Workshop: Educating High-Need Students for Citizenship

By Diana Owen, Maria Gallo, Kathryn Hartzell, and Jenny Lee.

The need to improve civic education in the nation’s middle and high schools is especially pressing for high-need students—students living in poverty, minority students, English language learners, and special needs students. Instructing high-need students, who have fewer civic learning opportunities and access to resources than more advantaged students, presents unique challenges to educators. This workshop focuses on lessons learned from the James Madison Legacy Project (JMLP), a
program of the Center for Civic Education that provides professional development (PD) to
teachers of high-need middle and high school students nationwide based on the We the People:
The Citizen and the Constitution (WTP) program. The PD program is designed to improve
teachers’ civics content knowledge and develop their pedagogic skills to enhance students’
achievement in attaining state standards in civics and government. In-depth studies of the impact
of civic education on high-need student populations are limited in number, and the JMLP offered
a unique opportunity to collect and analyze data on civics teachers and their students on a large
scale. Thus, the goals of the workshop are twofold: 1) to demonstrate instructional pedagogies
that are effective in providing civic education to high need students; and 2) to present research
findings on the effectiveness of these instructional strategies in imparting civic knowledge,
disposition, and skills to students.

Educating High-Need Students for Citizenship