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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Present at the 2019 Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference!

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Heroes. Villains. Rogues. Legends. Our history is filled with those who made a difference, for good or ill. And the question of how we teach about heroes and villains, good and evil, challenges and victories, is one that has always plagued our field. Teaching in turbulent times means rising to meet the challenges posed by heroes and villains. Come to the 2019 FCSS Conference here in Orlando and explore this theme! And please consider submitting a proposal that aligns with our theme. Villains make a difference. But so do heroes. So can you, in our field!

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The Florida Council for the Social Studies is accepting session proposals for the 2019 FCSS Conference at Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida on October 18 – 20, 2019.

Submit your session proposal prior to June 1, 2019 –
http://bit.ly/FCSS19Proposals

· Presenters will be notified by July 15, 2019

· Presenters of accepted sessions must register by August 15, 2019 to confirm participation in the conference

Information about the FCSS conference can be found at: http://fcss.org/meetinginfo.php

Online registration is available at http://bit.ly/fcss19registration

Plan your stay!

The FCSS Conference hotel rate is $131 per night . The Florida Hotel and Conference Center $18.00 per day for amenities is waived. Reservations must be made prior to September 26, 2019.

We look forward to receiving your proposal,

The 2019 FCSS Conference Committee

Constitutional Democracy in Florida Civics Benchmarks

As we move forward in thinking about how we might re-imagine civic education here in Florida, one of the most common questions we hear is ‘Do kids learn about the Constitution and American principles at all?’ This is certainly an important question, especially as we increasingly see questions about such things as checks and balances and civil rights in the news. Recently, we took a closer look at our state standards and benchmarks to see if we could answer that question affirmatively. So let’s take a short dive into things!

Our first consideration addresses reference to the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the Founding Fathers, and the principles of the Market Economy.
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Register Now for Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference!

It’s that time year again! As we wrap up the school year, it’s time to start thinking ahead to next year, and to new opportunities for collaboration, camaraderie, and cognition. The Florida Council for the Social Studies annual conference happens this October 18-20 and you can register now for the conference, held in Orlando at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center. The theme is Heroes and Villains: Teaching in a Polarized World. This bodes well for some really fascinating sessions!

There is an excellent keynote speaker lined up, the wonderful and nationally recognized Dr. Susan MacManus!

MacManus

Dr. Susan A. MacManus is a USF Distinguished University Professor Emerita in the Department of Government and International Affairs, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies. MacManus received her M.A. from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. from Florida State University.

MacManus has authored or co-authored numerous publications on Florida politics, including Florida’s Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida Government, Politics in Florida, Young v. Old: Generational Combat in the 21st Century? and Targeting Senior Voters. MacManus and her mother, Elizabeth, authored two local Florida history books: Citrus, Sawmills, Critters & Crackers: Early Life in Lutz and Central Pasco County and Going, Going, Almost Gone: Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Pioneers Share Their Precious Memories.

From 1998 to 2015, she served as political analyst for WFLA News Channel 8 (Tampa’s NBC affiliate). Since 2016, she has been the political analyst for ABC Action News (Tampa’s ABC affiliate). She is a featured columnist on sayfiereview.com—a widely read Florida-based political website. MacManus has appeared on every major broadcast and cable television and radio network and been interviewed by major newspapers in Florida, the U.S., and abroad. She chaired the Florida Elections Commission from 1999-2003 and is Florida’s most-quoted political scientist. MacManus is not affiliated with any political party.

We’ll have more on the topic of her keynote in a later post, and we will highlight some of the sessions you might find most interesting!

Register here for the conference today! 

Legislation in Florida That Could Impact Social Studies

Friends and colleagues,

The Florida Legislature has had busy session! This post is intended to just loop you in on where legislation that could impact social studies stands after the most recent session. Please note that we here at FJCC/LFI take no political position on any of this. This is intended to be informative, with some consideration of potential impact. We encourage you to visit the state Senate’s Bill Tracker for more information. 

HB 741–anti-Semitism is to be treated in the same manner as racial discrimination. It also defines anti-Semitism and includes criticizing Israeli actions without context or unreasonably within that definition. This is something to keep in mind as we think about instruction on the Holocaust or racism and discrimination in general, as well as when discussing current events with our kids.

HB 7071-removes the financial literacy standards from economics and creates a separate fin lit hs elective. It is unclear what the impact of this will be. On the one hand, it creates an actual financial literacy course for the first time, and all districts and high schools must offer it. However, that course is intended to be an elective; with the financial literacy removed from the mandatory economics course, how many students will actualy be getting financial literacy? Just something to think about; it’s a good first step on a necessary path, but what else can we do?

