February 2023

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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Using SCOTUS Cases to Teach Inclusive History

with the ABA Division of Public Education

Join the Illinois Civics Hub as we welcome the American Bar Association Division for Public Education to walk through how SCOTUS can be used to teach inclusive history. Explore how key SCOTUS cases can be used to implement the revised social science standards and civics course mandates, as well as inclusive history course mandates in:

  • Teaching Inclusive Asian American Community History
  • Inclusive Curriculum (LGBTQ History)
  • Contributions of Faith Traditions to U.S. History.

The webinar is FREE, and PD credits are available through the DuPage Regional Office of Education. Register for the February 15th 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.

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 spring 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.

Resources for Black History Month

The Black History Month website is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. This website provides ready-to-use lesson plans, activities, and collection guides that utilize primary sources spanning the course of American History.

There are numerous civic learning providers who have created resources to teach black history this month and beyond. Here are several to explore:

Political Cartooning Youth Media Challenge

Incorporating art projects in history, English and social science classrooms helps students practice communication and exercise their civic voice. The Political Cartooning Youth Media Challenge is a low-lift media project for busy teachers and a high-impact project for students to express their creativity.

KQED's free Political Cartooning Classroom Curriculum guides students through analysis, topic selection and cartoon creation to develop a unique piece of editorial artwork that reflects students’ views on a topic important to them. This project is perfect for middle and high school students in English, social studies, journalism, and art classes.

Your students can then publish their editorial cartoons to KQED’s Youth Media Challenge Showcase, which gives students an authentic public media audience beyond their classroom. Select submissions are also shared on KQED’s digital channels (including posts like this!) and with PBS and NPR member stations around the country. Check it out today!

League of Women Voters Issues Briefing

Register for the 2023 Issues Briefing sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Illinois for their annual look at current issues, along with legislation being considered in the Illinois General Assembly. Learn from legislators and nonpartisan experts—be informed and prepared so you can advocate for change in your community and state.  
A full day of programming on Zoom provides opportunities for anyone with internet access to take a deeper look at issues facing Illinois today. Learn about defending democracy against threats to elections and how to use grassroots power to get a bill passed. Choose from sessions on racism in schools, carbon capture/sequestration, juvenile justice, housing, gun violence and reproductive rights.
llinois teachers can earn 5 Professional Development credits for participating in all 4 sessions of 2023 Issues Briefing by the League of Women Voters of Illinois.
Register to get briefed on February 18!
Note: The $30 registration fee is waived for students, and complimentary registration is available on request.

ABA/FJC Summer Institute in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Judicial Center (FJC) is the research and education agency of the judicial branch of the United States Government. The Center supports the efficient, effective administration of justice and judicial independence. Its status as a separate agency within the judicial branch, its specific missions, and its specialized expertise enable it to pursue and encourage critical and careful examination of ways to improve judicial administration.

Join the ABA Division for Public Education and the FJC in Washington, DC for this unique teachers’ professional development using great federal trials as a lens to explore the judiciary, rule of law, and US Constitution throughout American history. During the Summer of 2023, participants will explore Olmstead v. US and US v. NYTimes (the Pentagon Papers case).

When:  June 25-30, 2023

Where:  Washington, DC (travel and lodging costs included)

Applications due March 10. Use this link to apply

Questions? Email catherine.hawke@americanbar.org to know when we open applications.

Do Youth Feel Qualified to Participate in Democracy?

The Center for Information and Research on Civics Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University's latest analysis of post-election surveys of young people highlights some key trends in how youth are feeling about their own participation in political life, democratic institutions, and the learning and engagement opportunities some are still lacking:

  • Less than half of youth say they're confident about democracy right now, but twice as many believe in its power to create change.
  • More than 75% of young people say they believe their generation has the power to change the country and that they can get involved.
  • Forty percent say they feel well-qualified to participate in politics, but youth of color and those without college experience feel less likely.

To read the complete report, visit the CIRCLE site.

ICSS Call for Session Proposals

The Illinois Council for the Social Studies and Department of History at Eastern Illinois University invites session proposals for the ICSS Spring 2023 Conference, held on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, on Friday, March 31, 2023.


