2009-09-25 / Education

Academy for Civic Engagement earns “superior” ranking at national conference

Contributed by S.C. Bar

Students from The Academy for Civic Engagement at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary School earned a “superior” ranking at the National Conference of State Legislatures July 20–24 in Philadelphia. The team advanced to the conference after winning the S.C. Bar 2009 Project Citizen Showcase in April for its proposal, “Styrofoam is Whack, Plastic is Back,” which addressed discontinuing use of styrofoam lunch trays and instead using existing plastic reusable lunch trays to reduce waste in landfills.

This was the first year that The Academy for Civic Engagement participated in the Project Citizen State Showcase, and the school is only the second school in the state to ever receive a “Superior” ranking. Students participating include YeJi Bang, Houston Bennett, Ryan Cain, Ainsley Cherubin, Mark Duroux, John Dwyer, Elijah Eubanks, Katherine Grant, Kristina Grant, Justin Green, Jekima Hibbert, Taelore Hicks, Caleb Hughes, William Jacobs, Semaj Kelly, Fauzan Khan, Njeri McDaniels, Justin Owen, Taylor Ramsue, La–Joye Whatley, and Devin Wood. Teacher coaches were Courtney Long and Dawn Smith.

Project Citizen encourages students to research a public policy they believe should be revised or created. By doing so, students learn what it means to be effective citizens and are inspired to make changes in their communities.

At the state level, competing schools prepare for the showcase by holding hearings during which students present their policy proposals. One class from each school then enters a portfolio in the showcase that includes an identified problem, three proposed alternative policies, a class policy, and an action plan. The portfolios are judged on their persuasiveness, practicality, coordination, and reflection.

Project Citizen can be taught in all subjects in upper elementary through grade 12 to include community groups and after school programs. Project Citizen implementation is supported through a grant from the Center for Civic Education and administered by the S.C. Bar Law Related Education Division.

Teachers interested in implementing Project Citizen for free with free sets of classroom materials and free trainings should contact the S.C. Bar Law Related Education Division at 252-5139 or lre@scbar.org.

The Bar’s Law Related Education (LRE) Division, which was developed to improve the ability of teachers to instruct law related education, has been a part of the Bar since 1976.

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