        Email:  tsalisbury@portageps.org

Google Sitetsalisbury.site.portageps.org                                 Voicemail:  323-5308     Room:  2124                             


AP Course Description:

This course will give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires intimate familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics. Students will become well acquainted with the variety of theoretical perspectives and explanations for various political behaviors and outcomes.


Course Expectations:

This course provides the type of academic rigor that will serve all students well for their collegiate experience.  The expectations for this course are high and the rewards will be commensurate for those willing to put forth their best effort.  All students are expected to engage with course concepts both inside and outside of the classroom.  For those seeking to earn college credit by taking the AP examination, the time commitment outside of class is significant.  


Course Schedule:

 Unit 1 – Foundations of American Democracy (Chapters 1-3)
 Unit 2 – American Political Ideology and Beliefs (Chapter 6)
Unit 3 – Political Participation (Chapters 7-11)
Unit 4 – Interactions Among the Branches of Government  (Chapters 12-16)
Unit 5 – Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (Chapters 4 & 5)

Textbooks and Other Materials:

·        Edwards, George C. Government In America: People, Politics, and Policy (AP Edition), Pearson Education, Inc. 13th edition, 2008.

·        Selections from Ladd, Everett C., and Serow, Ann G. The Lanahan Readings in the American Polity, 4th Edition.  Lanahan Publishers, Baltimore,       2006.

·        Students will receive photocopies of readings and/or will be directed to electronic sources in order to supplement the textbook and in-class instruction.

·        Students are required to read the newspaper either in hand or online on a regular basis. Newspapers and computers are available to students in the media center before, during, and after-school. 

·        A US Government and Politics Exam Review Book is strongly suggested, especially for those taking the AP exam.  See this page for a list of popular titles.      

·        Use of a dedicated binder or folder and notebook for the class is strongly suggested and encouraged. 


Google Site:

Important course information and certain materials will be posted on our class website.  To view uploaded contents on the site, you must first log in to Google using your Portage account credentials. 


Classroom Policies:  

Please abide by the following policies as well as those located in your student handbook:   

1.  Respect yourself:  Maintain a positive attitude and uphold a high standard of integrity.  Engage and challenge yourself!

2.  Respect others:  Value diversity of opinion.  Be an active and considerate participant in our classroom. 

3.  Respect the learning culture:  Come to class prepared, on time, and ready to learn! 


Personal Electronic Devices:

It is expected that students will bring their Chromebooks to class each day, although these devices should be stored until permission to use them has been given.  Cell phones should always be silenced and stored out of sight.  Any device use must be consistent with our school electronic device policy (see handbook), and must maintain fidelity to the purpose for which permission was granted.  Failure to abide by our classroom or school policies will result in an administrative referral on the first offense, and may also result in the suspension of device privileges in our classroom indefinitely.   


Academic Integrity:

In our first week of class, we will review school policies and classroom policies relating to academic dishonesty.  You are responsible for understanding these policies and abiding by them.  All incidents of academic malpractice (including but not limited to cheating, collusion, and plagiarism) are taken very seriously and will be documented with administration.  See the school handbook for more specific information.  


Grading and Evaluation:

All grades for the course will be assigned to one of the two following categories:  Assessment or Responsibility.  The assessment category includes but is not limited to tests, quizzes, papers, and projects and will be given a weight of 70%.  The responsibility category includes participation based assignments like homework, in-class discussion, and notebook checks.  Anything assigned to the responsibility category is given a weight of 30%.  

Students should keep all assignments.  Grade changes will not be made without access to the original assignment.  Additionally, assignments will serve as a review tool at the end of the semester. 

Extra credit is not a planned component in this course.


Make-up and Late Work Policy:

In the event of an excused-absence, it is the responsibility of the student to inquire about make-up work.  This should be done outside of class time.  Students will not be given credit for make-up assignments submitted after the extension deadline.  If an absence is unexcused, the student will receive a zero for any assignments missed. 

One 24 hour, no questions asked extension will be granted to every student each semester.  This extension may only be used on individual homework assignments that, when incomplete, will not disrupt the daily operation of our classroom.  Examples of situations where a 24 hour extension will not be granted include, but are not limited to, group projects, standardized tests, and individual presentations.  If the assignment was due on a Friday, the student must submit the assignment by email within the 24 hour extension period to waive the late penalty.  Students must request an extension in person before or after class on or before the due date.  A student may not withdraw his or her request once an extension has been granted.

Any assignment turned in after the due date without an approved extension will be subject to a point deduction.  If turned in one day late, the student will earn a maximum of 75% credit on the assignment.  Assignments turned in two to four days late will receive a maximum of 50% credit.  Assignments will not be accepted for credit beyond four days late. 


The AP Exam:

 The AP United States Government and Politics examination is given in May each year.  The exam offers students an opportunity to earn college credit.  Success on this examination requires faithful study and a significant time commitment outside of class to learn those concepts that were not explicitly covered during in-class instruction.  For more information about the AP United States Government and Politics examination, visit http://student.collegeboard.org/