The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship Needs Your Help!


Please Donate Now If You Can Help!

The Governor recently vetoed all funding for the Lou Frey Institute, the parent organization for the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, Civics360 and the Partnership for Civic Learning.

Did you Know?

  • Teachers that use FJCC curriculum resources have seen an increase in assessment scores by 25%.
  • Last year, FJCC staff delivered face-to-face professional development to over 1,000 civics teachers.
  • Since August 2016, FJCC staff supported over 5,000 teacher accounts and over 94,000 hours of online civic learning for middle school students.
  • Since March 2017, Civics360 was launched and has provided civics instruction and resources to over 20,000 civics students

Please help us so that we can continue supporting Florida’s, and the nation’s, teachers and students. Questions can be sent to me at any time! 

Please Donate Now If You Can Help!

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.

civics360 cover

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.

Continue reading

FJCC Webinar 2: Review, Remediation, and Reteaching for the Civics EOCA Now Available



Good morning, friends. Our recent webinar is now available! It discussed some resources and tools that you can use for reteaching, remediation, and review. You can view it below.

All resources and tools discussed in the webinar are available at Our next webinar will occur in June, and address understanding the the data you receive about the Civics EOCA.

FJCC New Civics Teacher Webinar: What to Expect When You Are Expecting the Civics EOCA now available!



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Good morning, friends of FJCC and civics. Our recent webinar, What to Expect When You are Expecting the Civics EOCA, is now available. In it, you will find an overview and discussion of Florida’s Civics EOCA, hosted by our own Peggy Renihan. Materials and resources relevant to the webinar are available here. 

You can access the annotated PowerPoint PDF below. The transcription is available on each slide as notes.
Annotated What to Expect When you are Expecting the EOCA

Should you have issues, please contact me.  Our next webinar will occur on March 29th, 2017 at 4:30 EST. It will cover review and remediation for the Civics EOCA. Registration will be open soon!


Upstanders and Bystanders: Investigating Modern Social Responsibility Using History


In 2015, Cherie Arnette (School District of Escambia County), Maureen Carter (School District of Palm Beach County), and Peggy Renihan (Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute) collaborated to create materials to support discussions around bystanders and upstanders.

We here at the FJCC, and the wonderful people who developed these resources, believe that these instructional resources are useful for a variety of courses at varying grade levels. We urge you to review the materials and make your own decisions on age and course appropriateness.

During the lesson, an incredibly rich and varied selection of primary source materials from the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement are used to examine social responsibility. Participants explore the reality that at different times we could all be upstanders, bystanders, collaborators, victims, and perpetrators depending on the situation.

You can access “Upstanders and Bystanders: Investigating Modern Social Responsibility Using History” using this link –

A Short Lesson on Hate

Talking About hate

Click on the link here, Talking about Hate, to access the lesson.

Friends, today’s post is brought to you by our program coordinator and all-around excellent teacher, Ms. Peggy Renihan.

During back to school, many teachers facilitate activities designed to create a safe learning environment. Recent current events may have students discussing sensitive issues. The activity provided in this post may, we hope, help facilitate conversations.

It is based on the an article from the Washington Post about teaching the issues related to the sometimes acrimonious public debates we face today . 
(A special Thank You to our own Val McVey for finding and sharing interesting and useful resources.)

There are some thought-provoking resources in the article that may be helpful. We reviewed most of the links and suggest that you view the videos and read the articles before sharing with students to ensure age-appropriateness.

Knowing that most people appreciate a readymade activity, we (Editor’s Note: we meaning Peggy!) modified the resources and information from the article to be ready for classroom use.Click on the link here, Talking about Hate, to access the lesson.

A New School Year with FJCC



Well, it is another school year, and we here at the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute wish teachers everywhere a great start to the year. In this post, you will find a compilation of the resources that we have to offer as you start the new year. If you have any questions about these resources, please feel free to shoot me an email! 


Civics360 is our newest resource, and we continue to add to it. Some of you may be familiar with the Escambia Civics Review Site; Civics360 replaces that site. So what does Civics360 bring to the table?

Student Friendly Readings in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole and Reading Guides in English
We now have the Student Friendly Readings in three languages, and a reading guide in English that can help students with their understanding, crafted with the help of literacy experts from UCF. 

