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Illinois Democracy School Network Webinar Archives

Past Webinars

The Illinois Democracy Schools Network is dedicated to providing educators with professional development to support civic learning across the disciplines aligned to the Democracy School elements.

Listed below are recordings of past webinars. Access upcoming events on the Illinois Civics Hub Professional Development Calendar.

Student Voice 360

A long tradition of research suggests that giving students more opportunities to participate in the management of their own classrooms and schools builds their civic skills and attitudes. Thus, giving students a voice in school governance is a promising way to encourage all young people to engage civically Guardians of Democracy report, pg.33 Join the students and educators from Chicago Public Schools Student Voice Committee to 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.

Civic Equity for Students with Disabilities

What might civic equity look like for SWD in schools? Join Leah Bueso, JD, 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.

Is Responsiveness to Student Voice Related to Academic Achievement?

Join the Illinois Democracy Schools Network as we welcome Dr. Erica Hodgin, Co-Director of the Civic Engagement Research Group at the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Hodgin is one of the co-authors of a recently published journal article highlighting the results of a two year study to examine whether responsiveness to student voice is related to academic outcomes. This is the first large-scale study employing panel data to examine the relationships between responsiveness to student voice and academic performance. Proponents of student voice have long emphasized its benefits in terms of democratic values and respect for the full humanity of young people. Scholars argue these benefits may be particularly important for students from marginalized communities. This study indicates that there are academic benefits as well.

Celebrating Our Successes

Join the Illinois Democracy School Network for an interactive discussion with members of the network who engaged in projects in the 2021-22 school year to improve cross-discipline civic learning experiences and organizational culture. Learn how they deepened their practice DSN elements such as discussions, simulations, student voice, design/teaching strategies, school climate, community partnerships, vision/leadership, and more.

Extra-Curriculars and Civic Learning with Dr. Kelly Siegel-Stechler

Clubs and organizations foster civic learning and engagement which are representative of student needs, interests, and identities. Join the Illinois Democracy School Network as we host Kelly Siegel-Stechler, Ph.D., Senior Researcher at CIRCLE Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University for an exploration of how schools can use extracurricular activities to help students develop and utilize agency as a member of their various communities, form strong social bonds and support networks with adults outside of the family, peers with different lived experiences and political perspectives, and like-minded peers and cultivate student leadership in a range of meaningful ways.

Understanding the Proven Practice of Service Learning with Dr. Joe Kahne

We live in a time of heightened political and civic activity among young people, especially young people of color. Digital technology and social media provide near-universal and constant access to varied forms of engagement. Join the Illinois Democracy School Network for a conversation with Dr. Joseph Kahne, theTed and Jo Dutton Presidential Professor for Education Policy and Politics and Co-Director of the Civic Engagement Research Group CERG at the University of California, Riverside. Professor Kahne’s research focuses on the influence of school practices and digital media on youth civic and political development. Get your questions answered about the proven practice of service learning and how to engage young people with an inquiry that leads to informed action.


Designing Discussion As Inquiry with Dr. Paula McAvoy

Join the Illinois Democracy School Network as we welcome Dr. Paula McAvoy, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, N.C. State University for a timely webinar exploring best practices in using current and controversial issue discussions in the classroom. Dr. McAvoy will share attributes of a good discussion, using discussion as inquiry, as well as answering participant questions. Walk away with a deeper understanding of practices aligned to the Pedagogy Companion of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap that embraces a commitment to learn about and teach full and multifaceted historical and civic narratives with a focus on inclusion and equity in both content and approach.

The Inclusive Democratic Classroom

Join Laura Tavares, Program Director for Organizational Learning and Thought Leadership at Facing History and Ourselves to explore design and teaching strategies that foster the practice of Constitutional Democracy and student agency across the disciplines. Walk away with strategies aligned to the Pedagogy Companion of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap that uses both content knowledge and classroom leadership to model the constitutional principle of “We the People” through democratic practices that promote civic responsibility, civil rights, and civic friendship in the classroom. This webinar is hosted by the Illinois Democracy School Network.

Expanding Civic Learning Across the Disciplines

Join Dr. Shawn Healy, Senior Director, Policy and Advocacy at iCivics, to explore what schools can do to implement civic learning across disciplines (CLAD). Learn how different states and districts are approaching this work aligned to the new DSN indicators and Educating for American Democracy Roadmap.

