The only organization dedicated solely to helping state boards advance equity and excellence in public education.

Civic Engagement Champions Award

Middle school teachers play a particularly strong role in boosting civic knowledge and engagement, helping students become active, responsible citizens. NASBE’s Civic Engagement Champions (CEC) award program honors middle school teachers who promote their students’ active citizenship.

The program highlights the work of four outstanding middle school teachers from four states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, which represent NASBE’s four regional membership areas. Winners receive national recognition and $5,000 awards given at NASBE’s Annual Conference in October. We plan to expand the program in future years and hope eventually to operate in all 50 states.

A group of education organizations who share the commitment to civic education and who want to promote teacher leadership have signed on as partners of the CEC awards program…
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • AASA, the Superintendent’s Association
  • Association for Middle Level Education
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • National Council for the Social Studies


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.

Press Release

Four Middle School Teachers Named Civic Engagement Champions

Four middle school teachers have been named Civic Engagement Champions (CEC) for their work in promoting civics education and active citizenship.

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Policy Update

Harnessing Service Learning to Build Social, Emotional and Academic Skills

Service learning opportunities help develop students' social, emotional, and academic skills.

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Cultivating 21st Century Citizens: Modernizing the Playing Field

Our 2019 Civic Education Champions share their thoughts and priority recommendations on what should be incorporated into a state-level policy framework for civics.

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Cultivating 21st Century Citizens: Empowering Teachers

Our Civic Engagement Champions describe why they got involved in teaching and empowering students and how their students have empowered them in return.

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Cultivating 21st Century Citizens: Elevating the Student Voice

Our Civic Engagement Champions discuss what they have done to elevate their students voice.

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