Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 3: Public Policy & the Federal Budget  
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Workshop 3

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Lesson Plan: Context

Leslie Martin teaches the two-semester, ninth-grade freshman seminar course on economic, legal, and political systems at West Forysth High School in Clemmons, North Carolina, where she has taught since 1998. Prior to 1998, she worked in industry—as a senior consultant at Competitive Solutions, Inc., in Raleigh, North Carolina; assistant vice president at Integon Insurance Corp., in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and an associate at Eli Lilly and Co., in Indianapolis, Indiana. Leslie Martin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Stanford University, a Master's of Business Administration from Duke University, and a Master of Education degree from Wake Forest University’s Master Teacher Fellow Program. In February 2002, she was named Outstanding High School Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the North Carolina Social Studies Council. She is a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certified teacher.

West Forysth High School is located in a suburban area near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The school has an enrollment of 1,700 students and a campus with 10 permanent buildings and several temporary classrooms. The school was established in 1964 and has undergone many changes over the years, both in size and leadership, as the community has grown and the grades served by specific schools have shifted. New residential development continues to bring new students from many different backgrounds into the ever-changing student population. The school offers both regular and honors programs. Technologies such as hypermedia, interactive software, and the Internet are available to both teachers and students.

At West Forysth High School, civics is taught at three different levels: standard, honors, and freshman seminar, which is the class seen in the program. The freshman seminar is an honors-level class, specifically designed for the highly gifted, self-motivated student, and emphasizes independent thinking. The curriculum, while following the standards established by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, focuses more heavily on independent research, group work, and group and individual presentations than do non-honors courses. The course covers two semesters, one on civics and American government and the other on economics. The economics portion deals with such basic concepts as supply and demand and monetary policy. The civics portion is a history of how the Constitution was created and what impact the various areas of government have on our lives. An overall goal of the course is to help the students understand the interplay between the government and the economy. The lesson in the program is a culmination of what the students have learned over the entire year. The course text is United States Government, Democracy in Action (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1998).


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