December 2022

Illinois Civics Hub Newsletter
A newsletter for Illinois teachers to support the implementation of the Illinois middle and high school civics course requirements and K-12 social science standards.
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Resources Aligned with Six Competencies of the Revised Illinois Social Science Standards

The Illinois State Board of Education hosted a webinar earlier this fall, debuting the six competencies of the revised social science standards. The competencies include:

  • Recognize perspectives
  • Evaluate systems, inequity, and power
  • Investigate the world
  • Conduct analysis and draw conclusions
  • Communicate effectively
  • Take action to effect change and reflect

The Illinois Civics Hub has created a document that provides Resources and Strategies aligned to the Six Competencies of the Revised Social Science Standards.

For more resources to support standards implementation, visit the Illinois Civics Hub site and click the Social Science Standards and Course Mandates tab.

'Tis the Season for Service Learning

The month of December marks the season of giving. It's filled with toy drives and warm-clothing collections for those in need. These school traditions are the perfect opportunity for classrooms across disciplines to engage in the proven practice of service learning.

Service learning differs from community service in that student actions are informed by the curriculum that is designed around essential questions addressing responsibility, empathy, and power. Imagine how much more effective the annual food drive could be if students investigated the root causes of hunger in their community to deeply understand why their food drive is needed and advocate for practices and policies that promote sustainable change. A project to collect items for the local Veterans' home could be informed by research and interviews of individuals and organizations, resulting in a more robust donation of goods and a deeper understanding of government institutions that impact veterans and their families.

When students’ actions or “what” is informed by a clear understanding of their “why,” students develop agency and the ability to be important partners in addressing the essential question, “How shall we live together?”

As we embark on this season of reflection and giving, think about how you can enhance the holiday traditions of your school to embrace the proven practice of service learning. Keep in mind that the most effective service-learning projects have the following characteristics in common:

  • There is student ownership and voice in selecting the issue(s).
  • The informed action meets actual community needs.
  • The initiative is coordinated in collaboration with the school and community.
  • Service learning is a natural extension of the curriculum.
  • The initiative is an opportunity to apply academic skills and knowledge in an authentic context.
  • The activity allows a young person to think and reflect on the service-learning experience.
  • The service-learning fosters Social Emotional Learning dispositions.

For more information and tools to support service learning, visit the Illinois Civics Hub Service Learning Toolkit. You can also participate in asynchronous professional development to enhance your practice of service learning through the Guardians of Democracy Microcredential Program.

Administrator Academies Support Implementation of Revised IL Social Science Standards

This past July, the revised Illinois Social Science standards and new course mandates went into effect for the 2022-23 school year.

Our work to support the implementation of the revised standards and course mandates continues this fall with a series of Administrator Academies offered virtually to give school-based teams equitable opportunities to enhance their practice.


These Academies are open to administrators and teachers for either academy credit or PD hours. School-based teams are encouraged to participate and will have an opportunity to collaborate and reflect on learning through each session. Individual participants will have the opportunity to work with affinity groups in breakout rooms.

Visit the Illinois Civics Hub for more information on professional development to support rigorous and relevant civic learning.

Reading Like a Historian to Teach Inclusive History with the Stanford History Education Group

Join the Illinois Civics Hub (ICH) as we welcome back Dr. Joel Breakstone from the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) to explore how SHEG resources can support the implementation of the revised Illinois social science standards and course mandates to examine America's plural yet shared story.

The webinar is FREE, and PD credits are available through the DuPage Regional Office of Education. Register for the January 18th webinar from 3:30-4:45 p.m. CT using this link.

Future ICH webinars include:

You can visit the ICH Professional Development page for more opportunities to enhance your practice.

Helping Students Navigate the Public Policy Process

with Dr. Shawn P. Healy

Join Dr. Shawn P. Healy, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy at iCivics, for an informative discussion on how to help students across the discipline navigate the public policy process. Explore resources and strategies to help ALL students form a more perfect union.

The Illinois Democracy Schools webinar is FREE, and PD credits are available through the DuPage Regional Office of Education. Register for the January 12 webinar (4-5 p.m. CT) using this link.

