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News Release

2022 Civic Learning Awards Honor Models for Civic Learning

Schools in Orange and Fresno counties earn top civics honor; Los Angeles County teacher Joel Snyder named Champion of Civics.
Apr 27, 2022

Twenty-five schools and one teacher will receive the 2022 Civic Learning Award, co-sponsored by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. This year's award honors programs, projects, classes, and individuals engaging students in civics, particularly during the pandemic. 

Chief Justice's announcement was posted on the Power of Democracy's Twitter an Facebook  page. View here.

Awards of Excellence

Corona Del Mar High School, Orange County  Newport-Mesa Unified School District
The Speech and Debate/ Model United Nations team has been an outlet for students to become involved in their school and community, priding themselves on being a forum for all students to improve their speaking skills and become more “politically informed and internationally conscious.” A team of 80 students meets weekly in the evening to develop and improve their speaking skills.

Doig Intermediate School, Orange County  Garden Grove Unified School District
The Doig Action Committee is a civic action club open to all students to engage in community service. The students analyze issues in their community, using their research, writing, and speaking skills to create speeches related to any social issue of interest. For the second half of the year, they collaborate to campaign on issues they agree on.

Tarpey Elementary School, Fresno County  Clovis Unified School District
The Student Council Club provides their students with in-depth instruction and experience in government, law, and democracy outside the classroom, which helps them to develop leadership skills, partner with local community organizations, and serve the school and local community through various projects throughout the year.

Awards of Distinction:

  • Anaheim High School, Orange County   (Anaheim Union High School District)
  • Los Altos Elementary, Los Angeles County  (Hacienda La Puente School District)
  • Orange Grove Middle School, Los Angeles County (Hacienda La Puente School District)

Awards of Merit

Fresno County: 

Garfield Elementary (Clovis Unified)
Maple Creek Elementary (Clovis Unified)

Oraze Elementary (Clovis Unified)
Red Bank Elementary (Clovis Unified)
Woods Elementary (Clovis Unified)

Los Angeles County:

Nelson Elementary (Hacienda La Puente School District)
Sparks Middle School (Hacienda La Puente School District)
Sunset Elementary (Hacienda La Puente School District)

Monterey County:

North Monterey County Middle School (North Monterey County School District)

Orange County:

Cypress High School (Anaheim Union High School District)
Garden Grove High School (Garden Grove Unified School District)
Loara High School (
Anaheim Union High School District)
Magnolia High School (Anaheim Union High School District)
Santiago Charter Middle School (Santiago Charter Middle School)
Santiago High School (Garden Grove Unified School District)
Sycamore Junior High School (
Anaheim Union High School District)

Riverside County:

Norte Vista High School (Alvord Unified School District)

San Diego County:

Literacy First Charter High School (San Diego County Office of Education)
Mt. Everest Academy High School (San Diego Unified School District)

In total, 54 California schools submitted applications, many for the first time. 

“Students, teachers, and administrators at these award-winning schools show an extraordinary dedication to civics—whether providing forums for healthy debate, campaigning on community issues, or partnering with local groups to effect change,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye. “The future of our democracy depends on engaged students like these—our future leaders—who understand their government and are deeply invested in the health of their communities.”

Champion of Civics: Joel Snyder, Teacher, Animo Pat Brown Charter High School, Los Angeles

Joel Snyder, 2022 Champion of Civics

Joel Snyder is a thought-leader, an innovator, risk-taker and a champion of civics. His commitment to making civics a highly personal and reflective experience for his students is why he is officially a Champion of Civics, honored as part of this year’s Civic Learning Award program.

Joel Snyder was nominated by a fellow teacher, a current student and a former student now attending college. Each touched on a few practices Snyder's uses for getting his students excited about their community and world around them, including:

  • Creating Personal Civic Stories: Students create essays and audio recordings
    about civic traits based on class curriculum and interviews with family, friends, clergy, and other community members.
  • Interviews with Local Politicians: Students Zoom with politicians who serve their district and have the opportunity to ask questions about challenges facing their community.
  • Direct Action by Students: Students write letters on topics their concerned about to local officials, create voter guides in English and Spanish, and lead campaigns to increase voter turnout and work at local polling sights.

“Every class period is full of so much knowledge and relevancy to today's world...he has also given students plenty of opportunities to apply their learning in the real world and see the effect of our work.” – Student, Animo Pat Brown Charter High School

In addition:

The Spirit of Liberty Award: Equity and Inclusion
Clovis East High School, Fresno County; Reyburn Intermediate School, Fresno County; and Woodcrest Elementary, Orange County

Honorable Mentions
Fresno County: Cole Elementary
Orange County: John F. Kennedy High School (3), Los Coyotes Elementary
Los Angeles County: La Puente High School

Civic Learning Initiative
The Civic Learning Awards were launched in 2011 and are part of the Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Initiative, which is supported by statewide partners to improve civic education in California.

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