State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that 92 schools won this year’s Civic Learning Awards, which celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning. Now in its seventh year, the awards program is co-sponsored by Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.
These schools engage students in civic learning through unique classes, clubs, and programs preparing students for participation in democracy. The awards are designed to both celebrate successful efforts to engage students in civic learning and to identify successful models that can be replicated in other schools.
“Having had the chance to teach a civics class, and from my time working with students in the Legislature, I’m a huge supporter of engaging students in civics early, which helps to engage them for life,” said Thurmond. “It was fulfilling to work with students in the State Legislature, where every year I had students help write a bill with me. I would like to continue that work by asking students to share their ideas on new bills, such as keeping college affordable, school nutrition, and student housing.”
“I commend our schools and teachers for their creativity and commitment to civic education,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye. “They are giving students the skills they will need as active participants and leaders in our democracy.”
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye visits schools receiving Awards of Excellence, the highest level, which include:
- Flora Vista Elementary School in San Diego County, where students develop budgets and proposals for the school board on how to conserve energy in the classroom, organize to decrease trash and debris on their campus, and find solutions to help children in Africa obtain clean drinking water.
- Lexington Junior High School in Orange County, where every eighth grader completes a project through which they learn about bias, study political propaganda, and participate in a mock election.
- Cypress High School in Orange County, where students research and present a TED-style talk on a public issue, such as the vaccine debate. To prepare, students gather and evaluate evidence on all sides, interact with the community, and analyze related policy.
In addition to the Awards of Excellence, six schools received Awards of Distinction, and 83 schools received Awards of Merit. Launched at the Civic Learning California Summit in 2013, the awards have recognized more than 300 schools. More information on the Civic Education Initiative is on the CDE’s Civic Education web page.