At a Pasadena high school, students present proposed legislation and requests for grant funding to tackle a specific problem they find important to their lives, such as drought, transportation, and waste disposal.

A middle school in Jamul (eastern San Diego County) simulates Congressional hearings in which students prepare and answer (as a team) a series of questions from adult judges, often citing Supreme Court cases to defend their positions on current political or school policy issues.

In a Carlsbad elementary school, all students participate in classroom-based mock trials and collaborated on building a mock courtroom on their campus as part of a school-wide focus on justice.

These are just a handful of the civic-minded programs and curriculum happening in the public schools awarded this year’s Civic Learning Awards.

Now in their sixth year, the awards are co-sponsored by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning.

Schools receiving Awards of Excellence, the highest level:

  • El Camino Creek Elementary School, San Diego County
  • Oak Grove Middle School, San Diego County
  • John Marshall Fundamental Secondary School, Los Angeles County

The Chief Justice visits schools receiving Awards of Excellence.

“It is inspiring to see so many schools developing the next generation of leaders through civic education,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye. “In the end, civics education promotes civic engagement.”

In addition to the Awards of Excellence, six schools received Awards of Distinction and 65 schools received Awards of Merit.

“These schools provide great examples of how to creatively and effectively teach civics to our students," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "Civics is a critical component of our education system. It helps prepare our students for college, and also to be active participants in civic life, which is critical to maintaining a vibrant democracy."

Launched at the 2013 Civic Learning Summit, the awards have recognized more than 200 schools.