BSAC Civic Course & Badging
The hands-on learning and civic engagement BSAC students experience as youth organizers and representatives in BPS is as important, and complements, the education they receive in the classroom. Each school year, students in BSAC have the opportunity to enroll in the BSAC Civic Course, an extended learning opportunity that grants academic transcript credit for students’ participation and acquired civic skills. Completion of the course includes meeting the criteria for the BSAC Civic Merit Badges and a capstone presentation on students’ civic learning throughout the year. Students who decide to not enroll in the course have the chance to receive non-accredited BSAC Civic Merit Badges that can be used for resumes, job interviews and college applications.
Students not only receive civic badges and participate in the civic course, they also help to create them. Students work with the curriculum specialist on staff to create, revise and teach lessons in the following civic skills: facilitation, teamwork, campaign/project planning, advocacy, persuasive communication, lobbying and political education. We align the lessons to BPS standards and weave two key ones, Critical Thinking and Perseverance, throughout all lessons.
By the end of the 2017-2018 school year, 33 of 42 active students participated in badging lessons and 20 students were awarded at least one badge. Students in BSAC put their badging skills into practice year-round through campaign subcommittees, lobby days, town halls, participatory action-research through listening projects, and much more. As a result, hundreds of youth and adults and several pieces of legislation have benefited from BSAC’s mastery of these critical skills.
The BSAC civic course is our effort to expand the conversation on meaningful civic engagement for all people, especially youth. Thus, an extension of our work is sitting on the MA Civic Coalition and the Boston Civics Collaborative, two coalitions actively working to expand civic education in schools. Together, we passed into law “An Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement”. This law will promote civic engagement in and out of school, increase access to extended learning opportunities rooted in civic engagement, and put significant effort behind voter registration for qualified youth. For more information, please contact us!
Read our editorial: An Innovation in Civics Education: Digital Badges