New Student Friendly Videos
We have a collection of new videos, ranging between 5 and 10 minutes long or so, that break down the content into easy to understand visuals and text. We have also included video guides to aid in understanding. Please note that currently half of the benchmarks have videos; we are working hard to complete the remaining benchmarks!


Additional New Features
Additional new features include new vocabulary tools, digital quizzes, a brand new practice assessment that provides you with student reports, and more.

Civics360 does require registration, but it is 100% free. Be sure to check it out!

Florida Citizen

Our main website at Florida Citizen has a number of resources that you could find useful. Of course we have our traditional lesson plans for the middle school civics course. These lesson plans are all aligned to the benchmarks and benchmark clarifications, and include content elaboration for the teacher, relevant vocabulary, and a step by step walk through of instruction.
We also have Students Investigating Primary Sources. This series of lessons for grades 2-12, developed in collaboration with the National Archives, provide students an opportunity to ‘play’ with primary sources around relevant topics aligned with Florida history, civics, and government benchmarks. You can learn more about the SIPS lessons here. 

sips page 2

We have not forgotten elementary teachers. Our Civics in a Snap lessons cover each of the K-5 elementary benchmarks, and take 15-20 minutes to work through. They are also aligned with relevant LAFS benchmarks. You can learn more about the Civics in a Snap lessons here. 


We have a number of additional resources available on Florida Citizen, including the first three parts of our ongoing webinar series. Be sure to visit Florida Citizen and register for access to the free resources today!

Questions about any of our websites or resources can be directed to Dr. Steve Masyada at FJCC! Hope to hear from you soon!

Upcoming Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference

The Florida Council for the Social Studies (FCSS) would like to invite you and your colleagues and friends to attend the 60th Annual FCSS Conference at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida on October 20 – 22, 2017. You can register for the conference here. 

This is going to be an excellent conference with some great sessions.

Conf Update 1

The Preconference sessions will, no doubt, be really good, and you are encouraged to sign up early for what we expect will be a well-attended series of events!


You can register for the conference here. We look forward to seeing you in October!


A New Approach for FJCC




As folks are likely aware at this point, funding for the Lou Frey Institute was vetoed by Governor Scott. The work of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship falls under the umbrella of LFI, so obviously the loss of funding is, for us, significant. While we continue to work on grants and other opportunities to raise funds (and still seeking some sort of university or legislative solution), this sudden turn of events means some changes in our work.

To be clear, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute will continue to support teachers, schools, and districts to the best of our ability. Our curricular resources will not go away; indeed, we continue to refine and improve and expand what we have. The Florida Citizen website will be getting new materials later this year around action civics, high school government, and, perhaps, Florida’s new legislatively mandated Founders Month. Development and improvement on Civics360 continues; we have just added four new videos around benchmark 4.3 for example. We are working on an update to the Florida’s Civic Health website as well.

As needed and as possible, we will strive to meet face to face PD requests; however, we may not longer be able to respond in the affirmative to all requests, thanks to a vastly reduced travel budget. HOWEVER, we do have some exciting news that has arisen out of that unfortunate circumstance. The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute is beginning the transition towards becoming an online professional development provider!

Currently, we are collaborating internally on developing a Canvas-based set of interactive modules (we hesitate to call it a course) targeting new teachers and what they need to know for teaching civics. We will be piloting this effort with a small number of districts for now; lessons learned from this will guide the next iteration and allow us to open it up to more folks. We also plan on offering additional data, content, and pedagogy oriented modules as we move forward. We have also just completed a new online narrated support PowerPoint around interpreting data that we will be posting for you within the next week!

We are incredibly excited by this new direction. Sometimes, what seems like disaster can simply be turned into a challenge. And that is true in this case. We have had to ask the question about how we can do more with even less, and we have high hopes and expectations that offering support online, with the same excellent staff you are used to, is a way to overcome that challenge. This Canvas-based approach will always involve the opportunity for questions, collaboration, and communication with the FJCC team.

Again, we will continue to support you to the best of our ability. The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute is not going anywhere in the short term. We are simply going to follow a new path in supporting the work that wonderful teachers do in civic education.

We are always open to questions or suggestions, so please feel free to contact us at any time! 

Civics in Florida: Two Good Articles


Recently, two retired and significant political leaders here in Florida addressed the issues facing civic education in the state. Don Gaetz, former Florida Senate President, writes on why civic education matters:

Recently I had coffee with an impressive high school junior and her mother. The young lady doesn’t share my politics but she spilled over with excitement to attend American Legion Girls State, a practical experience in how government works. She couldn’t wait to dive into mock legislating and she already knew the issues cold. She’s not looking for a career in politics but she wants to know how to make things better. Florida needs a few million like her.

