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What is Foundations of Democracy?
Foundations of Democracy is a nationally acclaimed program focusing on the cornerstones and principals of a constitutional democracy for elementary, middle, and high school students. 

The Foundations of Democracy curriculum not only enhances students' understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy, it also helps them to identify the concepts required to initiate this form of government. Critical thinking exercises, problem-solving activities, and cooperative learning techniques help develop participatory skills necessary for students to become active, responsible citizens.

 

The Foundations of Democracy curriculum is aligned with the National Standards for Civics and Government and correlates with the social studies standards of many states, including South Carolina.  

Who created the curriculum and where are they?
The Center for Civic Education (CCE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries.

The Center specializes in civic/citizenship education, law-related education, and international educational exchange programs for developing democracies. Programs focus on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; American political traditions and institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; constitutionalism; civic participation; and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Today, the Center administers a wide range of critically acclaimed curricular, professional development, and community-based programs. The principal goals of the Center's programs are to help students develop (1) an increased understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy and the fundamental principles and values upon which they are founded, (2) the skills necessary to participate as effective and responsible citizens, and (3) the willingness to use democratic procedures for making decisions and managing conflict.

The Center's headquarters are in Calabasas , California , with an office in Washington , D.C. Since its origin in 1969, Center materials have been used in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, the trust territories, and in the following regions: Africa; East Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific; Eastern and Central Europe; Eurasia; Latin America and the Caribbean; the Near East; Southeastern Europe; and Western Europe.

The Center for Civic Education’s website can be found at www.civiced.org.

  

The trainings are free.  Where do the funds come from?
The SC Bar Foundation supports the SC Bar LRE Division for the marketing of the program and provides funding to conduct the trainings. 

 

What do teachers like most about the curriculum?
Teachers that have implemented the program were surveyed on what they liked most about the curriculum.  Teachers indicated that they like the depth of understanding that it provides on the foundations of government and their impact on history is said to be profound. This program enables students to weave different eras of history together due to the clarity of the curriculum. The information is presented in a simple way, so that students of all abilities can take something from it.  Teachers found that the information is very interesting and to the point. Teachers likes that the chapters tended to be short and they had good questions that required thought, analysis and application. Teachers liked being able to incorporate engaging activities from the curriculum and they liked that the activities were easily correlated to the state standards.

 

What do students like most about the curriculum?
Students enjoy the open dialog.  They like that not only are they learning a lot of material, but they can discuss it, and apply it to their lives today.

 
What classes can the curriculum be taught in?
Foundations of Democracy can be taught in U.S. History, American Government, Government and Economics, American Government and Social Studies.

 

How does a teacher know which congressional district their school falls under?
Teachers can access the following link and type in their school’s zip code to determine their congressional district.  http://fastfacts.census.gov/servlet/CWSFacts?geo_id=04000US45&_sse=on/ 
 

What are professional developments?
Professional developments vary in their appearance. They can be seen as in-service opportunities including, but not limited to, department meetings, conference presentations, day-long workshops, and study groups. Professional developments are provided for teachers that are interested in implementing We the People. Professional developments can vary in times from one day, two days, three days or even a week-long institute.  The length of time dedicated for a professional development can vary based on the schedule of the state coordinator, the audience the professional development is intended for, the size of the audience, space constraints, time of year, etc.  If the time is shorter than four hours, the time is definitely used more as a marketing tool with a more extensive professional development offered at a later date.


Can a school district or a school request on-site professional development trainings?
Not only can on-site professional development trainings take place on site for a group of teachers, but it is at no charge.

Do teachers receive credit for professional development?
The South Carolina Bar’s Law Related Education Division provides attendees with certificates that indicate the number of instructional hours received as each school district handles professional development differently. 

 

Where are professional developments held?
Professional developments take place at varying locations in Columbia as Columbia serves as a nice mid-point for those traveling throughout the state. (Complimentary lodging is available to attendees traveling outside of a 40-mile radius when the training is two days or more.)