The landscapes in which social studies is learned and taught are increasing in complexity. With both exponential growth in resources for inquiry and often uninformed critique of what takes place in classrooms, social studies professionals must navigate barriers and recognize opportunities. Dialogue is needed to support and grow the important work of historical, geographic, economic, and civic development of future generations. The theme “Social Studies in Today’s Landscape” encourages presenters and conference participants to consider the intersectionality of external processes with the dynamics of a diverse range of social studies learning spaces. Three strands are of specific focus:

  1. Doing justice with social studies
  2. Cultivating informed and engaged citizens
  3. Pedagogy, Best Practices, and Partnerships

The ICSS Spring Conference engages practicing PK-12 social studies teachers, preservice teachers, university faculty, social studies researchers, and concerned citizens. Participants will explore a variety of topics and sessions that are pertinent to social studies students and teachers in the field across grade levels and social studies content areas.

For more information and to submit a proposal, visit the ICSS website.

Media Literacy for Grades 3-5 and Early Learners

Join PBS Wisconsin Education for a discussion on implementing media literacy in the classroom and developing strategies to teach students how to be savvy consumers of information and media. The webinar will take place on March 22 from 4-5:30 p.m. CT. You can register using this link.

A webinar on media literacy for early learners will be held on April 3 starting at 4 p.m. CT. You can register using this link.  

What Does it Mean to Hit the Debt Ceiling?

The debt ceiling, or debt limit, is a Congressionally established cap on the total amount of money that the federal government is authorized to borrow to meet its financial obligations. Recently, the U.S. national debt surpassed the $31.4 trillion dollar debt ceiling. 

iCivics has resources to help you teach about the federal budget, government spending, and this current event. 

Game: People’s Pie Give your students the opportunity to set the federal budget, analyze federal tax and spending policies, and manage public approval. Students make hard decisions to fund projects, pay debts, and reach a balanced budget (or even surplus!).     

Lesson Plan: Government Spending This lesson tackles a variety of topics related to government spending, including the federal budget, mandatory versus discretionary spending, and government debt. Students learn the difference between a surplus and a deficit, the basics of federal budgeting, and the method the government uses to borrow money.  

Youth Resistance in Nazi Germany from Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

February 22, 2023, marks the 80th anniversary of the execution of members of the White Rose resistance group: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst. While perhaps the most well-known of the German resistance groups, there were others created and led by young people in Germany, including Edelweiss Pirates, Swing Youth, and those led by Hanno Günther and Helmuth Hübener. Learning about youth and student-led resistance counters misperceptions that the Nazi regime brainwashed German young people who had no choice but to conform, and instead demonstrates the agency and power they truly had. Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center are hosting a virtual workshop to provide historical background on the resistance of young people in Nazi Germany, examine primary source documents to use in classrooms, and feature Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Take a Stand Center resources to empower students to resist hatred, prejudice, and indifference today.

Workshop Includes:

  • 1.5 Clock Hours
  • Classroom Resources

FInd out more and register to participate today!

New Checkology Lesson! Harm & Distrust

Harm & Distrust is the latest lesson from the News Literacy Project (NLP) that examines the harm caused by some mainstream news organizations in their coverage of marginalized communities, and the legacies of distrust that have resulted. While we at NLP are strong proponents of the important role that standards-based news organizations play in our lives and in democracy, we also recognize the importance of learning from significant failures of the press and what we can do.

“Harm & Distrust” is an opportunity to explore an aspect of those shortcomings through the lens of coverage of Black Americans. As with all of our Checkology lessons, it comes complete with educator resources to support you as you incorporate it into your curriculum.

Plainest Demands of Justice:

Dialogues on the African American Experience

Bill of Rights Institute is bringing a FREE professional development seminar to Concordia University in March.

Date: 3/23/23

Time: 8am3pm, breakfast and lunch provided

Topic: Plainest Demands of Justice: Dialogues on the African American Experience

Location: Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, IL

Register here!

This event will allow participants to engage with a scholar expert to examine the African American experience throughout history using the newly- released primary source set. It will offer attendees rich interaction with BRI staff and fellow teacher colleagues as they share ideas of pedagogy and practical classroom applications. Please contact the BRI Events Team if you have any questions.

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.

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.

Planning for Summer PD


The Council for State Social Studies Supervisors has compiled a list of the wealth of professional development opportunities available to social studies educators in the summer of 2023. A special thanks to all of the organizations who contributed to this work and the many organizations offering high-quality social studies professional development for social studies teachers across the country. Many of the opportunities are offered for free or at a low cost. Please email Stefanie Wager at stefanie.rosenbergwager@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or to add programs to this list.

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.