DISTRICT | June 3, 2019
We are proud to announce the winners of the first-ever Civic Action Recognition Awards, which CPS created in partnership with the Obama Foundation to recognize the students, educators, schools, and organizations who are empowering Chicago’s youth through their civic engagement efforts.
As a district, we work hard to provide students with the foundation they need to become engaged, well-informed citizens who will play an active role in their communities. These awards honor those who are excelling in this work and who have contributed significantly to improving civics education and uplifting student voice in our schools.
Youth Impact Award
The student groups selected for the Youth Impact Award took on an issue important to their schools or communities and engaged community members to create and implement solutions.
Team Tactics, a student-led group from Phillips Academy High School, has worked to strengthen relationships between the community and law enforcement by developing workshops and a curriculum for their school. Their work was shared at the Aspen Ideas Festival as an example of how Chicago’s youth are driving meaningful change in their communities.
The students in the Ogden-Jenner Student Voice Committee were honored for their contributions to creating a positive school culture in the wake of the merger of these two elementary schools. Their central role in school decision-making exemplifies the positive impact that a Student Voice Committee can have in CPS schools.
Civic Culture and Commitment Award
The Civic Culture and Commitment Award recognizes schools that champion civics education and create opportunities for students to have meaningful, authentic civic learning experiences in and beyond the classroom.
Michele Clark High School is committed to civics education across all content areas, including a course specifically focused on developing student leadership. The culture at this school is one where students are active partners in decision making.
Dever Elementary School has successfully integrated civics education across all grade levels and includes students in all aspects of school operations, including Local School Council meetings. Dever’s administration has also made it a practice to engage students in their decision-making process.
Civic Education Leadership Award
The Civic Education Leadership Award honors CPS educators who provide space, encouragement, and guidance to students as they become actively engaged with their communities.
Elizabeth Robbins, a teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep High School, has spent much of her 15-year career in education promoting student voice. She is the leader of both the Student Voice Committee and the Gay-Straight Alliance at Brooks, and her student advocacy work has been featured locally and nationally, from TedX to the Learning Channel.
Peter Barash and Shana Pearlmutter, both teachers at Bell Elementary, founded the Legacy Project at Bell, which inspires students to explore issues relevant to their lives and communicate their ideas through artistic murals. These teachers have both demonstrated a tireless commitment to student inquiry, investigation, and civic learning.
Community Partner Award
The Community Partner Award honors organizations that champion student voice by creating meaningful partnerships with our school communities. These groups also support high-quality civic learning in CPS schools, which is key to our district’s Five-Year Vision.
Voices of Youth in Chicago’s Education (VOYCE) has advanced civics education for students of color across Chicago. Their partnership has empowered CPS students to organize advocacy campaigns that are focused on issues that are most important to them, including mental health, school discipline, and relationships between youth and law enforcement.
Congratulations to this year’s winners on their accomplishment and for their amazing work promoting student voice and championing civics education. Thank you to the Obama Foundation for helping our district recognize and applaud these change makers. This will be the first of many opportunities for us to come together to honor the people and organizations who are helping promote civic engagement in our schools and communities.
Janice K. Jackson, EdD LaTanya D. McDade
Chief Executive Officer Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools Chicago Public Schools