Twenty district schools earn Civic Engagement awards - AZEdNews
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Twenty district schools earn Civic Engagement awards

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  • Heidi Hurst/Mesa Public Schools

Students In Larry Johnson's American Studies Class At Shepherd Junior High School Practice To Participate In Maricopa County's Teen Court Program. Photo By Tim Hacker/Mesa Public Schools

Mesa Public Schools won more 2016-17 Civic Engagement awards than any other district in the state.

For the third year in a row, the district has dominated the Civic Engagement awards. Of the 34 schools recognized statewide as 2016-17 Civic Engagement award-winners, 20 are from Mesa Public Schools.

The Arizona Department of Education Excellence in Civic Engagement Program recognizes schools that demonstrate effective implementation of the six proven practices in civic learning, including strong formal instruction in social studies, U.S. government, history, economics, geography, law and democracy. Simulations of democratic processes and procedures, service learning, classroom discussions of current events, and meaningful participation in student government were also taken into consideration. Applicants can earn one of three designations — Merit, Distinction or Excellence — based on their civic learning successes.

Rhodes and Shepherd junior high schools, and Red Mountain and Westwood high schools were recognized as Schools of Excellence, which is the highest honor possible and was awarded to just eight schools in the state.

Schools of Distinction are Carson and Franklin junior high schools; Dobson and Skyline high schools; and East Valley Academy. Schools of Merit are Mendoza and Sirrine elementary schools; Fremont, Kino, Poston, Smith and Taylor junior high schools; Mesa, Mountain View and Superstition high schools; and Summit Academy.

“Red Mountain High School takes tremendous pride in engaging our students, faculty and staff in civic excellence through action,” says Jared Ryan, principal. “We are honored to have been selected for this recognition as we know this work leads to our community being a better place. Our students and staff work in collaboration to identify real-world problems and use their talents to create innovative solutions. Red Mountain High School is committed to being known as a community school that recognizes the importance of educating all students on their rights, roles and responsibilities as American citizens.”

The schools will be formally recognized at the state civic learning conference March 2, 2018.