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Democracy Schools Network

Monthly Update

July 2022


We hope you are enjoying your summer. If you are looking for professional development opportunities for July and August, please check out our website 



DSN announcements, upcoming events, Professional Development opportunities, and information about activities in our Democracy Schools.


Our Annual Convening is on September 15, 2022, and we've gathered an impressive list of speakers to help you explore "Media Literacy and Civic Learning Across Disciplines." Please register here. If you have questions, please email Sue


"Citizen Math challenges students to think critically and collaborate openly around key cultural and societal issues impacting them today. In the process, this approach builds individual confidence, deepens peer relationships, and more fully readies these young people to actively participate – and make a difference – in the world they will soon inherit."   (Citizen Math website.)

This past year, a couple of our DSN math teachers participated in a book discussion of Karim Ani's book, Dear Citizen Math. As a result of that discussion, they wrote a grant (which was approved) that would provide the opportunity for some of our schools to use the Citizen Math program (interactive tools, student and teacher materials) with their students for the upcoming school year. If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Sue.  (Please note that author Karim Ani will be one of our presenters at this year's Annual Convening on September 15!)


Have an example of civic learning across the curriculum? Whether it is a project that has already happened, is being planned, or is simply a hope for the future, we are interested in hearing about it. Help us build this network resource by sharing just a few details. Thank you!


The Democracy Schools Network congratulates Curie Metropolitan High School (2016) in Chicago, and Melinda Wilson, dance artistic director, on being named in the Top 10 Shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for supporting healthy lives through their work in the arts! Curie, a secondary school located on the southside of Chicago, helps break down barriers for disadvantaged ethnic minority students and promote healthy lives through an extensive art program that allows them to thrive in traditionally exclusive spaces. 

Vikas Pota, founder and CEO of T4 Education, said, "The World’s Best School Prizes shine a spotlight on schools whose principals, teachers, and communities have demonstrated exemplary leadership and innovation to improve the education of their students in the shadow of a global pandemic. This school has been able to prove their efforts and positive, long-lasting impact on their students and the wider community. For this, they deserve a warm celebration already!

Let it be our shared intention that all schools in our country, and the world, get to know of this exemplary school’s achievements and get inspired to follow a similar path to keep improving their work. By doing so, we shall catalyse a global grassroot learning community of schools and through exposition of accomplishments, inspire others to undertake the same journey to excellence."



As you begin thinking about the upcoming school year ...

Enhance your classroom practice with these five-week asynchronous, micro-credential courses hosted on Canvas. Explore strategies and resources to create a classroom climate in which there are equitable opportunities for ALL students to engage in the proven practices of civic education delineated in the middle and high school course requirements: current and controversial issue discussions, simulations of democratic processes, and informed action through service learning.

Learn from academic experts like Dr. Diana Hess, Dr. Paula McAvoy, Dr. Joe Kahne, Dr. Jane Lo, Dr. Walter Parker, and more! Collaborate with fellow participants to support brave, civil, and reflective civic engagement.

These introductory courses (Bronze level) will be offered in the fall:

For those who have already completed the Bronze level, additional courses (at Silver and Gold levels) are also beginning in the fall. Details on our website.

We hope you will encourage colleagues from other schools to consider becoming an Illinois Democracy School (IDS) during the 2022-2023 school year. The process will involve a year-long self-assessment of the state of civic learning in their school, administration of surveys to both staff and students, and a school visit by the IDS staff. Supports include an orientation, a mentor to guide the team through the process, monitoring by IDS staff, assistance with data analysis, and financial support for certain expenses that might be incurred during the process.  

For educators who are interested in improving the civic learning landscape in their schools, we believe our model is a proven one. We also offer a network of like-minded teachers, robust professional development for proven practices in civics, funding opportunities, access to expert civic partners, and a trove of vetted resources. Please have interested folks email Sue at 

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