Civics360: A New Resource for Civic Education

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Good morning, friends in Civics. Over the past few years, teachers here in Florida and elsewhere in the United States have made heavy use of the Escambia Civics Review Site. We do believe that the partnership with Escambia County and the willingness of that district to host and share resources for teaching and learning has been beneficial for everyone. Over time, however, requests have been made and ideas contemplated about improvements that could be made to make that site even better. These requests and ideas include more student friendly videos, more helpful assessment tools, and resources for ESOL students and struggling readers. With that in mind, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, in partnership with Escambia County Schools,  is excited to announce the launching of a new Civics review site that will, later this summer, replace the currect Escambia Civics Review Site: Civics360. Civics360 is free to all registered users, much like our current Florida Citizen website. This site is now live and available for your use.

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So what are the new features you will find in Civics360? Take a look at the orientation video below, which walks you through the registration process, and read the rest of the post to learn about what we hope will be a useful resource for you and your students.

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Upcoming Florida Council for the Social Studies Webinar: THE GREAT MIGRATION AND THE ROOTS OF WEALTH INEQUALITY

Good afternoon, friends in Civics and Social Studies! I just wanted to share with you a really interesting upcoming webinar for members of the Florida Council for the Social Studies. Our friends at FCSS will be joined by Brett Burkey of the Florida Council on Economic Education to discuss the Great Migration and the Roots of Wealth Inequality. You can download the flyer below or simply head over to the Florida Council for the Social Studies website to register!

TWO Great Upcoming Lou Frey Institute/FJCC Webinars!

Good morning, friends! It gives me great pleasure to share with you two upcoming webinars.

First, on April 28th, we will be hosting three experts in Holocaust education to preview a new series of lessons that can be used to teach the Holocaust in the 6-12 classroom. We are grateful for Dr. Fine, Professor Carter, and Ms. Adkinson for their hard work on these lessons and their willingness to share them during the webinar!

You can access the flier to register here.

Our second webinar, this one in May, brings back great friend of the Institute, Dr. Charlie Flanagan!

You can access the flier to register for THIS one here!

If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot us an email and let us know! Hope that you can join us!

Florida Council for the Social Studies Webinars

Good afternoon, friends in civics and social studies. Our friends at the Florida Council for the Social Studies (are you a member? If not, why not? It’s worth it!) have launched a BRAND NEW webinar series for members, with some interesting topics! The first one was yesterday and featured Dr. Tina Ellsworth and Dr. Scott Waring discussing the use of the SOURCES Framework for looking at primary sources. On April 8th, Dr. Brian Furgione will do a session relating to political cartoons, and on the 15th, Dr. Kenny Anthony will talk about using primary sources to look at Reconstruction-era United States history.

Don’t click on the image, it’s just a photo! 🙂

You can register for the webinar here! FCSS hopes to see you there.

Revised Florida Civics Benchmarks and New Holocaust and Character Education Standards Next Week

Good morning, friends in Civics. This came across my desk from our friends in FDOE.

The department has opened Rule 6A-1.09401, Florida Administrative Code, for rule development to
adopt or revise several content areas of student academic standards. These include Civics and Government (revised), Holocaust Education (new), Character Education (new), B.E.S.T. English Language Arts (ELA) standards (technical and minor revisions that will not affect implementation), and Access Points – Alternate Academic Achievement Standards for the B.E.S.T. ELA and Mathematics standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Drafts of the proposed revisions will be posted the week of April 5, 2021, at http://www.fldoe.org/standardsreview/.


A rule development workshop will be held on Friday, April 9, 2021, at 11:00 am EDT. To register for the workshop, please visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4060571620471297807.


There will also be an online public comment survey for Civics and Government, Holocaust Education, and Character Education standards. The department encourages all stakeholders to participate in the review process through the online surveys, which will be open when the draft standards are posted through April 23, 2021.
• Civics and Government survey: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6176659/CivicsStandards1.
• Holocaust Education survey: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6240586/HolocaustEdStandards1.
• Character Education survey: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6240369/CharacterEdStandards1.
We encourage you to share these public comment opportunities with local stakeholders to help maximize the number of Floridians contributing to this critical process. If you have additional questions, please contact Michael DiPierro in the Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support at 850-245-9773 or by email at Michael.DiPierro@fldoe.org.

We here at LFI/FJCC encourage you to take some time and plan on attending this workshop if you can; at a minimum, be sure to provide feedback on the new Holocaust and Character Education Standards and the revised K-12 Civics benchmarks! If you have questions about this meeting or these standards, please shoot your questions to Mike DiPierro at FDOE.

New Resources Added to Civics360!

Good afternoon, friends in Civics! I am happy to share with you today some new activities that have been added to Civics360. These were developed by two excellent civics educators in Orange County Public Schools, Lindsey Russell and Michelle Preiser, and edited by our own Val McVey. We are grateful for their willingness to develop more support resources for our Civics360 platform!

