Civics for All

About Civics for All

Civic education is an essential part of every student’s core academic program. The DOE believes that teaching the foundations of American government and the democratic process is necessary to build a more engaged, active future citizen and informed voter.

Civics for All, an initiative that launched in Spring 2018, provides resources, programming, and professional learning to all NYC schools. The initiative focuses on education models that are interactive, project-based, and relevant to students’ lives.

Student Voter Registration Drive

As an integral part of Civics Week each year, the DOE hosts an annual Student Voter Registration drive for U.S. citizens who are 16 years of age or older. The Student Registration Drive isn’t currently running, however, eligible potential voters can register on the New York State website.

The Mayor's Public Engagement Unit has created a customized voter registration video for NYCDOE students explaining the voter registration process to share with your high school classrooms. 

Elected Officials

Year-round we encourage schools to work with students on understanding the role of the elected officials who represent them. To support this work some of New York's elected officials have created videos teaching students about their role and answering their questions. Videos with Elected Official’s names and titles are available in the Elected Official Videos for Civics for All document. This document also incorporates the corresponding Civics for All lessons that could be taught in addition to viewing each of the Elected Official's videos. After viewing your Elected Official’s videos, if your class would like to send a thank you message to your Elected Official you can submit your message in the Video Response Google Form.

Mikva Challenge's Ranked Choice Voting Lessons

In this year’s city primary election, New Yorkers will use Ranked Choice Voting - a system that allows voters to rank up to 5 candidates in order of preference instead of choosing just one. This new system will foster more positive, issue-focused campaigns, give voters more choice, and ensure that elected officials are accountable to a broader spectrum of their constituents. But it could also create added confusion for New Yorkers of all ages. The Mikva Challenge curriculum, made up of 5 lessons and activities, is meant to inform younger generations about this new way of voting. Exposing young people to Ranked Choice Voting will help prepare them before they enter the voting booth, and encourage them to educate their peers and communities about Ranked Choice Voting. These lessons were created by Mikva Challenge, in partnership with Citizens Union Foundation and supported by the New York Community Trust. A professional development session led by Mikva Challenge will be held on Monday, April 15 from 3:00 - 5:00 PM. Interested NYCDOE teachers can sign up for the professional learning session, Ranked Choice Voting: Bringing Voter Education Materials into the Classroom with Mikva Challenge and Civics for All on Eventsmart.

Civics for All Comics

Action Activists Resource Guide

The NYCDOE Civics for All and Social Studies team collaborated with Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, the authors of the well-regarded and highly popular Action Presidents and Action Philosophers series, to create Action Activists.

Action Activists is intended for middle school students. It can be used to teach about how our system of government works and how students can become civically engaged as a part of the Civics for All initiative. The resources linked in the resource guide have been curated to support teachers in using Action Activists in the classroom.

Registered Resource Guide

The NYCDOE Civics for All and Social Studies team collaborated with Good Trouble Comics to create Registered, a comic retelling of the passage of the 26th Amendment. Good Trouble Comics is a creative nonfiction team led by Andrew Aydin (co-author of the March trilogy), Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel), and Matt Fraction (Daredevil). The art and color for Registered was done by Val De Landro (X-Factor) and Marissa Louise (Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: A Graphic Narrative of a Slave’s Journey from Bondage to Freedom).

Registered is intended for high school students. It can be used to teach and celebrate youth voice, the importance of registering to vote, and civic empowerment as a part of the Civics for All initiative. The resources linked in the resource guide have been curated to support teachers in using Registered in the classroom.

Civics Week Poster 2021 Contest

New York City students in grades K through 12 are invited each Spring during Civics Week to showcase their artistic talent and civic engagement by participating in the annual NYCDOE Civics for All Poster Contest.

Submissions for the 2021 Civics Week Poster Contest are currently closed and results will be announced on this Civics for All InfoHub page in June 2021. 

The 2020 Civics for All Poster Contest winners are listed below:

  • K-2 Grade Band Winner: Maria Mantadakis with the poster titled “We Are One”
  • 3-5 Grade Band Winner: Sara Dong with the poster titled “Responsibilities & Rights”
  • 6-8 Grade Band Winner: Miceli Leung with the poster “The Power of One Person”
  • 9-12 Grade Band Winner: Franklin Payne with the poster titled “These Were His Weapons”

View winning posters

Curriculum

The K-12 civics curriculum is now available on WeTeachNYC!

A team of NYCDOE staff, New York City teachers, and various cultural partners developed the curriculum to be flexible enough to be usable in a number of different settings and configurations and to fit the needs of all New York City classrooms. Civics For All is a companion to the Passport to Social Studies, designed with the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework, the New York State Next Generation English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies Learning Standards, and the New York City K-12 Social Studies Scope & Sequence in mind.

The curriculum is organized into four different grade bands K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Each grade band contains two parts. Direct links to each of the grade bands and parts are listed below.

Schools can request additional copies of the civics curriculum using this Civics Request Form.

Classroom Resources for Teachers

  • Civics for All Curriculum - These sets of resources are the K-12 civics curriculum designed for New York City classrooms.
  • Visit a regularly updated list of materials and resources shared with us for Remote Learning Opportunities by Civics for All and Social Studies partners
  • Visit the TeachHub for Passport to Social Studies blended learning lessons.
  • The Grades K-12: Current Issues and Events folder located on TeachHub features the newly added Election 2020 Resources Guide and K-12: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Teaching Resources.
  • Participatory Budgeting In Your School - This guide includes resources and activities to help you lead a student-driven, democratic participatory budgeting process in your school.
  • Vote: An Instructional Guide to Elections - This resource includes guidance for student voter registration and activities to deepen student understanding of voting, elections, and political engagement.
  • Current Issues & Events are lesson plans and resources to aid in teaching current issues and events. 
  • More resources will be added as they become available. Please check back for more.

Opportunities

Civics for All Partner School

The Civics for All Partner School Program is an opportunity for schools of all grade levels to implement the Civics for All initiative while receiving support from Civics for All Coaches and civics advocacy organizations. Partner Schools will receive guidance in implementing instructional resources, accessing authentic civic learning opportunities, and implementing age appropriate civic action and real-life democracy projects.

2021-2022 Partner School Applications are now available online! The deadline to apply for the Civics for All Partner School Program is May 15, 2021. 

Partnerships

Civics for All fosters partnerships between civics organizations and Civics for All Partner Schools. Organizations collaborate with DOE Civics Instructional Leads to support schools in their implementation of the Civics for All civic action projects.

Schools receive individualized support to meet shared NYC DOE goals. Organizations that have existing partnerships with DOE schools are encouraged to continue those relationships in support of the goals of the Civics for All initiative.

To get involved, email civicsforall@schools.nyc.gov.

Events

Civics Week

Civics Week is a time each spring for schools across the city to celebrate youth voice, civic empowerment, and the importance of registering to vote. Part of the Civics for All initiative, supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s DemocracyNYC, Civics Week includes efforts to get every young person to understand that their voice matters and that they can create change as active participants of their community.

SoapboxNYC

SoapboxNYC is a public speaking competition that calls on students to speak out about issues that affect them and their communities. Students create and advocate for solutions to improve their schools, communities, and the lives of other young people. Watch the Welcome to Project Soapbox video to see the event in action. 

Contact

For specific questions, or to learn more about Civics for All, email civicsforall@schools.nyc.gov.

See Also

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