Program Description Print E-mail

The Center for Civic Education's School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program is a curriculum, training, and research program that provides students with opportunities to engage in high quality civic education and group participation exercises. The program is designed to improve students' civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes. It provides training opportunities for teacher participants that support the curriculum and emphasize critical thinking, cooperative learning, group problem-solving, and performance-based assessment. It also provides research and evaluation of changes in students' civic knowledge and attitudes as they relate to tolerance for the ideas of others; civic responsibility; authority and the law; and social and political institutions.

The program began in May 1999, when the Center was awarded a grant from the United States Department of Education to study ways in which civic values and principles might be used to create a positive effect on violence among youth. Research studies had demonstrated that excellent civic education programs, such as the Center's We the People program, could have positive effects on students' attitudes towards society. The 1999-2000 school year pilot implementation of the program in seven large school district sites was premised on that belief and began the attempt to draw attention to ways in which civic education can be used as a violence prevention tool. The expansion of the program since the pilot year has been significant, and the program now includes twenty-two sites in public, private, urban, rural, and Native American school sites.

The professional development component of our program is what makes the School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program unique.  Often referred to as trainings, what a teacher actually receives is intensive staff development. The objective is to lend support to the teacher through the course of the program year.  Teacher participants attend a minimum of fifty hours of professional development during the school year and incorporate the program curricular materials -- Foundations of Democracy, We the People, and Project Citizen -- into their regular social studies curriculum.  Participants are expected to integrate 90-110 hours of program instruction and involve students in culminating activities for Project Citizen and We the People Curriculum.

The program is implemented in grades four through twelve in large urban public school districts, rural school districts, private school districts, Indian Reservation schools and in some primary grades in response to local requests.