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updated: 10/11/2017 4:44 PM

Bartlett High School continues robust courses and opportunities in civics

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  • The Illinois Civic Mission Coalition recently honored Bartlett High School for its 10th year as a Democracy School, which encourages student growth in civic education.

    The Illinois Civic Mission Coalition recently honored Bartlett High School for its 10th year as a Democracy School, which encourages student growth in civic education.
    AP File Photo

  • Video: SHS' Illinois Democracy School

Submitted by Elgin Area School District U-46

A state organization recently recognized Bartlett High School for offering outstanding civics courses and extracurricular opportunities that help students become involved in local and state issues that impact local communities.

The Illinois Civic Mission Coalition honored Bartlett High School's 10 years of fostering a school climate that cultivates and models civic learning and builds strong relationships within the surrounding community.

The U-46 school is among 67 Illinois high schools since 2006 that have earned the designation of a Democracy School.

The designation requires submitting proof or demonstrating teaching practices that encourage student growth in civic education.

Bartlett High School, one of the original Democracy Schools, has been vigilant about creating opportunities and experiences that empower students to nurture and sustain democracy.

This includes engaging in discussions about current and controversial issues, as well as, participating in democratic simulations such as mock trials and mock elections, and providing service learning opportunities in the community such as handing out care packages to the homeless, or the Buddy program, which helps inform elementary school students about the dangers of underage drinking.

The Bartlett school assembled a democracy school team, which consisted of teachers in world language, science, special education and language arts to support the Democracy School Initiative.

The initiative brings civics into the entire school with all departments committed to teach good citizenship.

"We commend Bartlett High School for their tenacity and enthusiasm in expanding and improving civic learning across the curriculum and throughout Illinois," said Sonia Mathew, Civic Learning manager at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. "Through these practices and experiences students see firsthand the critical role they play in shaping government and society."

For its long-term commitment, Bartlett High School will receive a $3,000 stipend in December from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which convenes the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, to continue their civic learning initiatives, as well as a new banner for public display.

"Bartlett High School receiving recognition as a Democracy School is a notice to ourselves and our constituencies that we take seriously the maintenance and promotion of vigorous democratic processes," said Larry Pahl, Bartlett High School civics and world history instructor. "We want all levels of our school district community, including administrators, teachers, parents, and students to have a voice, to be heard and to be treated with respect and civility."

In 2015, the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition also named U-46's Streamwood High School an Illinois Democracy School. A Streamwood High teacher and two students explain their plan for developing their civic courses and opportunities on a YouTube video, "SHS named Illinois Democracy School."

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