September 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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Participate in the Illinois Statewide Mock Election

The Illinois Civics course requirements at both middle and high school require the use of simulations of democratic processes in the classroom. Simulations like mock elections can demystify democratic institutions that gird our republic by providing an opportunity for students to apply civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions in a safe and supportive context to prepare for civic life as an adult.

The Illinois Civics Hub and the Illinois Democracy School Network are joining Kids Voting USA to provide classrooms throughout Illinois with the opportunity to participate in the Kids Voting Illinois Statewide Mock Election this year.

Schools that participate in this simulation of a democratic process will be connected to:

  • A ballot tailored to their region with candidates for U.S. House and Senate, IL House and Senate, and statewide offices like the governor.
  • Cross-curricular resources to facilitate school-wide mock elections.
  • A secure voting platform through Double Click Democracy that is SOPPA compliant to protect student privacy. Students can vote via electronic or paper ballot.
  • Post-election results to analyze your school’s participation.

Democracy is NOT a spectator sport! Register your school TODAY for the Kids Voting Illinois Statewide mock election and share it with your colleagues.

Illinois Council for the Social Studies Call for Proposals

The Call for Session proposals for the ICSS Fall Conference at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, is now open. Click on the link below for more information regarding the conference proposal process. The conference will be held on Friday, October 14, 2022.

 ​Click here for the Session Proposal Document. Proposals are due September 2, 2022.

AA #3930- Deconstructing the Revised IL Social Science Standards for Curriculum Design

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 both 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.

SCOTUS Preview with Dr. Steven D. Schwinn

Join the Illinois Civics Hub as we welcome Dr. Steven D. Schwinn, Professor of Law at the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Law, for a SCOTUS Preview on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at 3:30 p.m. In this webinar, learn what cases are on the docket and the impact of the recent term on public policy at both the state and federal levels of government. Register TODAY.

This webinar is aligned with Theme 5 of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap: Institutional and Social Transformation.

Later this fall, we will host the following after-school webinars:

  • 10/19-  What to Look for in the Midterm Elections: Join Dr. Shawn P. Healy for an overview of what to look for in the midterm elections.
  • 11/16-  The History Wars, Past and Present: Join Dr. Bonnie Laughlin- Schultz for a timely webinar that provides an overview of how the United States has grappled with how to teach about constitutional democracy. We'll also examine our nation’s history to help us make sense of the current debates over social studies instruction.

Civic Learning Across the Disciplines Webinar Series with the Illinois Democracy School Networks

The theme of our Democracy Schools Network Civic Learning Across the Discipline series for the 2022-2023 school year is “Student Voice.” All educators are welcome to attend this community of practice as we collaborate on how schools can use classroom instructional practice and school organizational structures to facilitate rigorous and relevant civic learning opportunities across the disciplines. All webinars will take place from 4-5 p.m. CT.

  • 9/8- Student Voice 360: Learn how you can embrace a “360” approach to student voice in schools that not only impacts classroom instruction but schoolwide culture, climate, and engagement with the greater community.
  • 10/13- Is Responsiveness to Student Voice Related to Academic Outcomes?: Examine the relationship between responsiveness to student voice and academic performance with Dr. Erica Hodgin from the Civic Engagement Research Group.
  • 11/10- Civic Equity for Students with Disabilities (SWD): What might civic equity look like for SWD in schools? Join Leah Bueso, J.D., Ph.D., from the Civic Engagement Research Group to learn more about her recent study to address this essential civic education question and learn what moves we can take to prepare ALL students for civic life.
  • 1/12- Helping Students Navigate the Public Policy Process: 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.
  • 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 to enhance civic learning across the disciplines and create a more supportive organizational culture.

Teach the Midterms: Your Guide to Lesser-Known Elections

Join the Retro Report on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. ET for "Teach the Midterms: Your Guide to Lesser-known Elections" with our partners at New Hampshire Public Radio’s Civics 101 Podcast. The webinar will feature two new films, podcast episodes, and lessons focusing on historical and contemporary midterm elections. If your students have ever wondered why political parties seem to have traded places or what makes a midterm election different, we have free resources for you.

Lou Frey Institute CIvics In Real Life

With the start of school, Civics in Real Life from the Lou Frey Institute will be back to weekly releases.

Civics is all around us. There is a lot to know about the government and how “We the People” interact with the government and each other. Civics In Real Life's one-page instructional resources helps students expand their literacy around timely topics and foundational concepts. Visit the CRL archive and check back often to review new offerings.

