Civic Engagement Pledge

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What is the civic engagement pledge?

GENup students and leaders believe that encouraging students to be civically engaged is crucial to preparing them for life as an adult. That is why we have developed the Civic Engagement Pledge, an opportunity for school districts across California to show their support for student voice and civic involvement from younger generations. By taking this Pledge, school districts, teachers, and educational leaders will pledge to provide various avenues for students to meaningfully engage with their cities and communities through:

  • Implementing the State Seal of Civic Engagement

  • Giving students a platform to provide meaningful input on consequential decisions

  • Encouraging student leadership within and outside the school community

  • Promoting civics education

  • Increasing accessibility to voter registration forms and other resources for students 

 

There exists two versions of the Civic Engagement Pledge––one for school districts to affirm their district’s commitment to encouraging youth civic engagement and one for educators to promote civic readiness within the classroom. The exact language for each pledge, as well as the associated suggested action items for achieving each individual pledge goal, may be found at the bottom of this webpage.

Signing the Pledge:

Civic Engagement Pledge Formal Letter Template

The Civic Engagement Pledge is currently being piloted in the following school districts across California:

  • Fremont Unified School District

  • Mt. Diablo Unified School District

  • Albany Unified School District 

The GENup Executive Team is still in process of creating an official website for the pledge that allows districts to sign on through a simple form submission, but in the meantime, if your district is interested in signing on, please have your District Superintendent email a signed pdf copy of the pledge to alee@generationup.net!

Exact Pledge Language:

The exact language for the Civic Engagement Pledge for school districts is as follows:

I, _____, Superintendent of _______ do hereby affirm the commitment of this district to support student civic engagement by working with students, educators, families, and members of our community to encourage a wide variety of avenues for student involvement such as:

  1. Implementing the State Seal of Civic Engagement in my district in accordance with CDE guidelines.

  2. Supporting student voice, gathering student input on consequential decisions, and encouraging student representation on district governing boards and other district advisory bodies.

  3. Increasing student involvement in Associate Student Body student government, and promoting meaningful student engagement in other extracurricular and volunteer leadership opportunities in my city.

  4. Actively increasing student accessibility to voter registration resources and elections information.

  5. Integrating aspects of political organizing, media literacy, and technology use into existing educational curriculum.

 

The exact language for the Civic Engagement Pledge for educators is as follows:

I, _____, as a member of ________________’s educational community and a supporter of student success, do hereby affirm the commitment of this school to support student civic engagement by working with members of our student body and community to educate and encourage students in civic matters such as: 

  1. Actively increasing student accessibility to voter registration resources and elections information.

  2. Integrating aspects of political organizing, media literacy, and technology use into existing educational curriculum.

  3. Creating dedicated spaces for students to participate in their student government associations and times for youth to register to vote

  4. Discussing and creating opportunities to hold meaningful conversations on political matters and the legislative process; encouraging students to participate in government at the local, state, or federal level

Various avenues of achieving each pledge goal (outline above) are included below. These action items are in no way binding nor required to all be completed; they simply serve as suggestions for your school district to ideate and implement a comprehensive student-focused campaign to successfully achieve the goals of the Civic Engagement Pledge:

Opting into the State Seal of Civic Engagement.

  1. Implement the State Seal of Civic Engagement with CDE guidelines

  2. Identify metrics determining productive student academic engagement

  3. Create methods for students to demonstrate their knowledge of federal and tribal governments, the roles of constitutions, and the opportunities for citizens to engage in the democratic process

  4. Partner with organizations or departments to organize and research existing and future civic engagement projects, identifying methods for students to practice their knowledge of government and civic engagement

  5. Encourage student self-reflection on their learning and skills developed in their time as a student

Supporting student voice in your district

  1. Create a student board member position, if one does not already exist.

  2. Create a Superintendent Youth Advisory Council and/or a Student Board Member Advisory Board, if one does not already exist.

  3. Include a student member on your district’s LCAP committee.

  4. Identify district boards and positions that could be benefited by youth feedback; determine ways to include students in those decisions

  5. Send out student surveys to solicit student opinion on issues that directly affect students (i.e. school re-openings, mental health, school resource officers, racial discrimination, etc.). Take into account student input when crafting policies addressing the aforementioned issues.

 

Increasing student leadership involvement

  1. Encourage and support students who run for student leadership positions such as ASB, student advisory boards, and various student committees.

  2. Offer students serving in student leadership positions meaningful roles and responsibilities in their schools and district, as well as concrete methods to connect with their peers

  3. Distribute information on local leadership & advocacy opportunities (i.e. interning for a local official, advocating for a specific local/statewide campaign, participating in a community-based civic organization).

 

Increasing student accessibility to voter resources

  1. Collaborate with community organizations to host yearly voter registration drives at every high school site.

  2. Provide voter registration forms to students placed in public and accessible locations at school sites.

  3. Send out resources on how to become a poll worker and make it accessible to do so (i.e. consider making Election Day a No School Day).

  4. Provide resources for pre-registration for 16 and 17 year old students.

  5. Regularly disseminate information on local politics (i.e city council, school board, etc) through mass communication services like a newsletter.

  6. Create or share online voter materials such as nonpartisan ballot information or digital voter registration opportunities

  7. Promote census-taking in districts, either by encouraging students to volunteer as census-takers or by teaching them the importance of their families and loved ones filling out the census

 

Promoting youth voter participation in elections and campaigns

  1. Educate students on the importance of their votes and different ways for students to vote in local, state, and federal elections

  2. Promote discussions around current events occurring in their districts or government where students can ask questions or learn about their role as students and citizens

  3. Promote student engagement in local events impacting youth by educating students on civic participation methods, such as how to volunteer for a political campaign or share public comment at government board meetings

 

Integrating civics education into existing curricula

  1. Incorporate occasional lessons and projects on civics-related topics such as how to vote, how to research candidates, how to write to an elected representative, etc.

  2. Host relevant discussions based on awareness months/weeks/days; for example, hold class discussions on the history of black disenfranchisement during Black History Month.

  3. Host a Civic Engagement Day/Week educating students on all of the aforementioned methods of civic engagement in their communities