Aug 14, 2018 / E-news, Project Citizen
Seventeen projects in both the traditional and digital formats were submitted for the 2018 Project Citizen National Showcase! Students dealt with a variety of topics from affordable housing to school schedules to HIV prevention, offering public policy solutions after doing extensive research in their communities.
Classes completed four steps in their projects: identifying the problem, proposing alternative solutions, identifying their preferred policy answers, and creating an action plan. Traditional projects display these steps on multi-paneled poster board and are accompanied by research binders. Digital projects sent in their materials organized in a powerpoint presentation.
See this year’s results here.
To find out more about the Project Citizen curriculum, check out the Project Citizen website here.
Jun 26, 2018 / E-news
On June 10, civil rights leader Dorothy Cotton passed away. She spent her life fighting for civil rights alongside leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young, and Jesse Jackson.
Cotton played a crucial role in leading marches and organizing for civil rights, teaching people about the U.S. Constitution, and encouraging nonviolent protest. She worked as the educational director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference beginning in the 1960s and developed its citizenship education program for twelve years. Her work encouraged African American people to use their citizenship by exercising the right to vote.
Dorothy Cotton with the Director of the We the People programs, Robert Leming, and Scott Leming.
From 2002–2010, she worked with the Center for Civic Education at the We the People Birmingham Seminars, influencing hundreds of teachers from classrooms all over America. Teacher David Alcox reminisces, “[I] still use many of the quotes she said while addressing us at the McNair art studio in Birmingham. One of my favorites was her saying, ‘Many times people ask where are our Founding Fathers today? The Jeffersons, the Madisons, the Washingtons? I tell them, they’re right there, in your classroom.’”
Jun 25, 2018 / E-news, James Madison Legacy Project
The James Madison Legacy Project summer institutes are in full swing this summer, engaging teachers in civics-oriented professional development courses across the country. These workshops train teachers from schools serving high-need 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 Arizona State of Nature and Natural Rights Professional Development in Tombstone, AZ.
Over the last three years, JMLP sites have provided either the traditional We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution professional development course or the Center’s blended-learning variation of the traditional model which provides participants with an interactive online course facilitated by educators trained in the curriculum. This year, sites centered institutes around topics ranging from the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama to the Yavapai-Apache Nation experience in Arizona.
During these institutes, participants interact with lawyers, judges, state and local representatives, and professors of law, history, and political science who provide expert knowledge to teachers. These guest speakers bring context and real-world experience in their respective fields to make the content even more engaging. For example, the Tennessee and New Mexico sites brought teachers from their respective states to participate in the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. During the institute, they traveled through Selma and Montgomery, and witnessed living history through speakers who participated in some of the most famous civil rights demonstrations in our history.
Teachers from Ohio and Indiana worked together at the 2018 JMLP 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.
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May 22, 2018 / E-news
In Mongolia, the Center for Citizenship Education is spreading the word on civic education with translated versions of the Center for Civic Education’s Foundations of Democracy as part of the LEAD Mongolia project! Two thousand one hundred copies of the textbook have been shared with two hundred forty two schools in the country. Funded by USAID, the project has also hosted teacher training as part of a partnership with the Institute of Teachers’ Professional Development.
A Project Citizen Train the Trainers Seminar
Project Citizen (PC) is being implemented in sixty-six schools and eleven provinces, thanks to newly trained teachers who have introduced the program to approximately two thousand four hundred middle and high school students and almost two hundred students from Mongolian National University of Education. PC encourages students to identify problems in their communities that can be solved with student-proposed policy solutions. This year, the final PC competition was conducted at the President of Mongolia’s Citizen Hall and the President Battulga made a speech, then presented gifts (books) to every participant of the final showcase.
Due to the success of these projects in Mongolia, the Center for Citizenship Education has been invited to continue the project for another three years. They will continue to promote Project Citizen, as well as the Foundations of Democracy textbook. Working with the Center for Civic Education, the project will continue in expanding its professional development and civic education programs for students in Mongolia.
May 21, 2018 / 2018 National Invitational, E-news, We the People
Ten middle school teams attended the 2018 We the People Invitational, showcasing their knowledge on civic education and their public-speaking skills at the National Conference Center from May 4 to May 8.
Fishers Junior High School from Indiana placed first with teacher Mike Fassold. Second place is held by Rachel Carson Middle School in Virginia, led by teacher Cynthia Burgett. Bob Graham Education Center from Florida placed third with teacher John Brady. The awards ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook, where unit awards were also announced. For full results from the competition, see the Center for Civic Education’s website.
Each class competed in teams organized by the six units of the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution textbook. Each unit deals with one aspect of American constitutionalism. Students are asked challenging questions about constitutional issues by a panel of expert judges made of accomplished scholars, attorneys, and public officials, among others.
To see more of the students and activities from this year’s National Invitational, visit the Center’s Flickr page!
May 17, 2018 / 2018 National Finals, E-news
Over one thousand students attended this year’s We the People National Finals! Fifty-two high school teams from across the country brought their constitutional knowledge to the National Conference Center for this year’s National Finals, impressing us all with their understanding of history, government, and current events.
This year’s first-place winner was Oregon’s Grant High School, led by teacher Angela DiPasquale. Following in second and third places are California’s wildcard team Foothill High School with teacher Jeremy Detamore and Oregon’s wildcard team Lincoln High School with teacher Rion Roberts. In addition to the top-ten awards, unit and regional awards were also presented. See the full list of winner’s on our website.
Grant High School from Oregon was this year's first-place winner.
