About Civics for All
Launched in 2018, 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.
At Civics for All (CFA), our mission is to cultivate civically ready students across NYC Public Schools K-12 by collaborating with teachers, education leaders, and partners. We are strongly committed to developing teacher capacity to harness democratic practices in all schools, empowering students to develop civics skills, knowledge, and mindsets. By providing comprehensive resources, professional opportunities, and teacher-developed tools, we strive to establish vibrant learning environments where students demonstrate the necessary skills and disposition to protect and expand our democratic ideals. Through collaborative external partnerships, we activate student and teacher learning, bringing democracy in New York City to life. Together with districts, school communities, and external partners, we champion student voice, support teachers' civic instruction, and build democratic classrooms across grades K-12. Our goal is to foster a lifelong commitment to civic action, enabling students to positively impact their local and global communities.
The K-12 civics curriculum is 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.
- Civics for All K-2: K-2 Part 1, K-2 Part 2
- Civics for All 3-5: 3-5 Part 1, 3-5 Part 2
- Civics for All 6-8: 6-8 Part 1, 6-8 Part 2
- Civics for All 9-12: 9-12 Part 1, 9-12 Part 2
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 the TeachHub for Passport to Social Studies blended learning lessons.
- The Grades K-12 Current Issues and Events page features regularly updated resources for addressing current events in the classroom.
- 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 on WeTeach to aid in teaching current issues and events.
- The Civics for All Student Government Resources folder includes lesson plans, projects, and suggested resources for building student governments at the school level.
- The Department of Social Studies and Civics' Civics for All Comics Group began as a collaboration between the NYCDOE, creators Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, and Good Trouble Productions with the publishing of Action Activists #1 and Registered #1 in 2020. Since then, the comics group imprint has grown, developing social studies and civics comics as companions to several of our resources.
More resources will be added as they become available. Please check back for more.
Civics for All Partner School
The Civics for All Partner School Program is an opportunity for schools of all grade levels to implement Civics for All while receiving support from Civics for All Coaches and civics advocacy organizations. Partner Schools receive guidance in implementing instructional resources, accessing authentic civic learning opportunities, and implementing age appropriate civic action and real-life democracy projects. In addition to the curriculum, schools receive targeted support implementing three major components of Civics for All: SoapboxNYC, Participatory Budgeting, and Take Action! For questions regarding partner school applications, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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. Civics Week 2024 will take place March 11–15th, 2024.
During the week, K–12 schools across the City celebrate youth voice, civic empowerment, and the importance of registering to vote. Each year Civics for All shares resources to help prepare schools to organize Civics Week events. In past years, schools have held poster contests, Project Soapbox speech celebrations, guest speaker Q&As, hosted local elected officials, and sent students to attend citywide youth summits.
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. Next year’s student voter registration drive will take place in NYCDOE high schools from March 11–15th, 2024.
Civics for All Poster Contest
New York City students in grades K through 12 are invited to showcase their civic engagement and artistic talent by participating in the annual NYCDOE Civics for All Poster Contest. The annual poster contest encourages students to:
- Learn about important issues
- Realize why student voice matters
- Understand and amplify why voting and active civic participation are important
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 former and current 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.
Participatory Budgeting In Your Schools Program Participatory
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is one of the components of Civics for All's Partner School Program. PB is a student-driven, democratic budgeting process where school community members decide how to spend part of a budget on something to improve the school community. Participatory Budgeting in schools tends to run each school year from November–March. In 2023-24 we have over 400 schools participating in the PB process!
To learn more about Participatory Budgeting in schools or how to become a Partner School, reach out to email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SoapboxNYC is a public speaking experience 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.
Seal of Civic Readiness
The New York State Seal of Civic Readiness (NYSSCR) is a distinction on student diplomas that encourages civic knowledge and participation through experiential learning and the engagement of youth voice, leadership, and action. It lets employers and post-secondary institutions know that students have developed the competencies central to being an active member of a community and society. In addition to serving as a special endorsement on student diplomas, the Seal of Civic Readiness is a graduation pathway, meaning it can stand in for the fifth Regents exam for a Regents or Local diploma.
Civics for All manages the NYSSCR for NYC schools. The Department of Social Studies & Civics has led work in the State to ensure that students are given access to the highest quality civic learning experiences and achieve civic readiness as a result of their K–12 education, while also emphasizing the importance of social studies, civics, and humanities education as central to the development of life-long skills and success. If you are a NYCDOE high school that wants to grant the Seal of Civic Readiness, inquire with email@example.com to learn more.
For specific questions or to learn more about Civics for All, email firstname.lastname@example.org.