The new resources are for 2.8 (Political Parties):

2.9 (Constitutional Qualifications for Office):

and 2.11 (Bias, Symbolism, and Propaganda):

Work on additional improvements and resources for Civics360 are ongoing. Of course, if you have any questions about this platform, the resources (including word versions or answer keys) or anything else, please email us!

LFI/FJCC Free Online Civics Professional Development Courses

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Good afternoon, friends in Civics. Are you looking for some free self paced professional development in civics education? Consider enrolling in our The Civics Classroom Course Series! A certificate of completion, for 5 hours of professional development, will be issued for each course successfully completed. While the first course, The Prepared Classroom, is especially designed for Florida civics teachers, the courses are free and open to all civics and government educators throughout the country.

Are you already enrolled in any of these courses? That’s great! We have had over 200 people complete these courses succesfully! While we want to definitely encourage you to take your time in completing these courses (we understand your schedule!), please be aware that as of April 01, 2021 we will be removing participants who have not visited/taken part in their courses since last summer. You are of course free to re-enroll should you be removed. We believe that these can make a difference and support your professional learning and your students.

You can download the above flier here: Civics_Classroom.

What is the Civics Classroom?

This course series provides educators with online, self-paced, professional learning that develops the knowledge and skills necessary to help students achieve their roles as participants in civic life. Each course will take approximately five hours to complete. While it is recommended that participants complete the courses in order, it is NOT required.

The awarding of a certificate for each course in this series is based on successful completion of the pre and post tests, module quizzes, post course survey, and a passing final grade in the course. Certificates are emailed by staff of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute within two weeks of course completion.

A Prepared Classroom

A Prepared Classroom provides teachers with an understanding of:

  • Course descriptions and the Civics End-of-Course Test Item Specifications,
  • How to utilize curriculum and pacing guides,
  • The value of strategic planning and preparing for instruction, and
  • Making informed decisions about instruction based on formative and summative data.

Download the course syllabus

Enrollment Information: Self-enroll in this course at https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/JXYKR7. Or, sign up at https://canvas.instructure.com/register and use the following join code: JXYKR7.

A Cognitively Complex Classroom

A Cognitively Complex Classroom provides teachers with an understanding of:

  • The role of cognitive complexity when facilitating instruction and assessment,
  • Utilizing strategies and structures, and
  • Developing learning activities that integrate English Language Arts and disciplinary literacy skills.

Download the course syllabus

Enrollment Information: Self-enroll in this course at https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/R3L74M. Or, sign up at https://canvas.instructure.com/register and use the following join code: R3L74M.

A Cohesive Classroom

A Cohesive Classroom provides teachers with an understanding of:

  • identifying the needs of students for scaffolded and differentiated supports aligned with the Universal Design for Learning and,
  • how to develop a responsive civics classroom that builds academic and social-emotional competencies.

Download the course syllabus

Enrollment Information: Self-enroll in this course at any time by clicking here https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/YFE7HR. Or, sign up at https://canvas.instructure.com/register and use the following join code: YFE7HR.

A Constitutional Classroom

(THIS COURSE WAS DEVELOPED IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES!) A Constitutional Classroom will provide teachers with an understanding of:

  • Major ideas in the U.S. Constitution,
  • How to apply disciplinary literacy skills, and
  • Preparing for instruction to make content accessible for all learners.

Download the course syllabus

Enrollment Information: Self-enroll in this course at any time by clicking here https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/BKAM74. Or, sign up at https://canvas.instructure.com/register and use the following join code: BKAM74.

Questions about The Civics Classroom? Contact Us!

We also have a course specially designed for government classes around the state of Florida’s Civic Literacy Assessment for high school.

The Civics Classroom

The High School Government Classroom: Building Critical Knowledge course will provide teachers with pedagogy, content, and resources for:

  • lesson planning and preparation in social studies
  • the principles of American democracy
  • the US Constitution
  • Founding Documents
  • Landmark Cases

Download the course syllabus

Enrollment Information: Self-enroll in this course at https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/EXNT4C. Or, sign up at https://canvas.instructure.com/register and use the following join code: EXNT4C.

And there is our High School US History PD, developed in collaboration with the National Archives.

The Civics Classroom

The High School US History: Civil War and Reconstruction course will provide teachers with pedagogy, content, and resources for:

  • the major ideas of the cause, course, and consequences of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era
  • primary sources and disciplinary literacy
  • strategies and structures for accessible learning

Download the course syllabus

Enrollment Information: Self-enroll in this course at https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/AMPACA. Or, sign up at https://canvas.instructure.com/register and use the following join code: AMPACA.

Questions about these courses or any other professional development? Drop me a line and tell us how we can support you!

Civics360 Video Spanish Captions!

