Presidential and Congressional Academies Come to a Successful Conclusion

Aug 14, 2019 / National Academy for Civics and Government

From July 7-20, 2019 the Center concluded a very successful civics and history education training Academy at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, providing teachers and students from across the nation a very positive and academic enriching experience as well as memories that will last a lifetime.
This educational initiative is the first year of a grant the Center received from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a series of institutes of Presidential Academies for teachers and Congressional Academies for high need-students.  Throughout the two weeks the participants were immersed in the study of constitutional history and principles of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum led by leading scholars and mentor teachers.  Presidential Academy teachers received high-quality professional development in core concepts of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as well as interactive methodology.  The Congressional Academy students received an equally high-quality, interactive instruction in history and civics that paralleled the professional development for the teachers.
While each Academy was a distinct entity in different rooms on the Goucher College campus, opportunities were built into the agenda for the students and teachers to interact and share experiences about their learning.  For example, the history and civics instruction was linked to trips for both teachers and students to National Park Service sites such as Ft. McHenry and Gettysburg.  The Gettysburg trip correlated strongly with scholarly presentations on the history and significance of the Civil War Amendments. The participants also travelled to George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Washington, DC where they had time to visit the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian museums and meet with their members of Congress.  Each location was conducive to thoughtful lectures, discussions, and individual and collaborative work.
The Academy concluded with both teachers and students participating in a simulated hearing to showcase their knowledge.  Engagement among teachers and students will continue during the academic year. The Center will develop online discussion forums for teachers and for students to continue peer conversation as they engage in history and civics activities at their schools. Four webinars will be offered during the year that will extend the teachers’ professional development and benefit students and the general public.
The positive outcomes from the Academy can best be expressed in the words of the participants.
“I was always more of a math and science person, but now I have an equal passion for History.” -  Academy Student
“This Academy is a Grand-slam from the students’ perspective and the teachers’ perspective! The dynamic taking place between the teachers and between the students and all the combinations thereof has made for and continues to make for the most powerful, engaging and valuable Seminar that I have been to in my 30 year career.”
– Academy Teacher
For more information on the Academies please go to http://www.civiced.org/academies.

The Center for Civic Education has concluded a very successful civics and history education training academy, held July 720, 2019, at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, providing teachers and students from across the nation with an enriching experience as well as memories that will last a lifetime.

This educational initiative is the first year of a grant the Center received from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a series of institutes of Presidential Academies for teachers and Congressional Academies for high need-students. Throughout the two weeks, the participants were immersed in the study of constitutional history and principles the of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum led by leading scholars and mentor teachers.  Presidential Academy teachers received high-quality professional development in core concepts of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as well as interactive methodology. Congressional Academy students also received high-quality interactive instruction in history and civics that paralleled the professional development for teachers.

Opportunities were built into the agenda for the students and teachers to interact and share experiences about their learning. For example, the history and civics instruction was linked to trips for both teachers and students to National Park Service sites, such as Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine and Gettysburg. The Gettysburg trip correlated with scholarly presentations on the history and significance of the Civil War Amendments. The participants also traveled to George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Washington, D.C., where they had time to visit the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian museums and meet with their members of Congress. Each location was conducive to thoughtful lectures, discussions, and individual and collaborative work.



The Academies concluded with all teachers and students participating in a simulated congressional hearing to showcase their knowledge. Engagement among teachers and students will be ongoing as they participate in online discussion forums during the school year. The Center developed these forums to allow for continued peer conversation as participants engage in history and civics activities at their respective schools. Four webinars will be offered during the year that will extend the teachers’ professional development and benefit students and the general public.

The positive outcomes from the Academies can best be expressed in the words of the participants:

Students from all over the country participated in collaborative civic learning while at the Congressional Academy.

Students from all over the country participated in collaborative civic learning while at the Congressional Academy.

“I was always more of a math and science person, but now I have an equal passion for history.”—Congressional Academy student

“This academy is a grand slam from the students’ perspective and the teachers’ perspective! The dynamic taking place between the teachers and between the students and all the combinations thereof has made for and continues to make for the most powerful, engaging and valuable seminar that I have been to in my thirty-year career.”—Presidential Academy participant

For more information on the Academies please go to http://www.civiced.org/academies.

National Academy Cultivates Environment of Scholarship for Civics Teachers

Aug 07, 2017 / E-news, National Academy for Civics and Government, Professional Development

“I couldn’t imagine spending July any other way. What a fabulous experience for my life, mind, and teaching.” These are the words of a participant at the Center’s National Academy for Civics and Government, which was conducted at Occidental College July 8–29 under the scholarly direction of Professor Will Harris of the University of Pennsylvania. Visiting scholars included Professor Steven Bilakovics, Dr. Kevin Ryan, and John Swaine, the CEO of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. The “preceptors,” or mentor teachers, were Kevin Fox, Shellee O’Brien, and Keith Gall.
The National Academy is an intensive, three-week study of the content of political and constitutional theory as well as its applications to the participants’ professional lives. The National Academy participants are elementary or secondary school teachers from across the country who were selected in a competitive review process.
The National Academy readings are drawn from important primary and secondary sources, and can be viewed in their entirety on the content outline link on the Center’s website. Perhaps the best way to understand its profound effects on the participants is to read their own words:
“I learned way more than I can acknowledge right now. I thank y’all so much for an amazing experience. It changed my life. Keep asking the hard questions!”
“This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life! I have completely reassessed the way I view the world.”
“Will was so flexible. He has a great mind and is a great teacher! I got a ton of teaching ideas. Will is a great example of a citizen. I am so grateful for the environment of scholarship during the three weeks.”
“Will creates not only a framework for understanding constitutional history and philosophy but a constitutional way of thinking and discussion. This is incredibly valuable for teachers of American history and politics (and I imagine teachers of other subjects as well).”
“Wow, what an honor and a privilege to be here. This has genuinely been amazing. I hope I can continue to study, think, and talk on this level.”
“I appreciated deeply the opportunity to engage in constitutional theory. This kind of thinking is a luxury in the day-to-day experiences of my teaching.”
Center Associate Director John Hale attested to the excellence of the faculty and participants, noting that he had “never seen a more cohesive group of participants over the past two decades in which the National Academy has been offered. They continue to stay in close touch via their Facebook site as well as on www.politicolor.com. I believe them when they say the National Academy will greatly enhance their teaching.”

“I couldn’t imagine spending July any other way. What a fabulous experience for my life, mind, and teaching.” These are the words of a participant at the Center’s National Academy for Civics and Government, which was conducted at Occidental College July 8–29 under the scholarly direction of Professor Will Harris of the University of Pennsylvania. Visiting scholars included Professor Steven Bilakovics, Dr. Kevin Ryan, and John Swaine, the CEO of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. The “preceptors,” or mentor teachers, were Kevin Fox, Shellee O’Brien, and Keith Gall. Read the rest of this entry »