Strengthening School Climate through Inclusion: An Approach to Teacher Professional Development

Loyola University Chicago is currently partnering with a few Democracy Schools across the Chicago metropolitan area, as they seek to develop and implement strategies to strengthen school climate through inclusion. Inclusive school climates can be strengthened through a variety of approaches including teaching and learning, elevating and supporting student voice, particularly among marginalized student populations, and examining social identity formation and bias among adults. This workshop will provide both insights into the process of engaging questions of race, culture, and diversity that tend to be fraught with tension, misunderstanding, and lack of clarity as well as what approaches schools are taking to engage all students more meaningfully through an assortment of strategies that do not, once and for all, solve the problem of lack of inclusion, but at a minimum, position schools to undertake this important work with commitment and fidelity.


Becoming Active Citizens: Practices to Engage Students in Civic Education Across the Curriculum with Shawn McCusker

Join us for a discussion with Shawn McCusker, author of Becoming Active Citizens (Practices to Engage Students in Civic Education Across the Curriculum.) This session will feature a presentation from Shawn, where he elaborates on some of the main points of the book and their application to teachers from all disciplines.  Additionally, there will be an opportunity for discussion of some of these highlights (questions will be shared with registrants before the event), as well as time for Shawn to answer your questions about topics from the book,  such as action civics, media literacy, integration of civics across content areas, and issues revolving around upcoming election season.  (All are welcome to the session, whether you have read the book or not.)

Helping Students Navigate the Public Policy Process with Dr. Shawn P Healy

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.

Facilitate Students to Take the L.E.A.D. with Service Learning

Learn about approaches to service learning that allow students to take the L.E.A.D. (Learn, Engage & Explore, Authentic Action, Demonstrate Learning). Collaborate with your DSN colleagues who are participating in the Illinois Civics Service Learning Facilitator Initiative and earning their micro-credentials in service-learning through designing and facilitating cross-curricular opportunities for informed action.

Civic Online Reasoning Across the Curriculum

On subjects ranging from the coronavirus to voting, disinformation proliferates online. How can we help students sort facts from fiction? During this interactive session, educators from Neuqua Valley High School and staff from the Stanford History Education Group will discuss how they have integrated research-tested strategies for evaluating online information into ninth-grade biology and social studies classes. Presenters: Thomas McManamen, Carrie Ory, Adrianne Toomey, Kelli Tufo, and Deanna Lindsey (Neuqua Valley High School) Sarah McGrew, and Joel Breakstone (Stanford History Education Group)

Be a Guardian of Democracy: Strategies for Using Current and Controversial Issues in the Classroom

The Guardians of Democracy Micro-credential program is a free online course that can support teachers across the curriculum in creating a safe, equitable space for civil discourse. Two members of the Democracy Schools Network will discuss how the course impacted their practice and participants will get connected with strategies and resources to support their classrooms.

Civics Across the Curriculum- Digital Well-Being and Citizenship

In 2019, Antioch Community High School (ACHS) embarked on a journey to incorporate digital well-being and citizenship practices and spread them to staff and students. With goals of taking a positive perspective, promoting human interaction, and incorporating student voice and decision making, #ACHSDigiCit was born. This webinar will explain how ACHS approached school climate through this process and will highlight some of the activities used to promote positive human interactions through digital formats and support a sense of belonging for students and staff alike.

Civics Across the Curriculum: A School-Wide Commitment to Civic Learning

Civics Across the Curriculum- Simulations of Democratic Processes: Do This, Not That!

Join your DSN colleagues for a look at best practices in simulations of democratic processes that can be used in traditional, remote, and hybrid classrooms. Explore how the research of Dr. Jane Lo and Dr. Walter Parker was applied in their classrooms as a result of participating in the Guardians for Democracy pilot course in the best civic practice. Learn culturally responsive and equitable practices to make simulations work in your discipline

Civics Across the Curriculum- Kick0Off Panel Discussion

Join us for a kickoff to our Civics Across the Curriculum webinar series to explore the intersections of civic learning, vision and leadership, and school climate for our work. Panelists include -Nicole Beechum, Co-Director of the Equitable Learning and Development Group, the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research -Alejandra Frausto, Project-Based Learning Manager, Chicago Public Schools Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement -Eileen McMahon, Principal, Maine West High School.