Students testified before panels of judges made up of lawyers, professors, judges, and other experts in simulated congressional hearings that tested constitutional knowledge, as well as students’ understanding of current events. The top-ten teams were announced at Sunday night’s We the People dance, and these teams went on to compete in hearing rooms on Capitol Hill for the final day.
Miss America 2018, Cara Mund, delivered this year’s keynote address, reminiscing on her own time as a We the People student in 2012 and stressing the importance of civic education in a democratic society.
Do you want to relive the best moments of 2018’s We the People National Finals? Head to the Center’s YouTube channel to watch hearings and interviews; the Flickr page for all the weekend’s pictures; or search #WTPfinals on social media to see all of the posts from the event.
Apr 13, 2018 / 2018 National Finals, E-news
We are pleased to announce that this year’s guest speaker for the 2018 We the People National Finals is Miss America 2018, Cara Mund! A We the People alumna herself, Cara’s team won the North Dakota We the People state finals in 2011–12. “My participation in the We the People program taught me the importance of being politically engaged at a young age,” Mund says. “As an admitted law student, advocate for female empowerment and increased political engagement, and someone who aspires to be the first female governor of North Dakota, I would have never realized my passion for civic education, government, and representing others had I not participated in these programs.”
Cara Mund is the first Miss America from North Dakota. Photo by Matt Boyd Photography.
Mund has a long track record of giving back to her community. At fourteen years old, she founded North Dakota’s Annual Make-A-Wish Fashion Show that has raised $78,500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This work was acknowledged by President Barack Obama in 2011. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, graduating with honors in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations. She has since served as an intern in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota and will be attending law school.
This sense of civic duty is ongoing, and she credits her civic education for teaching her that her voice matters. “Over the past 6 years I have realized the impact both the Center for Civic Education and its We the People programs have had on my life. As a female from North Dakota, I learned through these programs that my voice matters. I continue to show my support because I would not be who I am today or possess my current career goals had I not been involved with the Center for Civic Education and its We the People programs. I want to help other students do the same.”
Cara’s (right) We the People team won the North Dakota state finals in 2011–12.
The thirty-first annual We the People National Finals competition will be held April 27–May 1 in Washington, D.C. Over 1,100 high school students from 52 classes from throughout the nation will demonstrate their understanding of government and the Constitution by participating in congressional hearings and exploring our nation’s capitol. Follow the Center on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with the weekend’s events and updates!
Apr 10, 2018 / E-news
Terri Richmond is stepping down from the position of state coordinator of the California We the People programs. The Board and staff of the Center for Civic Education deeply appreciate Terri’s distinguished service, as well as that of her husband David, who preceded her in the position.
Cheryl Cook-Kallio is the new California state coordinator.
Countless thousands of California’s students have benefited from their leadership over the past few decades, both as state coordinators, as mentors, and as exemplary classroom teachers. Terri will remain the California Coordinator for the James Madison Legacy Project through the end of September and she will direct the JMLP institute in San Luis Obispo in July.
We are delighted to announce that Cheryl Cook-Kallio has begun to assume the mantle of state coordinator for the We the People programs, including both We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution and We the People: Project Citizen. Cheryl, a James Madison Fellow, is herself a longtime master teacher and she has also served as an elected official. She knows many of the people in the California We the People network already and she is looking forward to getting to know everyone in the state network as well as other We the People and Project Citizen Coordinators in other states. Contact Cheryl Cook-Kallio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mar 20, 2018 / E-news
The Center for the Constitution at Montpelier is hosting three-day seminars for K-12 educators this summer! This summer’s seminars are Constitutional Conventions, The Evolution of Rights and Liberties, and The Mere Distinction of Colour. Each seminar will engage its participants in interactive lectures and tours of the Montpelier mansion and grounds, where James Madison made his home.
Constitutional experts will teach at a graduate level, using primary source materials. The Center will provide documentation of the hours spent at the seminar to qualify for professional development and CEUs through James Madison University and a one-year membership to Montpelier.
Check out the dates and application here!
Mar 20, 2018 / E-news
Approximately one hundred state coordinators and mentor teachers traveled from across the country for the third annual James Madison Legacy Project meeting from February 23–25, 2018 in Los Angeles. The project, made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Supporting Effective Educator Development program, focuses on giving teachers of high-need students quality professional development in civics and government.
Mentors and coordinators met in California for the 2018 JMLP Meeting.
The weekend featured Dr. Gary Nash, distinguished research professor from the University of California, Los Angeles, who gave a riveting lecture on the American Revolution, the subject of his book The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America. Mentors and coordinators also engaged with Natalie Saaris from Actively Learn, who walked the audience through the innovative platform that now hosts the new We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution middle and high school enhanced ebooks.
Dr. Gary Nash presented on American history.
The weekend gave participants opportunities to meet with their peers in intensive group discussions and planning sessions with a focus on preparing for teacher professional development events they are hosting this summer and beyond. The coordinators and mentors discussed effective means to sustain online teacher professional learning communities in their states, and how to expand teacher professional development through the use of James Madison Legacy Project online resources, including videos of leading constitutional scholars.
Dr. Diana Owen, associate professor of political science at Georgetown University, presented research findings on the first two years of the James Madison Legacy Project. Mentors and coordinators were excited to hear that middle school and high school teachers demonstrated improvement in their civics content knowledge after participating in JMLP. The students were not left behind! Students whose teachers participated in JMLP gained significantly more civic knowledge than students whose teachers were not part of the program.
Mentors and state coordinators worked hard all weekend long, proving exactly why the project is yielding such impressive results! See pictures from the event on our Flickr!
2018 JMLP Meeting