The #CivicsIsBack Summer Tour Launches Today

by Shawn P. Healy, PhD, Civic Learning Scholar, Robert R. McCormick Foundation

This morning, our inaugural Illinois Civics Teacher Mentor cohort comes together for the first time in Normal, IL, for a four-day training. Our mentor cohort is 34 teachers strong and is led by Mary Ellen Daneels of Community High School in West Chicago, IL. Our mentors hail from every region of the state and boast impressive experience in the classroom and beyond. Click here to read their bios.

Today, we’ll lay out the parameters of the new law and emerging state social science standards, our course implementation plans, background on teaching the 2016 Election, and what it means to be a mentor. Each day will include planning time for regional mentor teams (ten in total).

Days two through four dive deeply into three civic learning practices emphasized in the new course requirement: discussion, simulations, and service learning. The trainings will be primarily led by our civic education partners: Facing History and Ourselves, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, and Mikva Challenge.

We’re also joined by several of our institutional partners and summer regional workshop hosts, including Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, Regional Office of Education #47 (Dixon), and Western Illinois University. And we’re delighted to have representatives of the Illinois State Board of Education on hand each day.

It’s also important to mention that we’ll be evaluating the impact of all of our teacher training efforts in partnership with the Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University. The CIRCLE team will provide real time feedback to McCormick Foundation staff and teacher mentors, allowing us to respond to local needs of teachers, schools, and districts this year and beyond.

Stay tuned for recaps and highlights of our mentor training, followed by reports from the regional trainings that begin next week in Lombard, IL (there’s still time to register).

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