Showing posts from April, 2021

Service Learning to Commemorate Holocaust Rememberence Day

by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist On April 4th, the White House issued a proclamation to commemorate Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day. One excerpt from the piece stated: It is painful to remember. It is human nature to want to leave the past behind. But in order to prevent a tragedy like the Holocaust from happening again, we must share the truth of this dark period with each new generation. All of us must understand the depravity that is possible when governments back policies fueled by hatred, when we dehumanize groups of people, and when ordinary people decide that it is easier to look away or go along than to speak out. Our children and grandchildren must learn where those roads lead so that the commitment of “never again” lives strongly in their hearts. Students from Glenn Westlake Middle School in Lombard, Illinois pledged to do their part to make a commitment to be upstanders in their community as they reflected on the lessons of the Holocaust and

Digital Well-Being and Citizenship

by Sue Khalaieff, Democracy Schools Network Manager The eighth session of the Civics Across the Curriculum webinar series was held on Thursday, April 8, 2021. This year’s theme builds on the theme from the originally scheduled Democracy Schools Network (DSN) Spring 2020 convening, “Every Teacher is a Civics Teacher: Best Practices for Civic Learning and Organizational Supports.” View a recording of the session . The program featured two DSN members from Antioch Community High School (ACHS) discussing their ongoing efforts to blend digital literacy and citizenship with their staff and students. Grant Murray, Dean of Students and Jaclyn Orlov, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, began blazing the trail for this initiative at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. When this program started, it came out of a concern to promote a safe and responsible use of technology. This had been a concern for a while, but with this undertaking, the approach would be different w

Service Learning Connects Students with Local Elections

by Mary Ellen Daneels, Civics Instructional Specialist The Illinois Civics requirements for both middle and high school require students to engage in service learning to provide real-world opportunities to take informed action on issues that matter to them. These issues can range from local to global. Candace Fikis, a social studies teacher at West Chicago Community High School , collaborated with her colleagues Roberta Felfle and John Chisholm to engage students in understanding voting and elections by facilitating students to prepare and host a virtual candidate forum. This was an authentic opportunity to apply disciplinary content knowledge to a democratic institution that impacts their everyday life and prepare the community, including 18-year-old students, to cast their ballot. Candace, an Illinois Civics Instructional Coach and member of the Democracy Schools Network , is one of 26 educators participating in the Guardians of Democracy Microcredential Program with Volunteer