• 2020- 20201 Mrs. Verna’s

    8th Grade Social Studies Syllabus

    Welcome to SMS 2020-2021 school year! 

    Teacher: Meara Verna 
    Room: 208
    Telephone: (480) 279-8500
    Email: meara.verna @husd.org

    Teacher Page: https://www.husd.org/Domain/4338


    My Hours:   

    • Remote Learning: 8AM - 3PM M-F 
    • On-Campus Learning: 8:55AM-3:55PM M-F
    • Tutoring Time Remote Learning- Wednesday 8:00- 12:00 or by scheduled appointment
    • Tutoring Time (On CAMPUS): 8:25AM - 8:50AM- Tuesday.  3:55PM - 4:25PM, Thursday or scheduled by appointment.  
    • *Tutoring hours are upon request and must be prearranged by the student and teacher. 

    Remote Learning Supplement

    Information of Significance


    Welcome to remote/Virtual learning at Sossaman Middle School.  As you work through materials, your teachers Canvas page and this new experience, please know we will do our best to support you.   Please keep in mind though you meet your teacher on 2 occasions weekly, you should be checking Canvas daily for assignments and work that is posted.   All work can be seen in your modules and you can check weekly (Week at a Glance) what is happening.

    Remember, Spartans believe in accepting challenges and believe in accepting a growth Mindset. 


     Required Supplies

    By Monday, 8/3/20, all students need to have the following supplies to use while learning at home:

    • Laptop with Internet connection.
    • Microphone for virtual meetings (many PCs are equipped with microphones)
    • Webcam for virtual meetings (many PCs are equipped with webcams)
    • Dedicated comfortable place to work for approximately 3-5 hours per day
    • 1 subject notebook for each class; supplemental supplies may be required.  See teacher syllabus for these

    If you are still in need of a computer, please contact us by phone at 480.279.7011 or email.


    Participation in class discussions as well as virtual meetings is expected.


    Online Attendance Policy

    All students who attend classes remotely must post a minimum of two substantive posts each week for each class. They may include but are not limited to the following:

    • Graded assignments  
    • Practice activities  
    • Responses to online discussions  
    • Emails to teacher for assistance


     For those that cannot attend virtually, please be sure to view Canvas later in the day to complete any work assigned for this class. If class was recorded, it will be posted in Canvas as well. 


    Student Code of Conduct applies in both a virtual setting as well as during remote learning.   Please be aware,  behavior expectations are created in the virtual classroom and will be supported by administration.   We strive to provide the most positive interactions with students and appreciate your ability to follow through with our school motto of respect and accountability. 

    Things to Consider

    • 8-11 am will be meeting times for face to face interaction with your teachers and peers. You could have u 1-2 hours of work to complete after virtual sessions. Find a comfortable and quiet place to work.  
    • In class, teachers could supply brain breaks. When you are working on assignments, you could add those in for yourself to help focus.
    • Manage your time. Assignments will be posted with due dates, map out for yourself what you will do and when you expect yourself to complete each task.  Be as proactive as possible with assignments and asking for extensions.
    • Ask for help- use your district email or attend office hours so your instructor can support you.


    What you can expect from your teacher


    • A reply to your questions within 36 hours (except weekends)
    • Clear and concise instructions
    • Feedback that helps you in the process of learning and reaching mastery
    • Flexibility and Grace


    Social Studies Course Description: Based on Higley Unified School District standards as well as the Arizona Department of Education Academic Standards and the Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards (AZCCRS). 

    Course Goals:  

    • The goal of the course is to build content knowledge of Social Studies in order to develop a more well-rounded, civics-orientated student body that can analyze concepts which directly impacted our current society in order to build leadership skills. 
    • Students will analyze documents and conduct expository writing tasks based on the Arizona Department of Education Academic Standards and Arizona’s College and Career Readiness Standards (AZCCRS) to enhance reading and writing skills. 
    • Topics for this course include: Government and Civics, Social Issues and Movements, Human Rights and Global Terrorism, Media and Financial Literacy.

