These schools model civic learning excellence
June 13, 2022
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced that 25 schools will receive the 2022 Civic Learning Award, which honors public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning. The awards celebrate programs, projects, classes and individuals engaging students in civics, particularly during the pandemic. Now in its 10th year, the awards program is co-sponsored by Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and is part of the Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Initiative.
“These schools have deftly kept students engaged in civic learning through another tough year,” said Thurmond, in a news release. “Through these programs, now more important than ever, students are encouraged to have an open dialogue about the social issues that inspire them to learn about our democratic system.”
In addition, one teacher is being recognized as a Champion of Civics, and three schools are being honored with the Spirit of Liberty Award for Equity and Inclusion.
In September 2020, the State Board of Education adopted criteria and guidance to award a State Seal of Civic Engagement to California students who demonstrate excellence in civics education and participation and an understanding of the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution, and the democratic system of government.
Three top scoring schools earned a Civic Learning Award of Excellence:
Corona Del Mar High School (Newport Beach) — Corona del Mar High/Middle School Speech and Debate/Model United Nations is an extracurricular academic team that gives team members an outlet to become involved in their school and community. This team of 80 students, open to all students in grades 7–12, has been running for more than five years. The team provides a forum for all students to develop and improve their speaking skills and become more politically informed and internationally conscious. With an elected student executive board directing the team, members alternate being the main speaker, facilitating “tough talks” and serving as moderators.
Leroy L. Doig Intermediate School (Garden Grove) — The school’s Doig Action Committee is a civic action club that is open to all students beyond their school day to engage in community service and engagement. DAC meets after school on a weekly basis. For the first half of the year, they analyze issues in their community. Students use their skills of research, writing and speaking to create speeches related to a social issue that they care about. They then write a call to action using their research and resolution plans. For the second half of the year, they collaborate to campaign on issues on which they agree. The school received a Civic Learning Award of Merit in 2019.
Tarpey Elementary School (Clovis) — The Tarpey Student Council Club provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, partner with local community organizations, and serve the school and local community through various projects throughout the year. Student council provides students with more in‐depth instruction and experiences in government, law, and democracy outside the classroom. Students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade apply to be on the Student Council, once at the beginning of fall semester and once in spring semester. Tarpey Elementary received a Civic Learning Award of Merit in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Three top scoring schools earned a Civic Learning Award of Distinction:
Anaheim High School (Anaheim) — The school’s School Mascot Civic Inquiry Project was sparked in 2021 by the nationwide movement to bring attention to social and racial injustices, and by community feedback and inquiries into the appropriateness of the name and imagery of its “Colonists” mascot. The project included all Anaheim High students and was conducted within social science, English/ELD, special education and Independent Learning Center classes. Anaheim High received a Civic Learning Award of Merit in 2016 and 2020.
Orange Grove Middle School (Hacienda Heights) — The school is being recognized for its Law Enforcement Academy, which provides an exceptional foundation for students to learn civics, the three branches of government and core values, and to serve their community with honor in one of the nation’s only middle school-based law enforcement academies. Students have weekly opportunities to discuss current issues and topics that are centered around community, politics, government and civic learning.
Los Altos Elementary School (Hacienda Heights) — In partnership with local historical organization the Workman–Temple Homestead Museum, fifth grade students learn, create and present to the local community about the history of the area. Called the Community Keystone Project, students research and take a critical look into the famous, and sometimes infamous, people and events that shaped the community and present their findings to a panel and the school community.
The following schools earned a Civic Learning Award of Merit:
Fresno County — Maple Creek Elementary, Nelson Elementary, Oraze Elementary, Red Bank Elementary, Woods Elementary, and Garfield Elementary. Los Angeles County — Cypress High School, Sycamore Junior High School, Sparks Middle School, and Sunset Elementary. Monterey County — North Monterey County Middle School. Orange County — Garden Grove High School, Loara High School, Magnolia High School, Norte Vista High School, Santiago High School, and Santiago Charter Middle School. San Diego County — Literacy First Charter High School, and Mt. Everest Academy.
Special recognitions were awarded for:
Champion of Civics — Joel Snyder, Teacher, Animo Pat Brown Charter High School, Los Angeles. The Spirit of Liberty Award: Equity and Inclusion — Clovis East High School, Fresno County; Reyburn Intermediate School, Fresno County; and Woodcrest Elementary, Orange County.
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