HB 807– requires a comprehensive review and potential revision of K-12 civic education benchmarks and related resources. The legislation identifies the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, iCivics, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, ConSource, and Hillsdale College as the lead review organizations, with other stakeholders and organizations able to contribute. At this point, we don’t know how they will implement this, but it is VERY likely to affect civics in Florida. Ironically, Florida is recognized nationally for its strong civic education approach. It requires a review of both instructional resources and the test item specifications, so will be significant! 

SB7030- implements the recommendations of the MSD high school public safety commission and allows districts to authorize select teachers to have access to firearms on campus. It is, not surprisingly, pretty divisive legislation.

SB 1342 makes it easier for kids to take part in dual enrollment, lowering the GPA to 2.5 and prohibits limitations on student participation. The goal here is to address college costs and provide a greater degree of choice for parents and students.

Executive Order 19-32 requires a review and revision of math and ELA standards to remove any and all vestiges of ‘common core’ and orders new attention on preparing kids with ‘American civics’, among other things. The Florida Council for the Social Studies, as well as the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, are some of the stakeholder organizations asked to provide feedback on the revised standards. You can take part in the review process as well by registering on the EdCredible platform. 

So that’s where things stand as of May of 2019. Things could of course change again. But certainly social studies in this state will be significantly impacted by some of the legislation awaiting a signature!

Heroes and Villains at the 2019 Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference!

HaV

Every era has heroes. Every society has villains. Every community must learn that sometimes heroes and villains can in fact be one and the same. Come to the 2019 FCSS Conference here in Orlando and explore this theme! And please consider submitting a proposal that aligns with our theme. Villains make a difference. But so do heroes. So can you, in our field!

The Florida Council for the Social Studies is accepting session proposals for the 2019 FCSS Conference at Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida on October 18 – 20, 2019.

Submit your session proposal prior to June 1, 2019 –
http://bit.ly/FCSS19Proposals

· Presenters will be notified by July 15, 2019

· Presenters of accepted sessions must register by August 15, 2019 to confirm participation in the conference

Information about the FCSS conference can be found at: http://fcss.org/meetinginfo.php

Online registration is available at http://bit.ly/fcss19registration

Plan your stay!

The FCSS Conference hotel rate is $131 per night . The Florida Hotel and Conference Center $18.00 per day for amenities is waived. Reservations must be made prior to September 26, 2019.

We look forward to receiving your proposal,

The 2019 FCSS Conference Committee

Civics Renewal Network Announces Award Winner!

Recently, our friends at the Civics Renewal Network announced the finalists and winner of a 200,000 dollar Annenberg Institute for Civics grant. While we here at FJCC/LFI did not make the cut (but were honored being able to apply!), we are excited to see such success for the wonderful folks at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate. They do such excellent work, and we hope to have the opportunity to work with them again in the future. Check out the winner and the finalists below!

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is the winner of the 2019 Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award. Its project, Civil Conversations, will create a community of practice of teachers leading conversations about current, and sometimes contentious, civic issues with their students as well as build a nationally scalable curriculum for broad dissemination. The project will be implemented in collaboration with Essential Partners, global leaders in dialogue and deliberation; the Multiplying Good Students in Action project, a national program that develops high school students into community leaders; and Dr. Karen Ross of the University of Massachusetts, who will design and conduct project evaluation.

The three finalists were:
Center on Representative Government: An extension of its successful Engaging Congress app with modules on the executive branch and judicial branch.
National Constitution Center: The Classroom Exchange project in which students engage with their peers across the country in a healthy, civil dialogue about current, relevant constitutional questions.
Youth Leadership Initiative: A relaunch of its popular A More Perfect Union campaign simulation.

And of course, be sure to check out the great resources (including ours!) curated and shared through the Civics Renewal Network! You won’t find a better and more diverse collection of civics education resources anywhere!

 

A Conference for Science and Social Studies Teachers in North Florida!

Friends, this is always an enjoyable and educational conference that occurs just before the start to the new school year. Check it out! And if you aren’t in Bay District Schools or part of the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium, I am sure you would still be welcome!