New Classroom-Ready PD from Gilder Lehrman

The Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History has launched a new "Classroom-Ready" American History PD series. The series is designed to provide teachers with ready-made, classroom-friendly resources on topics in American history that are front-and-center in current events. Many of the new modules are aligned to new instructional mandates in the stae of Illinois. Modules include:
  • Asian American History: Professor Jane Hong (Occidental College) leads a lecture on key events in Asian American history in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • LGBTQ American HistoryProfessor Chelsea Del Rio (LaGuardia Community College, CUNY) leads a lecture on key events in LGBTQ American History since 1945.
  • US Foreign Policy: Professor Jason Opal (McGill University) leads a lecture on US foreign policy from the Early Republic to World War I, and Professor Robert K. Brigham (Vassar College) leads a lecture on 20th-and 21st-century foreign policy.

Visit the Gilder Lehrman Shop to learn more and see the full list of available modules. 

Join the Street Rule of Law Teach-In for Constitution Day

On Constitution Day 2022, Street Law will celebrate by hosting a nationwide Rule of Law for All Teach-in to increase understanding of rule of law, emphasize its importance, and explore how all people can positively impact creating a rule of law culture. 

Interested in participating? Follow these simple steps: 

  1. Sign up! Commit to participating in the Teach-in by completing this brief form.
  2. Register for your class to attend the September 16 virtual Rule of Law Expert Panel for Students.
  3. Explore Street Law’s new Rule of Law for All curriculum.
  4. Did you miss our virtual info session on August 11 to learn more about the Teach-in and lessons? Don't worry, you can still watch it here.
  5. Email Jen Wheeler with any questions. Resources for K-12 Classrooms

With Ancestry Classroom, more than 7 million students have access to historical records as well as resources developed to help them learn about themselves and the world around them.
To further aid family history exploration in schools, earlier this year Ancestry launched a new Family History Starter Kit, which was crafted in partnership with Ancestry ProGenealogists and educators. This starter kit helps students explore the stories of history makers before them, learn how to understand and cite primary sources, and even gain lifelong interpersonal and interview skills.
As a BRAND NEW feature this year, Ancestry expanded access for educators to include World Explorer collections at no cost, which will further encourage global classroom discoveries.
Learn more about AncestryClassroom.

CIRCLE Growing Voters Webinar

Young people want to learn about elections in school and, when they do, they’re more likely to vote, engage in their communities, and become engaged and informed members of our self-governing society. Despite the extraordinary efforts of many educators, civic education is too often insufficient and inequitable. We can change that.

Join a research presentation and panel co-hosted by CIRCLE and iCivics, on how K-12 schools can play a role in preparing young people for participation in our nation's constitutional democracy. The civic education experts at CIRCLE will share major findings and recommendations from the CIRCLE Growing Voters report about teens’ civic learning experiences — or lack thereof — and the role of schools in a paradigm-shifting framework for supporting young people’s civic development. In conversation with educators, students, teacher trainers, and other education leaders, we’ll discuss what these findings mean for multiple stakeholders in the K-12 schools ecosystem and the practical steps they can take to ensure each and every student, especially those from disadvantaged or marginalized communities, receives a high-quality civic education during this school year and into the future.

Register for the event here.

Elevate Civics

Would you like to help strengthen our democracy by preparing your students to participate in it, and help a Ph.D. student? The Elevate Civics Project is a nationwide initiative to understand and improve students’ interest and engagement with civics. This project is for a dissertation in collaboration with iCivics. Participating educators will teach ten provided lessons, gather student feedback, and share their insights with the project research team. You will get the following:

  1. A $250 Amazon gift card
  2. Ten expert-designed lesson plans
  3. An assessment of your students' learning
  4. Access to a vetted civic education resource repository 

Learn more about the project and sign up to participate at this link.

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

With its historic passage in April 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.

Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, every public elementary school and high school shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American history, including the history of Asian Americans in Illinois and the Midwest, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans toward advancing civil rights from the 19th century onward.

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:

Elementary/Grades K-5

Secondary/ Grades 6-12

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

Seeking TEAACHer Leaders

The TEAACH Implementation Collaborative seeks two cohorts of TEAACHer Leaders to support Illinois teachers with resources & professional development on teaching Asian American history to effectively implement the spirit of the TEAACH Act. More information is below. If you are interested, please respond to the form by Monday, August 15. We’ll also be sharing this through our partners in TEAACH implementation (including ISBE, Regional Offices of Education, unions, district & cross-district networks, and professional associations); please also forward this to others who may be interested.

Goals of Participation- We aim for our TEAACHer Leaders to:

  • Become familiar with Asian American experience & history
  • Identify potential needs for and obstacles to implementation
  • Raise awareness and connect teachers to resources and PD
  • Support teachers in their schools, districts, and regions
  • Provide feedback and suggestions on other TEAACH efforts
  • Collaborate on other efforts to drive awareness & adoption

Commitments of Participation Duration- The TEAACHer Leader role is a one-year commitment through the 2022–2023 school year and summer 2023. Structure: We intend for each cohort to meet at least once in person, but most of your work will happen remotely and/or at your school or district.

