A Student Art Contest for Democracy, The Road to Civic Learning Week, and Another Board Member!

Yesterday kicked off the shortest month of the year (but at least it gets an extra day this year!), Black History Month, and the first day of our 2nd Annual Art Contest. We teamed up with the National Alliance for Charter Schools again this year to host a nationwide student art contest for middle and high school students. (Check out last year’s!)  This year’s National Charter School Conference will be in Boston, MA from June 30-July 3. Since the conference leads right into Independence Day in one of the nation’s most revolutionary cities, we decided to build our theme around the future of American democracy. Students can create a creative work of art that addresses the prompt: What does the future of American Democracy look like?

Submissions for this Student Art Contest for Democracy will be accepted until March 15th and the top 20 will be featured at the National Charter Schools Conference! The top 2 will even win cash prizes! For full details on the contest, check out the contest flyer and/or attend our webinar this coming Monday, February 5th at 2:30pm PST. It’s also worth noting that the contest ends on the last day of Civic Learning Week, which Thinking Nation is excited to take part in this year.

The Road to Civic Learning Week

Today, Thinking Nation released the first podcast episode in a mini-series of our regularly monthly podcast: Thinking Historically About. For the six weeks leading up to Civic Learning Week, we are going to publish a podcast conversation with various leaders to talk about the state of social studies education. Civic Learning Week takes place from March 11-15 this year with the aim of “Making civic learning a nationwide priority for a stronger democracy.” On Monday March 11th, I will cohost a lunchtime chat with National Council for Social Studies Executive Director, Lawrence Paska, where we will dive into both the current state of social studies education and how we can best collaboratively move forward. More on that event to come.

In the time leading up to that week, however, we thought it would be helpful to get a pulse from various leaders about how they see things, as well as their interpretations of the findings of our White Paper published in Education Week back in November. We hope to provide opportunities for nationwide collaboration around how we can best identify the ways to support and sustain social studies education in order to preserve and protect our democracy. 

In our 1st episode, we are joined by two museum experts. Elizabeth Grant is the Chief Program Officer for the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Sarah Jencks is Principal Consultant at Every Museum a Civic Museum. In addition to their decades of museum-focused expertise, Both Liz and Sarah serve on the Board of Directors for the National Council for History Education. Both Liz and Sarah give us a lot to think about in our conversation as we think about how to best move forward as a field. We these episodes spur great conversation and action in your own education communities and that you all participate in Civic Learning Week (and submit for the student art contest for democracy)!

New Board Member Highlight!

Last thing! Each week I want to highlight another new board member (last week’s being Dr. Catherine O’Donnell). This week, let’s welcome Dr. Marco Clark!

As the Founder & CEO of Richard Wright Schools in Washington, D.C., Dr. Clark has been a transformative leader in the global educational space for more than 30 years. Richard Wright Schools prioritize not only academic excellence, but also holistic development, fostering a culture where every student can thrive and be empowered to become life-long learners, leaders, and responsible citizens poised to shape their communities. Dr. Marco Clark is also a noted educator, scholar, and speaker who shares his personal challenges with reading as a youth and his educational reform efforts to fight against literacy and community issues throughout the country. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Clark Atlanta University, a Master of Arts degree in special education from Coppin State University, a Master of Arts degree in education administration from Goucher College, and a Doctor of Education degree from Morgan State University.

As with last week, here is a brief video interview by Tiana Day to get to know him more!