Inspired by the U.S. Census and its historic and current function in a representative democracy, the remarkable members of the 2nd cohort of the Civic Spirit Student Delegates Program trained, brainstormed, designed, implemented, and analyzed their own projects focused on civic participation and belonging in their school communities.
They overcome challenges while migrating to online school in the middle of survey implementation, yet remained committed and focused throughout the process.
On June 18th, 2020 the Student Delegates presented data findings and lessons learned from their civic research projects to a panel of community leaders, funders, and experts as part of their Celebration of Learning.
See below for the full presentation.
When COVID hit, the Student Delegates quickly pivoted to running all their meetings and work on Zoom. Here they are March 29th, strategizing and planning to continue their projects online.
The 2nd cohort of Student Delegates has been selected! Read beautiful excerpts from their applications HERE.
What is the Student Delegation Program?
A unique year-long fellowship for a group of student ambassadors from across the Civic Spirit network.
In this program, students will participate in several civic engagement training sessions and work collaboratively as a cohort in creating solutions and educational opportunities regarding a current civic issue.
Civic Spirit Student Delegates will design a bipartisan project to address controversial factors associated with an important and timely civic issue.
Topic for the 2019-2020 year: The U.S. Census.
This year’s Civic Spirit Student Delegates will have the opportunity to present their suggestions to government officials at the New York Regional Census Center. They will also present to their peers at Civic Spirit Day in May 2020.
By participating in the Civic Spirit Student Delegation Program, students will develop deeper skills, knowledge, and experience to inform their participation in civic life and will form authentic relationships with students from vastly different backgrounds.
Why Did We Create This Program?
The Student Delegates Program is an opportunity for a group of committed students to learn how to problem-solve across difference and hone their civic muscles with the understanding that outside the classroom experience is vital to civic education.
Democracy Ready NY states that “Civic readiness is the ability to make a positive difference in the public life of our communities through the combination of knowledge, skills and actions, mindsets, and experiences.” Similarly, Civic Spirit uses a 3-pronged framework incorporating key pillars of civic education:
1. Civic Belonging; 2. Democratic Fluency; and 3. Civic Skills.
The Student Delegates program builds upon the success of our first group of Student Delegates who developed and delivered a thorough and successful presentation on engaging youth in national and local service in August 2019 to NYC Service, an Office of the Mayor.
How Do Students Apply?
- Students apply through a brief online application.
- HERE is the online application for students to complete.
- HERE is a flyer to promote the program at your school.
A group of students will be selected to serve as Civic Spirit Student Delegates for the 2019-2020 School Year.
What will the Civic Spirit Student Delegates Do?
- The Student Delegates will participate in 5 events during the year:
- One (1) in-person 3-hour skill-based, knowledge-building civic workshop on Sunday, November 10th, 2019.
- Two 90 minute Zoom on-line capacity-building meetings with our Delegation Facilitator. These meetings will take place during evenings to accommodate after-school schedules.
- Civic Spirit Day where they will present their work as a team to the students in attendance. The date is Wednesday, May 6th, 2020.
- In-person presentation to members of the U.S. Census Bureau in late spring.
- In addition, each Student Delegate will also be tasked with completing a small “capstone” project at their own school (e.g. a poster campaign, a presentation at an assembly, a lunchtime learning session, a project in their community) that relates to the civic issue.
What are the Benefits to the Students?
- LEARN urgent civic skills such as problem solving and oration.
- DEVELOP expertise on a particular civic issue – history, challenges, opportunities, and ways to get involved.
- EXERCISE their knowledge and leadership as Civic Ambassadors.
- PREPARE and GIVE a presentation to government officials.
- CREATE working relationships with people from different religious, economic, racial, political, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
- SERVE as content leaders at Civic Spirit Day.
What is the 2019-2010 Theme?
This year’s civic focus will be on the U.S. Census. Students will be studying and discussing the Historic, Civic, and Biblical implications of Counting People. They will explore challenges and solutions associated with the census as well as look at the relevance of population data in political life.
Who are the Staff for this Program?
The Director of the Student Delegates Program is Sanda Balaban. She is the Founder and Director of YVote and Next Generation Politics, with a deep background in youth development and civics. Sanda directed Strategic Learning Initiatives for Facing History and Ourselves; served in a variety of capacities at the NYC Department of Education, including leading a cohort of 23 secondary schools, serving as Chief of Staff for the Empowerment Schools initiative, and helping develop and support dozens of new schools; and worked in educational philanthropy at The Goldman Sachs Foundation and the Ford Foundation and in program roles with education nonprofits The Teachers Network and the Boston Private Industry Council. She also taught high school humanities and electives in NYC and Boston.
The Director of Civic Spirit, Lindsay Bressman, will oversee this program.