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Mending the Fabric of Democracy: Teaching Civic Readiness

Recent events have made clear just how frayed trust in our nation’s democratic institutions and constitutional values has become. Clearly, the fabric of our democracy is in serious need of repair. 

Here in New York, our state constitution requires schools to prepare all students to be active civic participants. Our urgent mission is to ensure schools live up to that promise. This interactive webinar series explores how together we can help mend our democracy by working to ensure every New York school can carry out its important civic mission. 

Join us, youth leaders, experts, and decision-makers from around the state for this vital, free, four-part webinar series as we investigate critical components of civic readiness and talk with New York leaders about how to make the right to civic readiness a reality. The future of our democracy depends on our active engagement.

Previous Sessions

Please register to receive a recording of the webinar and supplemental resources. 

Recordings linked below. 

March 4. Developing Media Literacy: Teaching Students to Know Fact from Fiction

Moderator: 

  • Jenna Flanagan, Journalist and Host, MetroFocus, WNET New York Public Media

Panelists: 

  • Numa Khan, Senior, Shaker High School, North Colonie School District
  • Linda B. Rosenthal, New York Assembly member, 67th Assembly District
  • Howard Schneider, Executive Director, Center for News Literacy, Stony Brook University, founding dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism, and former editor of Newsday 
  • Chris Sperry, national award-winning media-literacy educator, Director of Curriculum & Staff Development, Project Look Sharp, Ithaca College
  • Kelly Wetherbee, School Library Media Specialist, Shaker High School, North Colonie School District; Co-Director, Capital Region Institute for Human Rights

Session Recording: https://youtu.be/teQ_f7kQ1PY

March 11. Discussing Controversial Issues: When Classrooms Are Contentious

Moderator: 

  • Brett Levy, Associate Professor, University at Albany, State University of New York, and host of the Education for Sustainable Democracy podcast 

Panelists

  • Paula McAvoy, Assistant Professor, Social Studies Education, Teacher Education and Learning Sciences, North Carolina State University; co-author (with Diana Hess) of The Political Classroom
  • Krisslynn Dengler, Superintendent, South Kortright (NY) Central School District
  • Brian Gibbs, Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Education,  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lauren Collet-Gildard, High School Social Studies Teacher, Arlington High School, Adjunct Faculty BardMAT, and PhD Candidate, University at Albany, State University of New York
  • Amber Joseph, Eighth-grade History Teacher, East Side Community School, Manhattan; Facing History and Ourselves partner
  • Oliver Robinson, Superintendent, Shenendehowa (NY) Central School District

Session Recording: https://youtu.be/CxRcKWfcBjk

March 18. Igniting Youth Civic Action: Making a Difference In and Out of School

Moderator: 

  • Rashid Duroseau, Civics Program Director, Democracy Prep Public Schools 

Panel:

  • Madina Amber, Senior, Urban Assembly School for Leadership and Empowerment, New York Youth Civics Initiative, Next Generation Politics
  • Martine Dosa, Senior, Nottingham High School, Syracuse, DemocracyReady NY youth member
  • David Edelman, Participation in Government/Economics teacher, Union Square Academy for Health Sciences, New York City
  • Thea MacFawn, Elementary Dean, North Colonie Central School District; Founder and Co-Director, Capital Region Institute for Human Rights
  • Brisa Pereyra, Student, Union Square Academy for Health Sciences, New York City
  • Ahmed Sesay, plaintiff, Cook v. Raimondo, 2020 graduate Providence Public Schools

March 25. Call to Action: A Conversation with Leaders and Decision-makers

Moderator: 

  • Stephanie Rowley, Teachers College Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Psychology and Education

Panel

  • Tracy R. Jordan, Esq., Parent and Education Advocate, Brooklyn
  • Shelley B. Mayer, Chair, Education Committee, New York State Senate 
  • Michael Rebell, Executive Director, Center for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University, and convener of DemocracyReady NY 
  • Betty A. Rosa, New York State Education Commissioner 
  • Edward Sanchez, Senior, Fort Hamilton High School, DemocracyReady youth leader, Citizens Committee for Children YouthAction member, and YVote member
  • Jennifer Wolfe, High School Social Studies Teacher, Oceanside High School, Long Island; New York State Teacher of the Year for 2021

Full List of Distinguished Speakers

  • Madina Amber, Senior, Urban Assembly School for Leadership and Empowerment, New York Youth Civics Initiative, Next Generation Politics
  • Thomas Bailey, President, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Lauren Collet-Gildard, High School Social Studies Teacher, Arlington High School, Adjunct Faculty BardMAT, and PhD Candidate, University at Albany, State University of New York
  • Martine Dosa, Senior, Nottingham High School, Syracuse, DemocracyReady NY youth member
  • Krislynn Dengler, Superintendent, South Kortright (NY) Central School District
  • Rashid Duroseau, Civics Program Director, Democracy Prep Public Schools 
  • David Edelman, Participation in Government/Economics teacher, Union Square Academy for Health Sciences, New York City
  • Shira E. Epstein, Associate Professor, School of Education, City College of New York
  • Jenna FlanaganJournalist and Host, MetroFocusWNET New York Public Media
  • Tracy R. Jordan, Esq., Parent and Education Advocate, Brooklyn
  • Amber Joseph, Eighth-grade History Teacher, East Side Community School, Manhattan; Facing History and Ourselves partner
  • Numa KhanSenior, Shaker High School, North Colonie School District
  • Brett Levy, Associate Professor, University at Albany, State University of New York, and host of the Education for Sustainable Democracy podcast 
  • Paula McAvoy, Assistant Professor, Social Studies Education, Teacher Education and Learning Sciences, North Carolina State University; co-author (with Diana Hess) of The Political Classroom
  • Thea MacFawn, Elementary Dean, North Colonie Central School District; Founder and Co-Director, Capital Region Institute for Human Rights
  • Shelley B. Mayer, Chair, Education Committee, New York State Senate 
  • Brisa Pereyra, Student, Union Square Academy for Health Sciences, New York City
  • Michael Rebell, Executive Director, Center for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University, and convener of DemocracyReady NY 
  • Oliver Robinson, Superintendent, Shenendehowa (NY) Central School District
  • Betty A. Rosa, New York State Education Commissioner 
  • Linda B. Rosenthal, New York Assemblymember, 67th Assembly District
  • Stephanie Rowley, Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University 
  • Edward Sanchez, SeniorFort Hamilton High School, DemocracyReady youth leader, Citizens Committee for Children YouthAction member, and YVote member
  • Howard Schneider, Executive Director, Center for News Literacy, Stony Brook University, founding dean of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism, and former editor of Newsday 
  • Ahmed Sesay, plaintiff, Cook v. Raimondo, 2020 graduate Providence Public Schools
  • Chris Sperry, national award-winning media-literacy educator, Director of Curriculum & Staff Development, Project Look Sharp, Ithaca College 
  • Kelly WetherbeeSchool Library Media Specialist, Shaker High School, North Colonie School District; Co-Director, Capital Region Institute for Human Rights
  • Jennifer Wolfe, High School Social Studies Teacher, Oceanside High School, Long Island; New York State Teacher of the Year for 2021

Six Reasons to Join Us

  1. Learn about students’ right to an education that prepares them for civic participation.
  2. Gain knowledge about essential components of civic education: media literacy, discussion of controversial issues, and youth civic action—and develop an enhanced vision of civic readiness.
  3. Support youth leadership.
  4. Identify ways to advocate for robust and equitably available civic education.
  5. Understand the urgency for advancing youth civic development and civic education equity.
  6. Make your voice heard by Albany lawmakers, advocates, and other influencers.
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