Good morning, friends in Civics! You may, I hope, be familiar with our free Civics360 resource. If not, why not check it out? 🙂 Well, in an effort to meet the needs of teachers and students, we have started the process of translating the video captions into Spanish, a paid service offered by our hosting friends at Schooltube.

Because of the cost involved, it will likely take some time to make this happen for all of our videos. In this case, we decided to pilot it with the content area our Florida teachers are likely addressing now: The US and the World, which covers:

The first round of translations has been completed for that entire topic area. You can view the videos on Civics360, or over on the Civics360: US and the World channel on Schooltube.

And as a reminder, you can view ALL of the Civics360 videos over on Schooltube if needed. Simply head over there and type ‘Civics360’ in the search box and you will find channels for every topic area!

We would like to translate these videos into other languages as well, with Haitian Creole next on the priority list once budget and availability allow. In any case, we hope you find this new addition useful!

Feedback on or about the translations? Please let me know!

The Lou Frey Institute is looking for a part-time marketing specialist!

Do you have good experience in marketing and social media and are looking for a good part time job (10-15 hours a week, potentially more if the situation requires it) that can use and build your experience? Do you care about civic education? We would love to have you join the Lou Frey Institute. Take a look, please! And if you have any questions, always happy to talk more!

Here’s what we are looking for:

Job Description:The Marketing Outreach Professional provides leadership and support on strategy, communications, media relations, and ongoing process improvement for the marketing and implementation of Lou Frey Institute and Florida Joint Center for Citizenship programs and activities. This position will collaborate with relevant LFI staff in developing communication and outreach strategies for ongoing LFI programs while supporting community relations efforts of Institute leadership while also analyzing the effectiveness of relevant strategies. Responsibilities include:
Implement new strategies to improve social media performance and engagement
Assist in managing multiple social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin
Track and monitor outcomes and statistics for website, social media, and e-communication
Support organization initiatives with mass communications through social media
Develop a social media content calendar and makes content web updates
Assist with writing, developing, and strategizing online content
Review communications from leadership to make sure messages are transparent and authentic
Monitor Institute reputation
Assist in marketing plan preparation, including budget and short and long-term strategy
Apply various social media tactics in creating brand awareness and generating inbound traffic that strengthens company’s social media presence
Produce marketing copy for our website

Take a look and think about working with a small and dedicated team to meet the needs of civic education in Florida and beyond!

Civic Action Project Receives 2020 Best Overall Program Impact Excellence Award for Florida!

Exciting news, friends! In the Spring of 2017, The Lou Frey Institute (LFI) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida (BGCCF) established a partnership, designed to help implement and support the creation of a Civic Action Project (CAP) Program in BGCCF’s After School Zone for middle school students. This program was adapted for middle schools and after-school environments from the original Civics Action Project first developed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Since the launch of this effort, over 100 middle school students have participated in the CAP program, where they identify a community issue or problem of interest to them, research it, and propose a detailed plan for how to address it. In support of these students and their facilitators is the Institute’s Civics Instructional Specialist, Chris Spinale. Participating students attend a Civic Education Showcase on the UCF campus where they present their projects and findings to community stakeholders and policy makers. 

Because of the hard work of BGCCF staff, site facilitators, CAP teachers, and their club members, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s Civic Action Project Program for the After School Zone was named the recipient of the 2020 Best Overall Program Impact Excellence Award for the State of Florida by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Florida Area Council. 

CAP took home the prize for the State of Florida as the overall standout program among all the Boys & Girls Club programs in the state. Kelvin Curry, Director of Middle School Programs for BGCCF, thanked LFI for its partnership and all it has afforded their club members. 

Both LFI and BGCCF are committed to continuing the hard work of cultivating a citizenry that is informed, engaged, and active. Questions about the program can be directed to LFI Interim Director Steve Masyada (Stephen.masyada@ucf.edu) or Civics Instructional Specialist Chris Spinale (Christopher.spinale@ucf.edu).

Florida Elementary Teachers, LFI/FJCC Needs Your Guidance

Good morning, friends in Civics! As you likely know if you are at all familiar with our work, the Lou Frey Institute is constantly looking to improve our work and ensure that our resources are the best that they can be. As the state has begun introducing new/revised benchmarks for K-12 civics (to be released for public comment soon) and ELA (the BEST Standards), we want to start revisions on existing materials and the development of new materials sooner rather than later. However, we want to prioritize what teachers feel they need most, and in pursuit of that, we have crafted a short survey for elementary grade band teachers to help us in our initial stages. This survey will simply ask you to prioritize the types of resources you would like us to address at the K-5 level, and also asks whether you might be interested in a compensated opportunity to be involved in the work. So if you have a few minutes and teach K-5 in Florida, please let us know how we can help you. Complete our short survey, and share with others who might have interest.