Center in the News
  • Project Citizen Advocate Represents Highland Park in Wege Award for Water Conservation
    Dr. Mark Nolan Hill is a professor of surgery at the University of Chicago. In 2001, when Dr. Hill’s daughter Linden was in Cheryl Levi's 7th grade class at Elm Place Middle School, she volunteered her father to aid in ravine erosion for Project Citizen, a national program that teaches middle school students about civic education. Ms. Levi is the Project Citizen coordinator for Illinois congressional district 10. That year, the school won the Blue Ribbon National Competition in Springfield for the first time in Illinois. This ignited Dr. Hill’s passion for water conservation, as well as his joy in mentoring students. “My children and influence on young people are the two things that I’m most proud of,” he said. His engagement in water conservation issues led to Highland Park introducing its Water Conservation and Efficiency Initiative in 2013, for which it won the Wege Award by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

  • Report calls for more civics education in schools - News - - Worcester, MA
    State Sen. Harriette Chandler gives a lot of credit to the civics course she was required to take when she was in high school. “It got me interested in government – it got me interested in a whole variety of issues related to government,” the Worcester Democrat said. “But they don’t do it anymore.” A new report makes the case that schools should. The “Preparing Citizens Report on Civic Learning and Engagement,” which was put together by a state-appointed working group over the past year, makes several recommendations aimed at restoring and expanding civic education and community service learning at Massachusetts schools. The state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is scheduled to take up the proposals at its meeting next Tuesday. “We decided as a board this was not an area the last couple of years that we were particularly attentive to,” said the board’s vice chairman, David Roach, who served on the Working Group on Civic Learning and Engagement.

  • Students learn public policy ropes through Project Citizen - Cranston Herald
    Thanks to special guest speaker Jeff Gale, who represents Ward 1 on the School Committee, the students in Theresa Manera’s fifth-grade class at Rhodes Elementary School recently got an education in how to create public policy as part of their efforts to make some big changes. The problem Manera’s class has chosen to focus on this school year is one that affects each one of them–student anxiety and stress at the elementary level, and the lack of staffing on hand to help address and alleviate it. The students hoped to create policy that would designate more staff members to the elementary schools as well as to help disseminate helpful information to families about the topics affecting the students’ mental health, through the set up of an information area with take-home information available with resources and helpful guides. They also hoped to create a box within the school in which students could anonymously place notes, asking for help for themselves or for a fellow student in need.

  • Herndon, Virginia: ‘We the People’
    Supervisors Michael R. Frey and Cathy Hudgins, issued a proclamation from the entire Board on Tuesday, June 2 to recognize students at Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon. The 14-year-olds won the championship at the 3rd Annual We the People competition at George Mason University. “It’s wonderful to see that middle school students are not only learning about the Constitution but learning to understand and to dissect and to debate and defend their constitutional principles,” said Frey. The We the People, Citizen and the Constitution Program promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s upper elementary and secondary students. “You are really learning the process that’s going to make a difference,” said Hudgins. Teacher Cindy Burgett says she organizes her six civic classes purposefully for civil discourse “with differing opinions so they can have a dialogue with people that don’t share their opinions,” she said. “They work so hard.”

  • Teacher: Students Know More About US Constitution Than I Do
    In the US, active participation in civic life is one of the main goals of civic education. The Center for Civic Education is one of the nonprofit organizations helping teachers and students meet that goal. The Center works with a network of 50 state programs to promote teaching and learning about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. It also shows students how they can take an active role in their government. Using a textbook and e-book series called “We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution,” high school students all over the country learn about the U.S.government. Then, highly motivated students compete with students at other schools in simulated congressional hearings. Teacher Robert Peck, from Freeman High School in Richmond, says his goal is to let students discover how to be better citizens. He says his students learn a great deal as they prepare for the hearings. "We the People’ is the program that gets people excited about civics.”

