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Making Civics Learning a Nationwide Priority for a Stronger Democracy

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Shortly after being elected Wisconsin state superintendent in 2021, Dr. Jill Underly established civics as a priority for her administration. On March 11, Dr. Underly will expand on that priority and speak of the importance of civics education at the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies annual conference.

The theme of this years’ conference is “Many Voices, One Wisconsin,” and focuses on shared histories and civic identities. There are a variety of opportunities for professional learning in civics at the conference -- check out the schedule and agenda on the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies website, and register through the event registration page. Attending this conference is a great way to close out the end of National Civic Learning Week!

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Why Civic Engagement?

Join Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Social Studies Consultant Kris McDaniel on Tuesday, March 7 at 4 p.m. CST for an overview of what's happening in Wisconsin civics education and a highlight of some of the national virtual presentations for National Civic Learning Week (March 6-10, 2023)! You can also find this information and other civic education updates on the state landing website.

The theme of the inaugural National Civic Education Week March 6-10, 2023, is “Making Civics Learning a Nationwide Priority for a Stronger Democracy.” Civics education helps students situate themselves within the greater society they live in, as well as helping them connect with others and their communities. Not only that, but civic education helps students be informed and active members of society.

Civic Learning Week gives educators and community members the opportunity to see what is happening in real classrooms across the country. The Opening Forum at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (but accessible virtually with free registration) is on Tuesday, March 7 at 8:30 a.m. CST. There are many online opportunities for Wisconsin educators to participate in National Civic Learning week. Some highlights include a focus on media literacy, the use of simulations in the classroom, digital storytelling, and lots of specific content focus, such as the First Amendment and the electoral college. There are even some sessions your students can attend!

The Wisconsin Civic Learning Coalition is partnering with the Civic Health of Wisconsin Initiative, the League of Women Voters, and WisconsinEYE to create and disseminate a toolkit for Wisconsin schools to share information about voting, elections, and youth voter registration. Information will be available on their website on March 6. You can also join the WCLC or subscribe to their mailing list. The DPI is partnering with WCLC on various projects, and a number of members of the coalition are participating in the Wisconsin Civics Scope & Sequence work.

#sschat on Twitter will be hosted by the CivXNow Coalition on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m. CST. You can join live, or check out the archives later. #sschat is a “network of educators that started on Twitter but expanded to Facebook and an annual NCSS unconference." They are live on Twitter every Monday evening.

The Civic Learning Week website also provides links to the resources of their presenters, in case you can’t attend a virtual presentation. These include partners such as the National Archives, iCivics, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and the Democratic Knowledge Project.

By Civic Learning Week 2024, the DPI will have so much more to share -- a K-12 suggested scope and sequence for civics and social studies, a plethora of resources curated into WISELearn and aligned to our state standards, and perhaps even a few events of our own -- the sky’s the limit!

This item was submitted by Kristen McDaniel, Social Studies Consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.