The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is launching the CivicLearningSD initiative this school year to support schools and districts in promoting civic engagement for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Today’s students are becoming increasingly more involved in important civic issues and are looking for ways to make a positive difference in their communities. At the same time, they are living in an era of increased political discord and social unrest.
The CivicLearningSD initiative aims to support K-12 educators as they develop civic learning plans, create safe and welcoming classroom spaces, and provide civic learning opportunities that connect students to current events.
“Part of our logo is ‘Future without boundaries’ and that includes helping our youth to be successful and engaged students who have the tools to build a world where they can thrive,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County superintendent of schools. “It’s more important than ever for the educational community to provide relevant and engaging opportunities for civic learning.”
In September 2020, the State Board of Education adopted criteria and guidance to award a State Seal of Civic Engagement to students who demonstrate excellence in civic education and participation as well as an understanding of our country and state constitutions and the democratic system of government.
CivicLearningSD builds on the State Seal of Civic Engagement to help elementary, middle, and high schools create pathways to civic life.
The CivicLearningSD initiative includes a new resources webpage, a regional event, ongoing professional learning to provide ideas and tools for districts and schools as they develop civic learning plans at their sites.
“We’re excited to boost civic learning and engagement with our young people and help them to be involved and connected with the issues important to them and their community,” shared Matt Hayes, SDCOE history-social science coordinator.
The first learning opportunity on Sept. 30 focuses on the Seal of Civic Engagement and developing K-12 civic learning pathways. In October, there will be another session on integrating civic learning into the history-social science classroom.
This year’s work will culminate in the spring with the Civic Learning Conference and Showcase hosted by SDCOE in collaboration with the San Diego Civic Learning Partnership and the San Diego Unified School District.
Educators and young people are encouraged to share their civic learning projects using #CivicLearningSD on social media.