Secretary of State
Thirteen Educators from Across KY Recognized as Top Civic Educators
(Frankfort, KY) At the center court of Rupp Arena, thirteen regional superstars were recognized today but not necessarily for their basketball skills. For the first time, thirteen of Kentucky’s most outstanding civics education leaders were officially honored as finalists for the Kentucky Outstanding Civic Education Leadership Award. Judy Rice of Henry County High School, Region 8, was officially recognized as the 2010 Kentucky Outstanding Civic Education Leader. The award was presented by members of the Civic Literacy Initiative of Kentucky (CLIK) which includes: the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Court of Justice, the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, the Office of Civic Education and Engagement at the University of Louisville College of Education, and the Office of Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Special thanks also goes to the Kentucky High School Athletics Association for allowing the presentation to occur during the KHSAA/PNC Bank Sweet Sixteen.
“We are so excited to recognize these outstanding civic leaders for the passion and incredible effort that each of them has put into teaching Kentucky students about the basics of American governmental principles,” said Secretary of State Trey Grayson. “We hope that these efforts will further inspire these leaders to continue going above and beyond to make sure that students are exposed to these important topics.”
The Award recognizes teachers and community leaderswho have made notable contributions toward promoting or implementing civic learning to prepare students to be engaged and responsible citizens. Today’s honorees have demonstrated outstanding leadership in and out of the classroom by promoting and strengthening civic education and by encouraging students to become active and engaged in their communities.
Ms. Rice has been a social studies educator for over thirteen years and diligently works to makes civics education “come alive” in the classroom. Ms. Rice has included the “We the People” and Project Citizen curricula in her classroom instead of relying solely on texts, which leads her students to make actual changes in local public policy. Her students participate in community service projects throughout her community.
Outside of the classroom, Ms. Rice has been just as engaged with civics education. She has been a mentor for other teachers who are using the Project Citizen curriculum and is currently involved in the International Project Citizen Collaborative where she and her class work with a Moroccan civics teacher and his class to address increasing dropout rates in both communities. Finally, she was part of a team of educators who designed government and civics standards-based units of study for a high school social studies course. Ms. Rice is presently implementing the units in her classroom as part of a lesson study learning community in partnership with the Office of Civic Education and Engagement at the University of Louisville.
The regional finalists were:
Region 1 - Barry Leonard, Graves County High School
Region 3 - Josh Roberts, Hancock County Middle School
Region 4 - Adam Webster, Logan County High School
Region 5 - Thad Elmore, Talton K Stone Middle School
Region 6 - Angela Cunningham, Bullitt Central High School
Region 7 - Allison Hunt, duPont Manual High School
Region 8 - Judy Rice, Henry County High School
Region 9 - Dee Besl, A.M. Yealey Elementary
Region 11 - Sally Robinson, Berea Community High School
Region 12 - Jason Bryant, King Middle School
Region 13 - Amy Sizemore, Middlesboro Intermediate School
Region 14 - Sandra Olinger, Hazard Independent School District
Region 15 - Chase Goodman, Allen Central High School
The Outstanding Civic Education Leader was awarded $500 to be used for school resources and equipment. Each finalist was also presented with a plaque recognizing their achievements.
“Civic education helps students understand our government and enables them to contribute to their communities as thoughtful, well-informed citizens,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said. “These 13 teachers are to be commended for making civic education a priority at a time when government at all levels can benefit from individuals who care about society’s complex problems.”
“These civic leaders are empowering their Kentucky students to be participants in the democratic processes, developing higher understandings and positive attitudes about becoming responsible, actively engaged citizens through authentic experiences,” said Mendy Meehan, a Social Studies consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education. “They are guiding their students to respect authority and policy making by allowing them the opportunity to be involved in school, community, and other public policy issues. These exemplary educators are to be commended for their contributions to our students and the future of our Commonwealth.”
The award is part of a recommendation from CLIK, a multi-year effort that will determine a strategy for enhancing long-term civic engagement and civic literacy within the Commonwealth. As part of that effort, CLIK released a report, Rediscovering Democracy: An Agenda for Action, that calls upon the state to take tangible steps to increase civic literacy. The report, which details four principle recommendations and scores of additional recommendations, was developed from the work of the Kentucky Workgroup on Civic Literacy.
For more information about CLIK, the Kentucky Outstanding Civics Education Leader Award, or to find out how to get your school, organization, or family involved in civic activities, please visit: www.civics.ky.gov.
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