Civics Literacy Conference

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Civics Literacy Conference

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate are excited to host the first annual Civics Literacy Conference on May 23, 2016.

The theme for the inaugural conference is "Serving America: Promising Practices for Building Literacy and Civic Learning.” The goals of the conference are to understand the role civic learning plays in maintaining our democracy, increase civic knowledge and engagement among K-12 students and make the natural connections between this discipline and literacy. Presenters will include K-12 educators as well as representatives from state, education and community organizations.

The Essential Question for the conference will be:

 What can educators and the state do to support civics learning and engagement for all students?

Agenda

Speakers at the Opening Plenary will include Jean MacCormack, President of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, and Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. The chairs of the Joint Committee on Education, Senator Sonia Chang Diaz and Representative Alice Peisch, have been invited to speak during the day as well. 

Meira Levinson, professor of education at Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of Making Civics Count and No Citizen Left Behind, will present research on building civic learning and engagement.

Participants will attend workshop sessions during the morning and afternoon organized around the six strands identified as “Promising Practices” in the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools report, Guardian of Democracy: the Civic Mission of Schools:

  1. Instruction in government, history, economics, law, democracy
  2. Discussion of current events and controversial issues
  3. Service learning
  4. Extracurricular activities
  5. School governance
  6. Simulations of the democratic process

Throughout the conference, participants will have the opportunity to experience the exhibits of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, including an interactive digital tour, an interactive simulation of a Senate debate on a topic of current importance. At the end of the day, participants will reconvene in the Senate Chamber to witness a re-enactment of selected scenes from a famous historic debate.

Time

Topic

Host(s)

8:00am

8:45am

Registration

Edward M. Kennedy Institute & ESE Staff

8:45am

9:00am

Welcome

 

Introduction of Commissioner

Jean MacCormack, President,  Edward M. Kennedy Institute

Brooke Clenchy, Senior Associate Commissioner, ESE

9:00am

9:45am

Opening Plenary Session

Mitchell Chester, Commissioner, ESE

9:45am

10:00am

Transition to Workshop Sessions

 

10:00am

11:15am

AM Workshop Sessions

State/Education/Community Leaders

11:15am

11:30am

Transition to Senate Chamber

 

11:30am

12:15pm

Presentation on Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Meira Levinson, Harvard Graduate School of Education

12:15pm

1:15pm

Lunch 

 

1:15pm

1:30pm

Transition to Workshop Sessions

 

1:30pm

2:45pm

PM Workshop Sessions

State/Education/Community Leaders

2:45pm

3:00pm

Transition to Senate Chamber

 

3:00pm

3:30pm

Simulated Senate “Great Debate”

Edward M. Kennedy Institute Staff

Sessions

AM Workshop Sessions

  • 1A Agents of Change
  • 2A Welcome, Senators! The EMK Institute SIM Experience
  • 3A Political, Not Partisan: How to Teach Controversial Issues without Becoming the Center of Controversy 
  • 4A Teaching for Democracy: How Edu-Gaming and Active Learning can Create Opportunities to Teach Practical Democracy Lessons to all Students
  • 5A Service-Learning: What is it and Why Do it?
  • 6A A Civic Leader's Perspective on Civic Learning and Engagement
  • 7A EMK Institute Programming

PM Workshop Sessions

  • 1B Providing Civic Literacy for our Students in the Twenty-First Century
  • 2B Debating the News: Using Current Events as Evidence to Form Arguments about the World
  • 3B Taking Informed Action
  • 4B High Quality Academic Work through Service Learning: Mobilizing Students to Research, Edit, Design and Publish Local Histories
  • 5B Student Government: Giving Students a Real Voice in Decision Making
  • 6B  Action Civics: Developing the Next Generation of Civic Leaders
  • 7B EMK Institute Programming

For descriptions of the sessions and more conference details, download the conference booklet below:

Civics Literacy Conference Booklet

Civic Literacy Conference Booklet - Word version

Registration

Please register online here. This event is free and all Massachusetts public school educators are welcome to attend. Space is limited, so register early! Due to space limitations, walk-in participants will not be admitted. 

For more information, contact: 
Position: 
Assistant Director of Professional Development for Digital Programs
Phone: 
413.586.4900 x5942
Email: 
sjudsonwhitehouse@collaborative.org