With apologies to Lewis Carroll, the time has come, I think, to talk of many things. These many things will be mostly just what the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship is and what we do, as well as projects we have on the drawing board that can help civics educators in Florida and the nation.

What is the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship? 

The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, or FJCC, is a partnership between the Lou Frey Institute at UCF and the Bob Graham Center at UF (hence the ‘Joint’ in our name).  While we are grateful to be associated with the wonderful folks at the Bob Graham Center, most of the small team here are associated with the Lou Frey Institute. Our funding is provided to the Lou Frey Institute through the state legislature, with all of the benefits, and drawbacks, that provides. The FJCC provides curricular resources for social studies and civics teachers in Florida and beyond. These curricular resources, available on our main website, are 100% free (though registration is required) and include, but are not limited to:

  • Civics in a Snap (CIAS): 15 to 20 minutes ‘mini-lessons’ that address the civic benchmarks and are aligned with Florida’s ELA Standards (and easily adaptable to Common Core and the social studies standards of other states)
  • Students Investigating Primary Sources (SIPS): This series of lessons, which range from 2nd through 12th grade, introduce students to primary sources around a variety of topics. They are intended to be somewhat short and simple to use while still providing some level of rigor. They are aligned with Florida’s ELA and social studies benchmarks (for civics, government, and/or US history)
  • Civics Correlation Guide to Current K-5  Reading Series: This resource is connected to all current K-5 reading series being used in Florida, and illustrates will you will find some level of alignment with civics benchmarks.
  • K-5 Civics Modules: These extended lessons are aligned with civics and ELA benchmarks.
  • 7th Grade Applied Civics Resources: Here, you will find 35 lessons that have been developed to teach, with fidelity, the assessed civics benchmarks. On the page link provided, you will find lesson plans, power points, teacher-oriented content videos, and assessment items, among other things.
  • Civics Connection: Developed in partnership with College Board and the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, the Civics Connection provides video-based, internet-delivered set of lessons that engages former members of Congress to help high school students understand Congress and the issues it faces. Videos and resources are aligned to the AP U.S. Government and Politics curriculum and may be used in other government classes as well.

Besides the resources listed above, we have also partnered with the National Archives to offer a webinar series around their quality primary sources (which you can get to through the links here and here). We have also begun our own ongoing webinar series for Florida teachers, which you can access here and here.

This summer, we will be partnering with the DBQ Project to work with elementary teachers in moving their DBQs towards an engaged citizenship model, which we are very excited about.

The most significant new project we are launching (which is usable now) is Civics360.  Civics360 is an interactive civics review tool to help Florida students improve their understanding of civics. Civics360 is funded by the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida and provided by the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, in collaboration with the Escambia County School District, and targets the civic knowledge and skills necessary to succeed on Florida’s Civics End of Course Assessment. I will have a post that provides an overview of Civics360 before the weekend.

We also, at this time, provide some level of face to face professional development. I was, for example, in St. Johns this week working with teachers there. If you are interested in PD, please feel free to contact me.


The Staff of the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship

The FJCC has a small staff, but, we believe, a great one, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such wonderful people.

Dr. Doug Dobson: Dr. Dobson is the Executive Director of the Lou Frey Institute and a renowned advocate and leader in civics education in Florida and nationally. It is in many ways his leadership that helped the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Civic Education Act get passed.

Ms. Peggy Renihan: Ms. Renihan is FJCC’s program coordinator, based out of PAEC in the northern part of the state. In many ways, she is our ‘hands on’ person throughout the Panhandle and other areas of the state. She is one of the best PD professionals I have ever had the opportunity to work with.

Ms. Valerie McVey: Ms. McVey is the Curriculum Director for the FJCC, and our point person on curriculum development and resources. It is through her leadership, and the work of the rest of this great team and our collaborating teachers, that we have Civics in a Snap, Students Investigating Primary Sources, and our middle school lessons, among others.

Mr. Chris Spinale: Mr. Spinale has recently joined us as our new Action Civics Coordinator. He handles our mock election tools and resources, works on a variety of grant and curriculum related projects, and we will soon be planning an approach towards the C3 Framework and informed action.

Dr. Racine Jacques: Dr. Jacques is the brains behind the data. She provides us with data analysis on our our resources, as well as on civics teaching and learning in Florida and beyond.

Dr. Terri Susan Fine: Dr. Fine is a long time and well regarded professor here at UCF, within the political science department, and serves currently as our content specialist and as associate director of the Lou Frey Institute.

Dr. Elizabeth Washington: Dr. Washington is one of the most well-regarded social studies educators in the nation, and is a long time professor at the University of Florida. She currently serves as our pedagogy specialist.

Ms. Marcia Bexley: Ms. Bexley serves as the program manager of the Lou Frey Institute.  Marcia has worked with Congressman Lou Frey for the last 15+ years and shares his passion for Civics Education.  She’s our liaison with the Rotary Civics Bowl and raises money for us through the golf tournament she runs for LFI in joint with the National Center for Simulation, and her local outreach.

Mr. Mike Barnhardt: Mr. Barnhardt is our lead programmer and developer. Much of what you see of our web presence is his fine work, and we are excited to begin work on new iterations of that presence this summer, including an additional resource page, a dedicated webinar page, and more.

Mr. Lucas Cross: Mr. Cross has just joined us the assistant web developer.

Mr. Ryan Hill: Mr. Hill was brough on board to help develop the instructional design behind Civics360. We are very grateful for his work!

Ms. Shena Parks: Ms. Parks is the one behind the budget. She makes sure that our dreams are affordable. 🙂

Ms. Laura Stephenson: Ms. Stephenson is the executive assistant to Dr. Dobson, and in many ways the first person our colleagues and collaborators encounter. She keeps our schedules and makes sure this place runs smoothly.


There is a great deal more I can say about our partnerships and our work (with NARA and with the fine folks from CIRCLE, as well as leaders throughout Florida, for example), but I will save that for another time. If you have any questions about the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship, please feel free to contact me at any time!