Activities- Teacher leaders (especially these first cohorts) will largely co-construct this effort towards our goals, but we anticipate that activities will include:

  • Collaborative discussion and strategy
  • Developing resources to support curricular planning
  • Publicity/communication with other teachers

Benefits of participating TEAACHer Leaders include:

  • Working with others interested in Asian American history & experience
  • Professional learning on making educational change 
  • Growing your professional network 
  • Recognition at a state level 
  • Influence on future TEAACH implementation steps 
  • Honorarium of $2500 for the year

To Apply Please complete the questions in this form If you have any questions about the TEAACHer Leader cohorts or the application process, please email Sendhil Revuluri at

Join Close-Up and New Voice Strategies for Constitution Day

Are you an educator looking to fulfill your Constitution Day requirements with your students? Close Up is partnering with New Voice Strategies to offer the Preamble Project—free, immersive classroom materials for high school and middle school students that use an exploration of the Preamble to the Constitution to delve into such vital questions as:

  • Who, in today’s America, are “We the People?”
  • What aspirations inspire us?
  • How do we pursue a “more perfect union”?

A series of lesson plans, each designed for a 45-minute class session, are available. They include:


  • Examining the Preamble to the Constitution
  • Applying Values from the Preamble (Classroom Deliberation)
  • Envisioning a More Perfect Union (Group Project)
  • Securing a More Perfect Union (Project Presentations)
  • Documentary shorts and discussion guides exploring various aspects of the Preamble 

There are optional extension activities for community building, individual work, and classroom exchanges. An on-demand webinar is available that walks teachers through materials and lessons.

Visit the Close Up Site for more information.

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.

On Demand PD from the DuPage ROE

The DuPage Regional Office of Education is debuting new on-demand learning modules for educators across grade levels and disciplines. Offerings for the fall include:

Visit the DuPage Regional Office of Education website for more PD offerings.

Resources for Media Literacy

IL House Bill 234 amended the school code by adding a provision that says that beginning with the 2022-23 school year, every public high school must include a unit of instruction on media literacy in its curriculum. It additionally sets forth what topics the unit of instruction shall include and provides that the State Board of Education shall determine how to prepare and make available instructional resources and professional learning opportunities for educators that may be used to develop the unit of instruction.

The unit of instruction shall include, but is not limited to, analyzing:

(1) the purpose of media messages and how they are constructed;
(2) explicit and implicit media messages;
(3) values and points of view that are included and excluded in the media;
(4) how the media may influence ideas and behaviors; and
(5) the importance of obtaining information from multiple media sources.
“Media literacy” means the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and communicate using a variety of forms, including, but not limited to print, visual, audio, interactive, and digital texts.

We asked our Illinois Civics Instructional coaches for some of their favorite media literacy resources. Here are some of their suggestions.

Candace Fikis (South Cook, Will, Kendal, Grundy, Kankakee, and Iroquois Counties): The News Literacy Project has many excellent resources for teaching media literacy and skills. They offer excellent PD programs. Checkology is one of my favorite resources to use with my students. It contains online lessons on topics like media bias and misinformation. You can also sign up for the free weekly newsletter, The Sift, which gives current examples of new literacy issues and tips for incorporating them into your classroom.

Tracy Freeman (Livingston, McClean, Ford, Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, Macon, Dewitt, and Logan Counties): The Digital Civics Tool kit has an interactive digital search (video clips, etc.) around some guiding questions. Since my department was very inquiry-heavy, I liked the questions that focus on student work: Why is credibility important? How can I judge the credibility of civic information online?

Chris Johnson (Mercer, Warren, Henderson, Knox, Fulton, McDonough, Schuyler, Cass, Morgan, Scott, Brown, Pike, Adams, and Hancock Counties): My go-to for news and media literacy is the Stanford Civic Online Reasoning program. Developed by the Stanford History Education Group, this provides a wealth of lessons, activities, and resources for several grades that address a wide range of news and media literacy topics. Many of their activities are quick and perfect to add to an existing instruction.

Heather Monson (Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Bureau, Henry, Stark, and Rock Island Counties ): iCivics has a huge amount of media literacy sources in the form of mini-lessons. These are broken down by branches of government. The Gerrymandering lesson is very visual, and it is a lesson students enjoy tackling. They also have a separate section on News Literacy for use with middle or high school students.

Matt Wood (West Cook, DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb Counties): I second Candace’s suggestion of Checkology. Whether creating a weekly routine with media engagement or using it for a stand-alone unit, it has so much going in the right direction. With my middle school students, I also love using the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists resource called “cartoons in the classroom.” Cartooning has a rich history and is a great visual literacy tool connecting the day's news to more palatable single-frame “hot takes” on these important events.

For more media literacy resources, visit our Media Literacy Toolkit.

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. For weekly updates on emerging research on civics, “teachable moments,” and related materials, follow our blog.