    Social Studies Textbook:  

    Holt McDougal’s United States History. ALL textbooks are kept in class. Students may also check out a hard copy of the textbook from the Sossaman Media Center. 


    HUSD Standard:  

    • Student grades will be based on 80% assessments and 20% assignments (remote & in-person class). The 80% assessments include: 60% Social Studies Assessments, 10% HUSD Semester DBQ Final Assessment and 10% HUSD Semester Multiple-Choice Final Assessment.  

    SMS/HUSD Standard: 

    • Sossaman Middle School utilizes a modified 50% minimum grading policy. Any assignment submitted by a student that is accepted by a teacher will receive a minimum grade of a 50%. A teacher has the discretion to accept or to not accept assignments from students that do not meet minimum standards of quality academic workmanship and completion.  
    • On all assessments given by a teacher, there is no minimum grading policy. Students will receive the score they earned on the assessment. 
    •  Any assignment that has not been submitted or that remains incomplete at the end of the unit of study will be entered as or remain as a “0” in the grade book.  

     Everything we do may be subject to a grade and is to be done to prepare for the future, build necessary skill for high school and becoming a responsible citizen.  

    Academic Dishonesty:  

    • Per the code of conduct academic dishonesty is defined as intentionally using information from or property of another without permission to obtain an unfair advantage or receive a grade or score that was not legitimately earned. This includes cheating and plagiarism and will not be tolerated. Any instance of academic dishonesty will result in a failing grade and parent contact. Further incidents will be addressed per the code of conduct.  

    Online Grade Book:  

    • The Higley Unified School District uses an online grading system. Parents and students can gain 24-hour access to grades using Higley AppParentVue, and StudentVue. Smartphone users can download the Higley App in order to monitor student grades. Please contact the front office for access codes (ParentVue/StudentVue Apps required). 
    • Online Grade Book Comment Codes:  

    Missing – The assignment/assessment is missing/ never received.

    Incomplete – The assignment/assessment was not fully completed as per the directions.  

    Late – The assignment was turned in late, within two-week window. There is no penalty for late work; this code is for documentation purposes. 

    Modified- The assignment/assessment was changed or altered to adhere to IEP standards. 


    Grading Scale:  

    90% -100% = A     80% - 89% = B     70% - 79% = C     60% - 69% = D     59% or below = F  

    Unit Assessments:  


    Each Social Studies unit will conclude with a unit assessment, which is designed to assess student learning based on the HUSD 8th Grade Social Studies Standards.



    Study Guides:

    Prior to each unit assessment a unit review/ study guide will be provided to students.  Students will be required to fully complete the unit review prior to taking a unit assessment. Students who do NOT to fully complete the unit review will NOT be permitted to complete the assessment, will receive a ZERO and will have to schedule a time with the teacher to complete the assessment. 

    Assessment Retakes:  

    Sossaman Middle School and I encourage students to retake assessments where students feel they have performed below their desired level of mastery.   

    Criteria for retakes and redo opportunities: 

    • The Social Studies Department states that in order to be eligible to schedule a retake ALL work for the unit must be complete including the study guide.  
    • ALL retakes/redo’s need to be completed in a 1-week window from the date that the assessment was originally given.  
    • ALL retakes/redo’s will be a different version than original.   
    • If a student should choose to retake/redo, they will need to fill out the SMS retake form, have teacher specify the mastery activity, have parents sign off and return to teacher. 

    Document Based Question (DBQ) Grading Scale:  10-point proficiency scale as follows:  

    10 = 100%     9.5 = 95%    9 = 90%    8.5 = 85%    8 = 80%    7.5 = 75%    7 = 70%     6.5 = 65%  6= 60% and so on.


    Remote/Classroom Expectations and Management Plan:  

    All HUSD policies outlined in the Code of Conduct will be honored and enforced. Parents and students are strongly encouraged to review the conduct together. The Code of Conduct can be accessed at http://www.husd.org/cms/lib08/AZ01001450/Centricity/Domain/740/CodeofConduct.pdf or by using the Higley app or see Quick links on Canvas Homepage.  Students are also expected to meet the class “Expectations” each day.  

