JMLP Summer Institutes Train Teachers in Civic Education

Jul 13, 2017 / E-news, James Madison Legacy Project

James Madison Legacy Project summer institutes are in full swing this summer, engaging teachers in civics-oriented professional development courses across the country. Our week-long workshops serve teachers from schools serving high-needs populations in the We the People curriculum that encourages civic engagement and an informed citizenry. These institutes are part of a larger initiative to enhance the knowledge and skills of civics and government teachers who are steadfast in promoting student achievement across the nation.

JMLP Florida Summer Institute participants in the Florida Legislature Committee Hearing Room where they conducted their simulated congressional hearing

JMLP Florida Summer Institute participants in the Florida Legislature Committee Hearing Room where they conducted their simulated congressional hearing

JMLP sites provide either the traditional We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution professional development course or the Center’s new blended-learning variation of the traditional model. This new blended model provides participants with an interactive online course facilitated by educators trained in the curriculum.

Participants interact with lawyers, judges, state and local representatives, and professors of law, history, and political science who provide expert knowledge to our teacher/students. These guest speakers bring context and real-life experiences in their respective fields to make the content even more engaging. In Florida, for instance, participants worked with Justice Lawson of the Florida Supreme Court and regional directors for Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. One group of JMLP teachers in Virginia visited James Madison’s Montpelier, a plantation house of the Madison family to see colonial history up-close and outside of the classroom.

JMLP VA-MD-DC-WV Summer Institute visiting the Montpelier grounds in Virginia

JMLP VA-MD-DC-WV Summer Institute visiting the Montpelier grounds in Virginia

The blended model also includes videos featuring experts from across the country discussing topics that correlate with the We the People curriculum. All of the summer institutes conclude with a simulated congressional hearing where teachers work in teams to research and prepare testimonials about a unit of the textbook. They answer questions related to their assigned topics, displaying the knowledge and critical thinking skills that they have developed through the summer institute.

No matter the model implemented, JMLP teachers come away with more content knowledge and strategies to help them feel confident about using the We the People curriculum in their classrooms. If you participated in a JMLP summer institute, check out our Flickr page for more photos.

Civitas Bosnia and Herzegovina Holds Democracy Summer Camp

Jul 06, 2017 / Civitas International Programs, E-news

Nearly 400 students, teachers, trainers, and young artists gathered in Brcko, Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Civitas five-day summer camp from June 28 to July 2, 2017. Civitas BiH, the Center’s Civitas International Programs partner, organized the event, which included educational workshops, games and sports, and musical and artistic courses.

The democracy summer camp is the final Civitas BiH activity of every school year, and the camp is co-hosted by the Public Affairs Bureau of the United States, the Brcko mayor’s office, and the Brcko Department of Education. Drew Giblin, the U.S. Embassy attaché for culture and education, opened the program with Professor Senad Osmanovic, a Civitas alumnus and head of the Brcko Government Office for Education, and Professor Stjepan Marcetic, Brcko Mayor Advisor for education.

The camp held educational classes, artistic workshops, and games for its participants.

The camp held educational classes, artistic workshops, and games for its participants.

The program was designed for students at all educational levels. For example, elementary school students attended a class on the prevention of social exclusion, a cooking workshop, and a healthy food course. High school students attended a class on youth entrepreneurship and visited the Brcko Port. Students of all ages participated in art-making activities where they created 22 short films on local government policies for social inclusion and empowerment of local businesses.

This year’s camp also held workshops for art, dance, and acting as part of the camp’s Art Corner. Young professional artists, actors, and dancers led artistic workshops for all students and at the end of the camp, students performed Dance for Activism choreography of the Radetzky March.

Civitas BiH was founded in 1996 as an initiative of the Center for Civic Education, the United States Information Agency, and the Council of Europe. The organization works to educate and inform the young people of Bosnia and Herzegovina about democratic principles so that they may actively engage in their government. The 2017 summer camp is just one example of their highly effective youth development programs. Among others, Civitas BiH hosts and develops youth democracy camps and homestay exchanges, lessons on interculturalism, and a Project Citizen program.

