The Orange County Department of Education is inviting K-12 teachers and administrators who are interested in developing student voice and agency to the annual OC Civic Learning Institute.
Led by Dr. Marika Manos, OCDE’s history and social science manager, and Dr. Virginia Reischl, humanities coordinator, alongside their team, educators participating in the institute will convene on Sept. 12 and Sept. 21 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove.
Teams from public, charter and private schools, along with district administrators, are welcome to register and participate in the two-day series.
Manos’ team aims to support educators and administrators in acquiring skills to foster classroom relationships and enhance social awareness. They will also assist them in creating frameworks to promote academic discussions and formulating a civic engagement initiative tailored to their classroom, school or district.
They will also learn about K-8 Civic Learning Pathways, an initiative led by OCDE and the San Diego County Office of Education, which encourages elementary and middle school educators to construct opportunities for students that lead to the development of civic skills and dispositions.
Upon completion of the session, participants will each receive a copy of a book titled “The Civically Engaged Classroom” and an OC Civic Learning Institute certificate. They will also be invited to return on April 25 for the OC Civic Learning Celebration, where the school teams and students can share the ways they engaged civically to improve their communities.
Returning to the institute
Oxford Preparatory Academy is returning to the institute for a second consecutive year after developing a partnership with OCDE in 2022 to build capacity with staff in the area of civic learning.
“OPA partnered with OCDE by regularly attending the monthly Orange County Social Studies Administrative Network,” said Dr. Stephanie Henry, chief academic officer at Oxford Preparatory Academy. “Through this partnership, we were able to increase our civic learning opportunities for OPA students and award over 80 percent of our fifth and eighth graders the Civic Learning Pathway Award.”
According to Dr. Henry, the collaboration is closely in sync with Oxford Preparatory’s Champion Profile, which underscores and outlines the proficiencies that educators aim for all students to possess as they progress to high school, college and beyond. These include critical thinking, civic engagement, communication, collaboration, creativity and character.
She is proud to share that some of the projects that students led in the previous school year includes partnering with the city of Mission Viejo during the academy’s annual day of service and writing letters to President Biden to raise his attention to issues that are affecting their community.
“Our hope is to continue to collaborate with OCDE and OC educators to bring authentic, experiential learning experiences in our social studies and history classes,” said Henry. “We also hope to apply for recognition in the area of civic learning, including the Civic Learning Award for California Public Schools and California Democracy School in the near future.”