    A failure to meet expectations will result in the following classroom management plan procedures:  

    • 1st Violation: Verbal Warning 
    • 2nd Violation:  Parent Conference with Student  (Behavioral Corrective Action Plan (CAP)) 
    • 3rd Violation: Administrative Referral  

    The Expectations:  

    1. Be Respectful, Accountable, and Responsible for your actions.
    2. NO Food, Drinks or Gum (Except H2O).
    3. Cell Phones MUST be in your Backpack, either off or on silent mode. 

    *Students who do not have cellphone on silent mode or stored in their backpack will have cellphone confiscated until the end of the school day.  Student may retrieve all cellphones from the front office. 


    After School Detention (ASD):  

    Sossaman Middle School staff and administration believe in the value and importance of teaching our students responsibility and accountability. As a result, students may be assigned After School Detention (ASD).  Students who are assigned ASD will serve on the next scheduled ASD day. Students will not serve on the day it is assigned in order to allow parents the opportunity to make arrangements to pick up their child. District transportation cannot be provided for ASD. Students will need to be picked up no later than 4:30PM. ASD may be assigned by a teacher for the following reasons:  

    1. Tardy to Class.  
    2. Unprepared for Class.  
    3. Failure to submit an assignment/homework by the assigned due date.  

    The ASD program is not primarily meant to address behavior issues in the classroom. However, a teacher may utilize lunch detention, after school detention and hold student/parent conferences in order to address inappropriate behaviors in the classroom. These consequences are not related to the ASD program and will be accompanied by communication from the classroom teacher.  


    Student Absences: 

    Absences may occur throughout the school year. In the event of an absence, students will be given the same number of days he/she missed in order to make up any missed assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to check in on Canvas, with the Teacher, and in the “Absent Bin” to inquire about any missed content, assignments, assessments, etc. This must be completed either before/ after class NOT during instruction time. 

    Absent Bin: 

     It is be setup with folders labeled by calendar day, 1-31.  Inside the folder of the corresponding absent day will be a copy of the following information (if applicable):   

    • Lecture Notes (class copy, must not leave the classroom) 
    • A blank copy of any:  Assignments, Foldable, Worksheets, Project Information Sheets, DBQ readers or Historical Documents. 
    • “While you were out...” Sheet summarizing what they missed. 


    The following materials will be used consistently in Social Studies:  

    • Pencils & Pens 
    • Notebooks- 1 per semester (spiral preferred)  
    • Highlighters (4 various colors)  
    • Glue sticks
    • Charged computers/iPads
    • Ruled Lined Paper  
    • 3-Pronged Plastic 2-Pocket Folder  
    • Ear buds
    • Optional Items: colored pencils, markers, scissors, ruler 
    • Donated Items: Tissue paper, Hand Sanitizer, Disinfectant Wipes, Colored Copy Paper  

    Restroom Pass/Drink Pass:  

    Students have a 3-5 minutes passing period between each class and a 30-minute lunch period in order to use the restroom, get a drink and fill a water bottle. Students will not receive permission to use the restroom, get a drink or fill up a water bottle during instructional time unless approved by teacher. Students will be provided a Semester 1 and a Semester 2 “Restroom/Drink Pass” that will allow students to use the restroom or get a drink 5 time each semester.



    In order to communicate with parents and students, I will contact you directly with the use of Canvas, telephone, or email throughout the school year.  The best way to contact me directly is via email through Canvas. Please be sure to add "student's name and class hour" in subject line.   

    • When communicating via email or phone, please allow for 48 hours for a response.  Your patience is appreciated.  Each students’ individual educational needs are important to me, but keep in mind I have over 140 students and their families to communicate with and there is just one of me.   
    • In case of an emergency at home, parents are asked to contact the front office/administration directly first and not the student on personal cellphones.  This will ensure the quickest form of communication makes it to the student and will also alleviate the students constant need to check cellphones during instructional hours. 

    Please complete the Syllabus Acknowledgement/ Agreement Form on Canvas.

    Syllabus material will be gone over in class during the first week of school.  Paper copies are available on request.