Our young people need to be able to develop the civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions of citizenship. The focus is not molding little Democrats or little Republicans, little conservatives or little liberals. It is on, as Mr. Gaetz says, helping kids learn ‘how to make things better.’

On those same lines, legendary former Florida governor and Senator Bob Graham penned a piece advocating that Florida continue its positive work around civic education.

In 2014, the first year of testing, 61 percent of Florida students enrolled in seventh-grade civics scored at or above a level of proficiency. This compared favorably to the National Assessment of Educational Progress results, also known as the nation’s report card, in which only 23 percent of American eighth-grade students were deemed to be proficient in civics. NAEP is the most comparable assessment available; 2014 was the last year the exam was given. And things were even better in 2017 when 69 percent of Florida seventh-graders tested proficient or better. Students whose teachers used Joint Center instructional materials scored almost 25 percent higher than other students.

Senator Graham argues that civic education support is worth funding, and while the focus is on the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship at the Lou Frey Institute, ultimately, Florida is a model for civic education, and to keep moving forward, we must pay attention and serve as advocates. And isn’t that the whole point of civic education? Advocate for our selves as citizens, as members of our communities, and as residents of this great and this great nation.

Please do consider reading the two articles from Gaetz and Graham, and if you are interested in supporting the work of the Lou Frey Institute and FJCC in Florida, please consider a donation or even just writing a letter. And thank you for being passionate and engaged members of the civic community!

The Lou Frey Institute and FJCC Will Continue to Support Civic Education!

Dear friends of the Lou Frey Institute and the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship,
We recently shared with you that the governor vetoed funding for our work in civic education.

Despite this setback, we remain fully committed to supporting you as you prepare the next generation of informed, responsible and engaged citizens.

That commitment means that all of our instructional resources at and will be supported and available for your use now and in the future.

In fact, over this summer we will continue developing videos for and host our next webinar to help you interpret your Civics End-of-Course Assessment scores. We intend to continue to develop resources and programs to support Florida’s students.

It is a key lesson in civics that determination and persistence are fundamentally important to success in the democratic process. We want you to know that we are determined to address the funding issues created by the governor’s veto and that we will persist until we are successful.

We have come a long way together. Scores are up across the state. Students are learning and the prospects for a stronger civic culture in Florida get better with every student you teach. We pledge to you that we will weather the storm and continue to support your critically important work.

Donations are now being accepted at We are grateful for any amount you can give to support and improve Florida’s civic health.

  • Senator Bob Graham
  • Congressman Lou Frey
  • Doug Dobson, Executive Director
  • Steve Masyada, Director, FJCC
  • Val McVey, Curriculum Director
  • Peggy Renihan, Regional Programs Coordinator
  • Chris Spinale, Action Civics Coordinator
  • Michael Barnhardt, Web Designer
  • Lucas Cross, Web Designer Assistant
  • Laura Stephenson, Assistant to the Executive Director
  • Shena Parks, Accounting Coordinator
  • Marcia Bexley, Program Coordinator
  • Terri Fine, UCF, Senior Fellow
  • Elizabeth Washington, UF, Senior Fellow
  • Michael Berson, USF, Senior Fellow
  • Jane Lo, FSU, Fellow

Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference Proposals Due Soon!


Good afternoon, friends. Don’t forget that the 2017 FCSS Conference, set for the end of October, wants YOU to join us as presenters. YOU are the reason FCSS exists, and we would be grateful if you would share you experience and knowledge and ideas and exciting new pedagogies with your peers and colleagues. We have had some good submissions so far, but we want more!

Proposals are due the 25th of May. Get them in and join us!

Looking for Civics Stories from Florida

Good evening, friends in civics! Are you a civics teacher in Florida? Recently, your students took the Civics EOCA, and likely did well, because you are good at what you do. Your kids know the content. But you also taught them the skills and dispositions necessary for participation in civic life. What we would love to hear from you are the stories of student engagement or action.  What did your students do to bring civics to life?  How did they engage with their peers, their communities, their leaders? How did they participate in civic life?

We want the story of your kids! Please email me a few lines (or more) about how your kids took what you taught them and practiced what we preached! We look forward to hearing from you!