Almost 400 students, teachers, trainers, and young artists gathered in Br?ko, Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Civitas five-day summer camp from June 28 to July 2, 2017. Civitas BiH, the Center’s Civitas International Programs partner, organized the event, which included educational workshops, games and sports, and musical and artistic courses.
The democracy summer camp is the final Civitas BiH activity of every school year, and the camp is co-hosted by the Public Affairs Bureau of the United States, the Br?ko mayor’s office, and the Br?ko Department of Education. Drew Giblin, the U.S. Embassy attaché for culture and education, opened the program with Professor Senad Osmanovic, Civitas alumni and head of the Br?ko Government Office for Education, and Professor Stjepan Marcetic, Br?ko Mayor Advisor for education.
The program was designed for students at all educational levels. Elementary school students attended, for instance, a class on the prevention of social exclusion, a cooking workshop, and a healthy food course. High school students attended a class on youth entrepreneurship and visited the Br?ko Port. Students of all ages participated in art-making activities where they created 22 short films on local government policies for social inclusion and empowerment of local businesses.
This year’s camp also held workshops for art, dance, and acting as part of the camp’s Art Corner. Young professional artists, actors, and dancers led artistic workshops for all students and at the end of the camp, students performed Dance for Activism choreography of the Radetzky march.
Civitas BiH was founded in 1996 as an initiative of the Center for Civic Education, the United States Information Agency, and the Council of Europe. The organization works to educate and inform the young people of Bosnia and Herzegovina about democratic principles so that they may actively engage in their government. The 2017 summer camp is just one example of their highly effective youth development programs. Among others, Civitas BiH hosts and develops youth democracy camps and homestay exchanges, lessons on interculturalism, and a Project Citizen program.

2017: The Year Ahead

Jan 04, 2017 / E-news, Message from the Center

We here at the Center for Civic Education could not be more excited for 2017 and all it will bring. Most notably, 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the We the People program; an extraordinary landmark that we could never have reached without the continued support of the civic education community. As the state-level We the People hearings take place over the next three months, students and coordinators should know they are participating in an extra-special year. Be on the lookout for more information about this anniversary in the months to come. Read the rest of this entry »

Justice Sotomayor Visits Colorado Students

Nov 07, 2016 / E-news

By Ryan Adams, Aurora West College Preparatory, Colorado James Madison Legacy Project Participant

On Friday, September 2, fifteen students from Aurora West College Preparatory Academy had a rare opportunity to interact with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as a part of the John Paul Stevens lecture series at the University of Colorado Law School. Before Justice Sotomayor gave a public speech, she interacted with about two hundred high school students for over an hour. Read the rest of this entry »

Milwaukee Project Citizen Class Tackles Tough Issues at Hmong American Peace Academy

Nov 07, 2016 / E-news, Project Citizen

In only his second year of teaching Project Citizen, Michael Hanley at the Hmong American Peace Academy in Milwaukee showed that he is an excellent teacher. In an eloquent video and article from the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, Hanley explains that he believes “each child, no matter where they are from or what ethnicity they are, should have access to a high quality education.” Read the rest of this entry »

Take the Preamble Challenge This Constitution Day!

Sep 12, 2016 / E-news

Celebrate Constitution Day with the Center for Civic Education and the Civics Renewal Network! Sign up to take the Preamble Challenge, a nationwide celebration on September 16, and access the Civics Renewal Network’s free online Teacher Toolkit. Read the rest of this entry »

Matt Strannigan Receives Making Democracy Work Award in Wyoming Supreme Court Program

Sep 12, 2016 / E-news

Matt Strannigan, state director of the Wyoming We the People program, is the recipient of the 2016 Making Democracy Work award, given by the Wyoming League of Women Voters. Read the rest of this entry »

ConSource Offers We the People Primary Sources Correlation and U.S. Constitution for Kids

Jan 25, 2016 / E-news

Looking for a quick and easy way to read the primary sources mentioned in the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution textbook? ConSource has created correlations linking lessons of the We the People text with primary sources available at ConSource.org. Read the rest of this entry »

James Madison Legacy Project Holds Launch Meeting in Los Angeles

Nov 24, 2015 / E-news

A launch meeting for the James Madison Legacy Project was held on November 6-8 in Los Angeles. The project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, will bring high-quality professional development in civics and government to 2,025 teachers serving more than 202,500 high-need students nationwide. Read the rest of this entry »

We the People by Judge Leonard Padilla

Sep 09, 2015 / E-news, We the People

“What procedural due process rights should be granted to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay?”

Usually, as a workers’ compensation judge, I’m not called upon to ponder such issues. My mind tends to be focused on impairment ratings, modifiers, and disability. Today, however, I’m sitting in a large lecture hall at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., thinking of follow-up questions to ask a panel of “experts” who just finished a rapid fire opening statement of their view on constitutional law—specifically the Bill of Rights. Read the rest of this entry »