Application and Selection Process


To be recognized as a Civic Engagement Champion, teachers must teach young adolescents. Teachers of students in grades 5 through 8 are eligible.

The National Council for the Social Studies notes, “Active and responsible citizens are able to identify and analyze public problems, deliberate with other people about how to define and address issues, take constructive action together, reflect on their actions, create and sustain groups, and influence institutions both large and small.”

Thus, the CEC program will reach out to teachers in a variety of disciplines. Social studies teachers should not have the sole responsibility for promoting citizenship. We envision that teachers might be honored for projects like these:

  • An environmental science teacher might be recognized for a classroom unit that involves students in measuring pollution in a nearby streambed.
  • An English teacher might be honored for a project that involved students in writing persuasive letters to their city council or state legislature, or in publishing an op ed in their local paper on a topic of interest to the class.
  • A history teacher could be recognized for an oral history project that leads to an honest community discussion about school segregation.
  • A journalism teacher could be recognized for a project that would help students learn how to discern fact from fiction and how to evaluate news sources for accuracy and for bias.
  • A government teacher could be recognized for a project in which students identify a local issue that affects them, research possible policy solutions, and then propose the solution to the appropriate governmental body – the city council, the state legislature, or Congress.


The 2019 Civic Engagement Champions have been chosen. Please check back for information on next year’s award competition.


A panel of NASBE’s education partners, plus representatives from the state board of education in each of the four participating states, will make the final decisions about this year’s winners. One winner in each of the four participating states will be recognized. 

Winners will be announced at NASBE’s Annual Conference, held each fall.