NY Civic Learning Week

NY Civic Learning Week 2024 Webinar Series

From critical panel discussions on civic readiness to meaningful conversations around civic engagement in the digital world, here’s everything you missed from the DemocracyReady NY New York Civic Learning Week webinar series:

The Second Annual Summit on Civic Readiness, Civics Gets Real: Teaching Civic Readiness Amid Increased Political Conflict 


The Second Annual Civic Readiness Summit explored teaching civic readiness amid increased political polarization, featuring opening remarks by Teachers College President Thomas Bailey, a keynote by SUNY Chancellor and former US Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., and a panel discussion with school stakeholders moderated by Cynthia Sandler of the North Salem Central School District. TC's Jonathan Collins concluded the event by hearing from policymakers, including NYS Senate Education Committee Chair Shelley Mayer, Jay Worona, Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel of the New York State School Boards Association, and Jeffrey Matteson, Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy at the NYS Education Department.


Authentic Assessment of Civic Readiness: The Challenges of Implementation


In a webinar event hosted by Democracy Ready NY and iCivics, the Center for Educational Equity's Michael Rebell unpacked critical questions like, “Can we get beyond the limits of standardized testing?” “Can we have authentic assessments that are flexible and reliable?” and “What are the equity implications of performance-based assessments?”

Speakers David Kidd, head of research of the Democracy Knowledge Project at Harvard University, Margarita Olivera-Aguilar, Senior Researcher of American Institutes of Research, and Phyllis Tashlik, Director of the Center for Inquiry at the NYS Performance Standards Consortium, discussed each of the cutting-edge responses their centers are leading to address the challenges of implementing authentic assessment. 


What’s a School's Role? Learning Civic Engagement in a Digital World  (A Youth-Led Event)


On Thursday, the DemocracyReady NY youth members, composed of high school students across from New York State, moderated a panel discussion on Civic Education in our digital world. They spoke with youth activists from Encode Justice and AI Consensus and interviewed media literacy educator Chris Sperry of Project Look Sharp at Ithaca College and Dr. Betty A. Rosa, New York Commissioner of Education, to investigate how schools have adapted to the rise of artificial intelligence, online misinformation, and digital activism. The youth moderators explored critical questions about what school educators, leaders, and policymakers need to know about responsible technology.


Voice & Choice: Civic Education the Early Grades 


How can educators help our youngest citizens, who are inherently passionate about justice, liberty, and happiness, create a foundation of civic-mindedness? On Friday, New York State Regent Frances G. Wills joined a panel of educators and students in a special event moderated by Rashid Duroseau of Democracy Prep Public Schools to address best practices for early civic learning. The event was produced by Inquiring Minds Institute

New York Civic Learning Week Social Media & Communications Toolkit

Use this social media & communications toolkit to spread the word about your Civic Learning Week activities. Tag us on social media and we'll share the message! @DemocracyReadyNy @EduEquity










Click here to download the New York Civic Learning Week logo and social media graphics to use for your event promotions. 

Use this sample outreach email template to spread the word about ways to get involved during NY Civic Learning Week. This template was adapted from the iCivics Civic Learning Week General Marketing Toolkit found here.

Ideas for New York Civic Learning Week Activities and Events

Possible NY Civic Learning Week Activities for Educators and Other Stakeholders

Join DemocracyReady NY in celebrating NY Civic Learning Week. Plan one (or more) of these activities for preK-12 students during the week of March 11-15, 2024, and we’ll help you publicize them.

Show us how you’re celebrating! Share pictures on social media! #NYCivicLearning2024 #DemocracyReadyNY #NYCivicReadiness

To download and share the social media toolkit and list of activities find a Google document version here. 

Community Service 

Provide youth and other community members with community service, service learning, or volunteering opportunities in your area.

Develop a Lesson Plan

Facing History and Ourselves offers a guide with a flexible collection of activities, readings, lessons, and strategies designed to help you develop a meaningful civic education experience in your classroom.

Watch the KidCivics video series from Inquiring Minds Institute for inspiration on classroom conversations. The series is designed by kids to help children and adults understand how children can thrive during their time in school by engaging in democratic civic thinking and doing. 

In New York City, Civics for All provides resources, materials, professional learning, and student-facing programming to all NYCDOE schools. The initiative focuses on K-12 culturally responsive civic education models that are interactive, project-based, and relevant to students’ lives.

Essay Writing Contest

Raise a question about the importance of civic education for youth to think and write about; offer a prize and/or opportunity for publication during Civic Learning Week.  Last year, DemocracyReady NY youth members wrote reflective essays after their Civic Learning Week experiences.

Host an Elected Official

Host a meeting, assembly, or classroom discussion with a school board member, legislator, or other local elected official. 

Media Literacy 

Plan lessons encouraging students to build media literacy skills by asking key questions about content on YouTube, TikTok, or other social media. Visit Project Look Sharp’s website for free classroom materials! 

Another example from The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) is this lesson plan for grade 3-5 educators. 

Multigenerational Advocacy

Create a multigenerational group of people to call elected officials and engage in advocacy about the importance of civic learning, media literacy, or other specific issues.

Op-Ed Writing 

Plan lessons that encourage students to write op-eds and letters to the editor of a local publication or student newspaper on the importance of civic learning, media literacy, or another civic topic they care about. Here are some helpful resources from the Op-Ed Project.

Plan a Debate 

Plan a debate on a school policy or other topic of interest to school community members. Check out this Classroom Debate Guide from iCivics. 

Show a Movie 

Show a movie that raises awareness about the importance of civic participation.

Student Interviews 

Provide opportunities for students to interview policy makers and educators supporting effective civic education through print or video.

Student Podcasts 

Encourage students to choose an issue that matters to them (local, state, national, or global), then make an audio or video commentary or podcast on that issue, combining personal experience and research/evidence. Here are examples from the Next Generation Politics youth-led podcast “The Round Table” 

Town Hall Meeting

Plan a town hall meeting to discuss what the civic mission of schooling means to your school or community.

Need more inspiration? Here is a link to New York Civic Learning Week 2023 events.

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