A Science and Social Studies Mini Conference for Grades 6-12 Educators at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City

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Save the Date:  Tuesday, July 30th

BDS Employees Register in AIMS Section #: 45917

PAEC District Employees Register in ePDC: Content Collaboration Conference

Conference At-a-Glance

 

  • Standards Based Resources & Pedagogy: MS/HS science & social studies content
  • STEM Academy: 6-12 teachers
  • Instructional Technology: Canvas for beginners to advanced
  • Digging into Social and Emotional Learning
  • ELL in the content classroom
  • Sessions by FLDOE and College Board

 

Agenda

 

8:00am – 8:15am: Registration & Sign-In

8:30am – 9:45am: Session 1

9:45am – 10:00am: Break (Sponsored)

 

10:00am – 11:15am: Session 2

11:15am – 12:30pm: Lunch on Your Own

12:30pm – 1:45pm: Session 3

1:45pm – 2:00pm: Break (Sponsored)

 

2:00pm – 3:15pm: Session 4

3:15pm – 3:30pm: Closing &Evaluations

 

Reintroducing Ourselves, Part Two: The Lou Frey Institute, the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, and ‘Citizen Apprentices’!

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In last week’s post, we re-introduced ourselves and discussed the sorts of resources that we have developed and offer (for free) for civic education here in Florida and beyond. Today, let’s take a look beyond the ‘knowledge’ component of the ‘Civics Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions‘ triad and discuss the ways in which we here at the Lou Frey Institute/Florida Joint Center for Citizenship are working to bring the skills and dispositions of component of effective civic education to classrooms.

Citizen Apprentices in Middle School

Chris Spinale, our Action Civics Coordinator, has referred to the work that we do with civic engagement as helping students in their roles as ‘citizen apprentices’ (and we will discuss more about the ‘citizen apprentice’ idea in a later post!). In doing so, we have begun a great deal of work and support around the Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Civic Action Project.

The Civic Action Project is an excellent tool to begin the work of citizen apprenticeships. Students have the opportunity to explore policy and develop solutions at all levels of community. It engages students in the deep and important task of thinking about civics from an engagement lens. How do I improve my community? How do I take what I have learned in civics and make a difference. It’s important to note, as well, that this is not inherently a conservative or liberal approach. Rather, it reflects what students themselves have identified as pressing issues in their community (and community may be a classroom, school, neighborhood, town, or more!). As an example, a couple of years ago, Citrus Ridge Civics Academy in Polk County did a CAP project to pursue policy change around domestic violence shelters. According to student research (a big part of CAP!), there was only one domestic violence shelter within the a certain radius of their community, and the students developed a presentation to try and convince policymakers to change that. Another simply powerful public service announcement dealt with an epidemic of suicide in the community (provided below; please be warned that it could be painful to watch for some folks).

Last spring, the Lou Frey Institute, in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida, hosted the Civic Action Project Showcase. It gave groups of middle school students the opportunity to share their policy research, proposals, and recommendations to district superintendents, local leaders, and decision makers in their communities. You can read all about it here! 

We are currently working, in some form or other, with schools in Brevard County, Polk County, Orange County, and even a school in Texas to implement some version of CAP in middle school.

Citizen Apprentices in High School

While we have launched the Middle School CAP effort already, we are currently working on and piloting something called Politics in Action (or PIA). This is based on the ‘Knowledge in Action’ work of Walter Parker and Jane Lo (and was developed for Florida in collaboration with Dr. Lo). This is essentially a simulation of American government that gives students the opportunity to really gain a deep (and necessary!) understanding of how American government is supposed to work. Take a look at the infographic below to see the 4 modules for this approach.

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In the video below, Dr. Parker discusses this approach (though again, please note that we have adapted it for Florida!)

 

So that is just a couple of areas where we are moving beyond the ‘traditional curriculum’ of civic education and trying to bring civics in Florida to that next level of practicing skills and developing dispositions. If you are interested in either the Civics Action Project or Politics in Action, you can contact Dr. Steve Masyada or Chris Spinale of LFI/FJCC!

Help the Civics101 Podcast and Get Rewarded!

Friends, the great folks over at the Civics101 podcast need your input! Contact information is in their communication below!

Civics 101 is looking for additional high school educators (i.e. History, Civics, Social Studies, or Journalism) in grades 8-12 who would like to participate in a 75-minute online focus group that will inform the development of a publicly available podcast about Civics.
Participants will join a 75 minute video call with 5-6 colleagues and an education researcher from EDC and:

– Share their goals, challenges and successes in teaching with podcasts

– React and respond to proposed civics podcast content and format

– Receive a $100 gift card as a thank you

The focus groups will take place on Tuesday April 2, at 3:30, Thursday April 4, at 3:30 and Friday April 5 at 3:30. If you are interested, please respond with the time slot that works best for you.

Thanks!
Laura Bartel
Education Development Center, Inc
lbartel@edc.org