Course Syllabus & Expectations

  • 11th Grade United States History and Government Syllabus

    Mr. Fitzgerald/Ms. Ritch 


    “History is not about dates and quotes and obscure provisos.  History is about life, about change, about consequences, cause and effect.  It’s about the mystery of human nature, the mystery of time.  And it isn’t just about politics and the military and the social issues, which is almost always the way it’s taught. It’s about music and poetry and drama and science and medicine and money and love.”

    - David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author


    Course Description:  This year we will be studying subjects and themes from the beginning of the American colonies until present day using various activities and methods.  While this class ultimately concludes with a New York State Regents exam, the class will not be centered solely on this exam specifically as the course’s goal is for students to gain a better understanding and appreciation of United States History.  Students will be able to connect the material covered to current events and their own lives to increase understanding and relevance.

    Course Outline:  The following units will be covered during the year

    -          Foundations of American Society & Government

    o       Colonial America, The American Revolution, Creation of American Democracy   

    -          The Constitution Tested

    o       The Birth of a New Nation

    o       Social Reform, Westward Expansion, Road to Civil War

    -          Industrialization of The United States

    o       Reconstruction

    o       Rise of American Industry & Labor

    o       Urbanization & Immigration

    -          Progressive Reform Movement

    -          Prosperity & Depression

    o       WW1 & Prosperity

    o       The Great Depression

    -          US In Age of Global Crises

    o       Peace in Peril (1933 – 1950)

    o       Containment and Consensus

    -          Civil Rights Movement

    -          Decade of Change – The 1960s

    o       Vietnam War, Feminist Mvt, Warren Court, Native American & Latino American Mvts, 

    -          The Trend Toward Conservatism (Limits on Power 1972 – 1975)

    -          Approaching the Next Century


    Materials:  Students should have a 1-2” binder and a notebook.  All students will receive unit packets that will require them to complete class work & homework textbook assignments, DBQ’s, current events & extra credit.  It is very important that students keep these safe.  Additional copies can be generated & made available on the class webpage.


    Texts:  The primary textbook for this course will be “The Americans”.  This textbook is provided by the school district.

    Conference/Help Periods:  Students are always welcome to come to the teacher with any questions or to receive extra help.  I can be reached most efficiently through email & and encourage you to ask any questions you may have.  I will also be available during 3rd period every day.  Students are also welcome to schedule a meeting with the teacher before school, during lunch, or after school.


    Attendance Policy:  In accordance with school policy students are expected to be in class each day on time unless there is a valid, legal excuse.  When possible the student should notify the teacher of an absence ahead of time so the student can be made aware of what they will be missing.  Students who are absent are expected to either check the class website while they are out of school, or come to the teacher when they return, to find out what they have missed and to obtain any material or assignments.  It is the student’s responsibility to come to the teacher after an absence to see what they have missed and to get assignments.


    Grading Policy

    Final Exam Clip Art Clipart

    Students’ grades will be based on the following criteria:

    -        Tests/Quizzes                    50%

    -        Essays & Projects              25%

    -        Homework                        25%

    -        Extra Credit                 5%


    There will be numerous extra credit opportunities for students.  These assignments will be specifically designated by the teacher or the student may present possible assignments (i.e. reading a book about a topic in American History and writing a report or having a discussion about it with the teacher)  Extra credit assignments will be available to all students but will only impact positively the grades of those who show a consistent effort in this class.­­­­­­



    Classroom Behavior & Expectations


    You are a member of a community of learners.  For any community to thrive, certain concepts must be embraced.  In our community, I expect the following general behavior of all students:


    -          RESPECT:  

    -          All students will respect themselves, their community members and their learning environment.

    -          READINESS:

    -          All students must attend class everyday and ready to actively participate in daily activities.

    -           RESPONSIBILITY:  

    -          All students must accept responsibility for themselves and their actions.