Don Gifford is the Educational Program Consultant for History, Government, and Social Studies Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education
Over the past two years, the Kansas State Department of Education has focused on improving the civic engagement opportunities provided to the children of our state.
Step one toward this goal is the creation of the Civic Advocacy Network Award Program that will launch this fall.
The Civic Advocacy Network Award will be given to Kansas elementary, middle, and high schools who demonstrate that they are providing outstanding civic engagement opportunities to their students. The criteria for the award is based on the “Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning” identified by the Educational Commission for the States and their National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement. These six practices, when implemented, will encourage the development of a strong civic engagement culture in our schools.
Proven Practice #1:
Provide rigorous instruction in government, history, law and democracy.
- Regular focused social studies instruction helping students to make connections to the school, community, state, and world they live in.
Proven Practice #2:
Incorporate discussion of current local, national, and international issues and events in the classroom, particularly those that young people view as important to their lives.
- Structured, discussions about topics interesting to the students and relevant to the school and/or community.
Proven Practice #3:
Design and implement programs that provide students with opportunities to apply what they learn through performing community service that is linked to the formal curriculum and classroom instruction.
- Learning that begins in the classroom and spills over into the community or learning that begins in the community and spills over into the classroom.
Proven Practice #4:
Offer extracurricular activities that provide opportunities for young people to get involved in their schools or communities.
- Teams, clubs, and career technical student organizations (CTSOs) that collaborate with local public and human service agencies to create “experiences” and “transformational moments.”
Proven Practice #5:
Encourage student participation in school governance.
- Students participate in a variety of ways: student council, youth advisory boards, and department committees. Students will take action when given the opportunity to make change that is important to them.
Proven Practice #6:
Encourage students’ participation in simulations of democratic processes and procedures.
- School wide votes and surveys, Local, State, or National voting simulations like Kids Vote, Boys State, Girls State, Model UN, Mock Trial, Youth Court, We The People, Project Citizen, and others.
Look for regional information sessions to be held this fall, applications will be due June 1st, and the winners notified next August. Winners will be invited to Topeka for an awards ceremony on Constitution Day – September 17, 2018.
Get more information about the award and more civic engagement resources to assist you at the KSDE Social Studies page.
If you have questions on how your school might get involved, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.