NHS Designs
Graphic Design Syllabus

[Printable PDF file of this syllabus]

Welcome to NHS Designs!

While you are in our design room, consider yourself an employee of an exciting new design company. I’ll train you and evaluate your learning, but sometimes you’ll train yourself or another student. As you gain more training, you’ll gain the confidence to take on projects for real clients.

I will teach you how to be a professional. You will work hard, but expect to have fun too!

Basic Information


Dawn Pedersen



Contact Me:

Phone: 916-641-4960, ext. 2202

About Mrs. Pedersen

This is my second year teaching design at Natomas High School. I have worked as a teacher for five years. I have also worked as a graphic and web designer for seven years, studied art-making and art history for countless years, and have enjoyed making art my whole life. I love teaching art and design. My goal is for everyone to find something inspiring, interesting, fun, or new. I look forward to learning from and being inspired by you too.

Lab Fee

There is a $15 lab fee for this elective class. Please pay cash only at the bookkeeping window. Show me your receipt. KEEP that receipt so you don’t need to pay twice if records are lost.

How Will I Be Graded?

Grading is done on a semester basis: we start fresh again in the spring semester. Students’ grades will be based on:

  • lessons (25%)
  • design projects (25%)
  • quizzes (20%)
  • final project (20%)
  • professional conduct / good behavior (10%)

I will use the standard final grade breakdown:

  • A   90-100% (outstanding)
  • B    80-89% (above average)
  • C   70-79% (average)
  • D   60-69% (below average)
  • F    59% or below (failing)

How Will the Design Projects be Graded?

Whenever possible, I will provide rubrics for each design project that tell you what I expect for Exemplary, Proficient, Partially Proficient, and Incomplete work. I consider three main things in evaluating student’s design work:

  • Effort (visible in the work and/or demonstrated in class; spend quality time on your work!)
  • Creativity (how original your work is)
  • Following Directions (did you explore the assignment as given?)

How Will My Behavior in Class Affect My Grade?

Professional Conduct is worth ten percent of your grade! Each student starts with 50 points per week. If your behavior in class is a problem, it will reduce your Professional Conduct grade for the week.

How Do I Make Up Missing or Incomplete Work?

You are expected to keep up with lessons and projects in class. You will be given a generous amount of time to finish them. Late or incomplete work can be turned in during the same quarter for a lower score. If the work is late due to an excused absence, you will have one extra school day per day of excused absence to complete it without a reduction in grade. On occasion I will have an open lab after school to allow for the completion of class work.

Class Dismissal

I dismiss you from class, not the bell. Make sure you have cleaned up your area and returned any supplies to their storage containers.

What Are My Responsibilities?

Since everyone learns about design here, everyone is considered a designer. Get used to thinking of yourself that way! My job is to teach you professionalism in addition to design skills. We do have rules:

Design Room Rules

  1. Be safe.
  2. Don’t prevent me from teaching.
  3. Don’t prevent others from learning.

Refer to the Student Handbook in your planner for school-wide rules.

What are the Consequences of Poor Behavior?

If you have forgotten one of the school or design room rules, I will give you a verbal reminder. Willful or repetitive poor behavior can result in one or more of the following consequences, depending on severity:

  • parent contact
  • a seat change
  • reduction of your “professional conduct” grade
  • loss of privileges and/or materials
  • an in-class detention
  • an extra assignment
  • clean-up duty
  • an administrative detention
  • an office referral

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