Future webinars include:

  • 2/9- Student Voice 360: Learn how to embrace a “360” approach to student voice in schools that impacts classroom instruction and schoolwide culture, climate, and engagement with the greater community.
  • 3/9- Taking Informed Action with Data from the Illinois Democracy Schools: Join Dr. Kelly Siegel-Stechler, Senior Researcher at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement CIRCLE at Tufts University, for a lively discussion about what we can learn from the Illinois Democracy Schools data enhance civic learning across the disciplines and create a more supportive organizational culture.

You can visit the ICH Professional Development page for more opportunities to enhance your practice.

iCivics Civics Service and Leadership Program

iCivics believes that civics education provides a platform for teaching students a service mindset and leadership skills. The iCSL program is about applying that lens of service and leadership to iCivics resources within the classroom. 

Who is this opportunity for? 

What does the opportunity include? 

  • A chance to join the program this spring as a pilot participant
  • Opportunities to test new resources in civics education
  • Access to professional development and instructional support
  • Participant stipends

Applications due December 2, 2022

Questions? email to

MyImpact Challenge with BRI

MyImpact Challenge is a civic engagement contest hosted by the Bill of Rights Institute. The goal is simple: foster a robust understanding of citizenship and get students active in their communities now!

Student service projects can win up to $10,000, with $40,000 in total prizes available to students and teachers. Every project that meets the entry guidelines will be rewarded with a digital Civic Achievement badge.

Click here to learn more!

Media LIteracy Resources from Retro Report

Did you hear about the 3-D recreation of Adam that looked like actor Vin Diesel? Or the daisies growing in Japan that were deformed by the radiation leak from the Fukushima nuclear power plant? Odds are that you and your students have come across some intriguing but false narratives around a viral image. This 3-minute video and the accompanying lesson will introduce you and your students to reverse image search, an effective tool in determining whether photos posted online are authentic.

The video tells the true story of a U.S. veteran whose stolen profile image has been used dozens of times in scams soliciting cash and gifts from sympathetic victims. Each year, unsuspecting victims lose millions of dollars to online fraud.

This video is part of a new media literacy collection aimed at cultivating digital skills.

Join the National Archives Foundation for

Holiday History Trivia Night!

The National Archives Foundation will host a virtual evening of fun historical facts, a prize giveaway, and more. To celebrate the opening of the Archives' newest exhibit, All American: The Power of Sports, this year's trivia will feature a sports category.

  • Date: Monday, December 5, 2022
  • Time: 5 pm
  • Location: Virtual

Think you have what it takes to make it to the top? Put on your thinking caps, grab a pen and paper, and join Executive Director Patrick Madden and our special emcee from District Trivia for game night.

Register Today

Introducing Street Law's New Legal Timelines Website

Join Street Law on December 8 at 3 p.m. CT for a webinar on their new website. This joint project with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources contains three thematic timelines, plus more than 15 primary source-based inquiry packs. Take a walk through what's available on the website, how to navigate it, feedback from pilot teachers, and how these resources can be integrated into 6th-12th grade classroom instruction.

Register Today!

Apply for the Street Law Supreme Court Summer Institute

The application period for the 2023 Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers is open until March 1, 2023. 

Each year, Street Law selects 60 teachers from a pool of applicants to come to Washington for six days of educational activities that strengthen and expand instruction about the U.S. Supreme Court. The Institute is funded and delivered in partnership with the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Teachers participate in sessions led by Supreme Court experts, journalists, and lawyers, as well as Street Law's Cathy Ruffing and Lee Arbetman. The Institute covers six current (or recent cases) and prepares teachers to use innovative methods to teach about both current and historical cases.

Visit the Street Law website for more details and/or to apply.

2022 Elections Highlight New Education

Leadership and Priorities

Elections usher in new leadership, priorities and change. Education Commission of the States resources captures those details for you. 

  • This popular one-pager illustrates key changes in state leadership as it relates to education policy.  
  • This Ed Note blog post captures the 2023 education priorities of each new governor-elect.

  • Ed Note’s annual post focuses on the outcomes of education-related ballot initiatives, plus changes in state leadership and the subsequent impact on education policy.
  • Use ECS’ Education Governance Dashboard to get up to date on governance models and structures throughout early learning, K-12 and postsecondary education across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Join Asian Americans Advancing Justice for Free PD to Support the T.E.A.A.C.H. Act

With its historic passage in April of 2021, the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (T.E.A.A.C.H.) Act amended Illinois School Code, ensuring every public elementary and high school student in Illinois learns about the contributions of Asian Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States.