  • Project Citizen students push for changes in school lunches - Cranston Herald
    Each year, the fifth-grade students in Jim Gemma’s class at Rhodes Elementary School participate in the nationwide civics initiative known as Project Citizen. The project, which is aligned with Common Core standards, promotes responsible public participation in government. Project Citizen encourages students to find a problem within their community that is meaningful to them, research and evaluate the problem, create real solutions in the form of new policies, and create an action plan for state or local authorities to adopt and enforce their policies. This year’s crop of students is focusing on food and nutrition, specifically in the area of their school lunches. They have begun to put their plans into action with the help of the Sodexo managers, chefs and employees who work in Cranston Public Schools, planning and preparing the lunches. “We don’t think the school lunches are healthy enough,” said Bram Gormly during a meeting with state Sen. Joshua Miller.

  • J.L. Bowler students participate in congressional hearing
    J. L. Bowler Elementary School fifth-grade students participated in a simulated congressional hearing recently as a part of the "We the People" program. We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is a nationally acclaimed civic education program about the history and philosophy of the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Critical thinking exercises, problem-solving activities, and cooperative learning techniques help develop intellectual and participatory skills while increasing students' understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy. The curriculum fosters attitudes and skills that are necessary for students to participate as citizens. Bowler 5th graders have participated in We the People for many years now in spite of the fact that it is difficult to make the time for the instruction of the program. The fifth-grade teachers Mrs. Kelle Sudweeks, Mrs. Arica Cook, and Mrs. Lucy Weinrich all agreed that the program was very beneficial for their students.

  • Students With Failing Knowledge of U.S. History Miss Significance of Magna Carta - Breitbart
    Dr. Jamie Gass describes Americans' lack of knowledge and understanding of Magna Carta, which "subordinated the English king to written rule of law and protected the rebellious barons’ rights, including from illegal imprisonment. Nevertheless, over eight centuries, Magna Carta has become the most enduring legal symbol of limiting the authority of those in power to trample the rights of subjects and citizens." He says there is "an outstanding exception" to American students' ignorance of Magna Carta. "This spring, at the 28th annual finals of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, a national history contest promoting civic knowledge, 1,200 high school students from across the country spent three days answering questions about Magna Carta, Edward Coke, and Anglo-American constitutionalism. Since 2011, though, We the People has been defunded by Congress; now it relies on private donations." He says it is time to change that and promote civic history in the schools.

  • Marshwood educators surprised with grants - News - - Dover, NH
    Marshwood Education Foundation's Prize Patrol was thrilled to surprise two Spring Grant Award recipients last month. The MEF Prize Patrol surprised its first Spring Grant recipient, Marshwood Middle School 7th Grade History teacher Andrew Rowe, on Friday May 15. Mr. Rowe was awarded a $9000 grant to start a "We the People" program at MMS. This program will feed into the program at Marshwood High School which has brought a tremendous amount of success for MHS students. We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution for middle grades is composed of 6 units and 29 lessons that use critical-thinking exercises, cooperative-learning practices and a culminating authentic performance assessment to teach the history and principles of constitutional democracy. Three students will work on one of the six units (18 students total) and present their unit to a panel of judges at the National Invitational in April of 2016.

  • Rossi LEAP Students Present Results of Project Citizen
    Ten students in Robyn Montagna’s 8th Grade Learners With Exceptional Abilities Program (LEAP) class at Rossi Middle School recently showed their Project Citizen presentations to their classmates, parents, business leaders, and several legislators via Google Slides.Each group of students chose a community problem to research, identified viable solutions, and proposed an action plan for the best solution. Their work was guided by the Project Citizen program, whose goals include developing an understanding of the importance of citizen participation. Students expressed matters important to them, such as eliminating litter, creating more sidewalks, and constructing a recreation center. Through the question and answer period, they gained an understanding of the work of their local government in relation to such projects and achieved a better understanding of the legislative process and the functions of government.