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New Awards Program Will Honor Middle School Teachers Who Are ‘Civic Engagement Champions’

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2019
Contact: Renee Rybak Lang,, 703-740-4841

New Awards Program Will Honor Middle School Teachers Who Are ‘Civic Engagement Champions’

Alexandria, VA – The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is launching a new awards program called Civic Engagement Champions (CEC) to honor middle school teachers who promote their students’ active citizenship.

With the support of the Frank Islam Institute for 21st Century Citizenship (FII), NASBE will highlight the work of four outstanding middle school teachers who are fostering civic engagement. Middle school teachers play a particularly strong role in boosting civic knowledge and engagement, helping students become active, responsible citizens. National recognition and $5,000 awards will be made at NASBE’s Annual Conference in October to teachers from four states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, which represent NASBE’s four regional membership areas.

A group of education organizations who share the commitment to civic education and who want to promote teacher leadership will assist NASBE and FII in this effort. 2019 Education Partners include AASA, the Superintendents Association; the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education; the Association of Middle Level Education; the Council of Chief State School Officers; the National Association of Secondary School Principals; the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; and the National Council for the Social Studies. These partners, along with one representative from each participating state board, will develop the CEC selection criteria and serve on the selection committee.

The award will be open to middle school teachers in all disciplines. It is envisioned 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 or social studies teacher could be recognized for an oral history project that opens up an honest community discussion about school segregation.

“The civic engagement awards will be presented to teachers who are making a difference in the classroom and beyond by empowering students and making their schools and communities better.  These teachers are on the front lines of creating 21st century citizens,” says Frank Islam, founder of FII. The Institute was created to address an increasing civic engagement deficit in the United States and around the world.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport, and state leaders take very seriously their responsibility to develop students who are prepared to play an active role in our democracy,” says Robert Hull, president and CEO of NASBE. “Civic Education Champions is one critical way to raise up talented teachers who encourage students to become more active citizens.”

Learn more about the Civic Engagement Champions (CEC) awards program.

For 60 years, NASBE has served as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at

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