The Illinois Civics Hub is partnering with Asian Americans Advancing Justice to offer FREE PD hours to K-12 educators looking to deepen their own understanding of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) history as well as classroom resources to support cross-cultural education for all students in Illinois aligned with the revised social science standards.

Educators can click the links below to choose from the following webinar opportunities:

Be sure to visit the Asian Americans Advancing Justice site for more resources to implement the T.E.A.A.C.H. Act.

Earn Your Microcredentials: Become a Guardian of Democracy Educator

The Illinois Civics Hub has partnered with the Lou Frey Institute at the University of Central Florida to provide educators the opportunity to earn their microcredentials in the proven practices of civic education embedded in the middle and high school civics course requirements in Illinois. Courses include:

  • Current and Controversial Issue DiscussionsLearn from academic experts Dr. Diana Hess & Dr. Paula McAvoy as you explore the purpose, role, and function of discussion strategies as pedagogical tools to equip young people to be engaged citizens. This course will enhance the practice of educators with strategies and resources to create a classroom climate in which there are equitable opportunities for ALL students to engage in dialogue about essential questions across the curriculum.
  • Simulations of Democratic ProcessesLearn from academic experts Dr. Walter Parker & Dr. Jane Lo as you explore how democratic processes and procedures occur as part of the regular functioning of government, in each of the three branches of government, and at each level of government. This course will guide you through the purpose, planning, and implementation of three simulations: town hall meetings, legislative hearings, and moot courts.
  • Informed Action through Service LearningLearn from academic experts Dr. Joseph Kahne and Jessica Marshall as you explore the purpose, role, and function of informed action through service learning as a pedagogical tool to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be active members of their community. In this course, you will interact with strategies and tools that you can use in your classroom to support student-centered informed action through service learning.

Registration information is available on the Guardians of Democracy  homepage. Those who successfully complete the 5-week online course will earn a Bronze Certified Guardian of Democracy Educator badge via Badgr and the University of Central Florida Center for Distributive Learning.

Participants can earn 15 PD hours through the DuPage Regional Office of Education for an additional fee.

There are three strands of courses for each proven practice of civics education. Graduate credit is available through the University of St. Francis for completing all three courses. For more information, please visit the Guardians of Democracy homepage.

Winter Reading Recommendations

Winter break is a time for many of us to relax, reflect, and recalibrate after the first half of the school year. Reading for pleasure or professional development is a welcome respite for many educators. We asked some of our regional civics instructional coaches for their reading recommendations. Here are some of their picks:

Tracy Freeman (Livingston, McClean, Ford, Champaign, Vermillion, Piatt, Macon, Dewitt, Logan, Douglas, Edgar, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Moultrie, Shelby, Jasper, Crawford, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Clay, Wayne, Hamilton, Franklin, Williamson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Marion, Gallatin, Saline, White and Edwards Counties):

  • Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is a fascinating story about healthcare and the extra problems around the South in the 1970s. Inspired by true events and powerful!

Logan Ridenour (St. Clair, Clinton, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Jackson, Union, Monroe, Alexander, Washington, and Pulaski Counties):

Mary Jane Warden (North Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, and Winnebago Counties):

Matt Wood (West Cook, DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb Counties):

  • With The Holy Vote, Ray Suarez explores the advent of this polarization and how it profoundly changes how we live our lives. With hands-on reporting, Suarez explores the attitudes and beliefs of the people behind the voting numbers, the places in which these new beliefs are being born, and how the political divide is manifesting itself across the country. 

  • Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned. Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

Corie Yow (Menard, Sangamon, Macoupin, Christian, Montgomery, Bond, Fayette, Effingham, Madison, Jersey, Greene, and Calhoun Counties):

  • We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza is a powerful story of how a tragic event severely tests the bond of friendship between two women, one black and one white. 

Connect with your Regional Coach today! Visit our website to learn more, and reach out to receive their monthly regional email.


This monthly newsletter from the Illinois Civics Hub, hosted at the DuPage Regional Office of Education, provides educators with timely professional development opportunities and classroom resources. Follow our blog for weekly updates on emerging research on civics, “teachable moments,” and related materials.