Mrs. Smielewski


Students in Civics will have opportunities to work independently, and to collaborate. This one-semester deepens students' knowledge of government, focusing on national, state, and local governments in the United States. We will use discussion and writing to make decisions about matters of public policy. Students will investigate, analyze and discuss civic life in the U.S., as well as the role of the U.S. abroad. Students will strengthen their understanding of the legal rights and responsibilities citizens share.

Five questions will guide our study:

  • What are civic life, politics and government?
  • What are the origins and foundations of the American political system?
  • How does the government established by the Constitution function to embody the purposes, values, and principles of American constitutional democracy?
  • What is the relationship of the U.S. to other nations and its role in world affairs?
  • What are the roles of citizens in American society?

Course Materials

Each day, students should bring:

  • Notebook paper, loose leaf or spiral bound,
  • Folder or notebook to keep notes, works in progress, and graded work,
  • Pen, pencil, highlighter,
  • Text book, which will be provided.

Classroom Technology

We are very fortunate to have a classroom set of iPads available for our use on a daily basis. Students are expected to follow the Student Handbook, and to have a completed technology agreement on file. Students who violate the handbook or do not have an up-to-date technology agreement may be prevented from using the iPads. In addition, students will have to complete and have their parent/guardian complete an iPad agreement specific to our class. Students may not check out iPads to take home. Students who have their own device -- including iPas, SmartPhone, iPod Touch, iPhone -- will be permitted to use them, if desired, when the rest of the class is using iPads if they prefer. Devices should only be used in class with my permission, and may only be used for specific classroom. Games, social media, shopping, etc. are not allowed.


Students will have the opportunity for a variety of assignments, including written work that is turned in and graded, classroom participation and discussion. Written responses to CNN Student News current events must be submitted electronically via Edmodo. Students who do not have Internet access at home will have ample time in class to complete these if they use their time wisely.

LATE WORK: As a general rule, late work is not accepted. Students who are not prepared for class struggle to participate and find it difficult to catch up. However, emergencies do happen. Each student will be provided with ONE late homework pass per MARKING PERIOD. The pass, with an explanation for the late work, must be completed in full . Then the pass and late assignment are turned in together.

Students who have excused absences should turn in make-up work in accordance with the student handbook. This work is not considered late and does not require a pass.


40% assessment, including tests and large projects

15% concept checks, including quizzes and warm-up questions

35% assignment, which includes classwork, homework and small projects

10% participation, including classroom interactions, contributions, and Edmodo posts


Atherton has a wonderful electronic grade book that makes it possible for parents and students to check grades at any time. As a general rule, I post all graded work within 2 days of its due date. The parent portal for accessing grades and attendance is ParentVUE, which can be accessed at In addition, ParentVUE is available an an app for both Apple and Android devices.

Contact Information

Please remember during the day I am teaching and do not have access to a phone. While you are welcome to contact our main office and leave a message, the most efficient way to reach me is via email.

Signature Required

Print Student Name: _________________________________________________

Student Signature: ___________________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Signature: ____________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Phone: _______________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Email ________________________________________________

Does your student have Internet access at home (circle one) YES NO