 

When are professional developments held?
Professional developments are held year round. The SC Bar Law Related Education Division announces trainings held year round via the teacher list serv as well as mail training catalogs to teachers annually. Additionally, upcoming trainings may be accessed through the LRE Calendar.

 

How do you promote a professional development training?
A professional development training is promoted via mass mailings to all public and private schools statewide.  In addition to mass mailings, professional developments are promoted on e-mail listservs. 

 

How does a teacher sign up to be on the electronic mailing list to receive training announcements?
Teachers can e-mail lre@scbar.org and ask to be added to the teacher electronic mailing list. The teacher electronic mailing list not only announces upcoming trainings, but announces grants, provides lesson plans, and much more.

 

Is there a registration fee to attend a professional development?
There is no registration fee to attend a professional development.

 

Does the SC Bar cover expenses for substitutes?
The SC Bar does reimburse the school when a teacher attends a professional development training. Should reimbursement for the substitute be requested, the attending teacher brings an invoice with them to the professional training to submit for reimbursement.

 

What do attendees receive at a professional development training?
Training attendees receive hands-on resources including a complimentary sample of the curriculum and valuable information to take back to their classroom for implementation. They not only learn instructional information, but usually have in-classroom experiences in working through sample lessons, learning from experienced teaches that have implemented the curriculum, and participating in a simulated mock congressional hearing.  An attendee that travels more than a 40-mile radius receives complimentary lodging for professional developments that are two or more days. All attendees receive a complimentary lunch each day.  
 

 

What costs are associated with implementing this program?
The training, lodging, and accomodations are provided by the SC Bar LRE Division at no charge to the attendee or the attendee's school.  A limited number of classroom sets of materials are available for free from LRE.  Beyond that supply, and the only implementation costs are for classroom sets of textbooks.

How long does it take to receive a classroom set of textbooks?
If the curriculum is shipped from the Center for Civic Education (located in California ), it typically takes six to eight weeks.

What levels are available in the curriculum?
The curriculum is available for primary (suggested grades K-2), elementary (suggested grades 3-5), middle (suggested grades (6-9) and high school (suggested grades (10-12).

How much is the curriculum?
Primary Level (suggested grades K-2)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $395.00
  Story Book (soft cover): $30.00

  Individual Activity Book Copy (soft cover): $8.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft cover): $12.00

 Elementary School Level (suggested grades 3-5)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $325.00
  Individual Student Copy (soft cover): $9.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft cover): $12.00

Middle School Level (suggested grades 6-9)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $360.00
  Individual Student Copy (soft cover): $15.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft Cover): $12.00

High School Level (suggested grades 10-12)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $360.00
  Individual Student Copy (soft cover): $15.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft cover): $12.00

 

Is there a teachers’ edition to compliment the student textbook?
Not only is there a teachers’ edition to compliment the student textbook, but the teachers’ guide includes additional narrative, worksheets, tests and activities. 
 

 

Can the curriculum be taught in a block schedule?
The vast majority of the teachers surveyed that implement the curriculum typically implement the curriculum in a block schedule.

 

Is the curriculum used as a stand alone text or as a companion text?
Private schools tend to use the curriculum as a stand alone textbook and public schools tend to use the curriculum as a companion textbook.

 

Are there activities in the curriculum to use in the classroom?
Each level of the curriculum not only provides activities after each chapter, but discussion topics and other option to increase the learning and application.

 

Do the textbooks come in different languages other than English?
The textbooks only come in English.

How long does it take for an attendee to receive their set of classroom textbooks?
On average, it takes about six to seven weeks to receive the set of classroom textbooks. (If attendees attend professional development trainings during the summer, the Center for Civic Education will work to time the shipment of the textbooks with the opening back of the schools.)

Can a teacher purchase a classroom set of textbooks?
Additional textbooks can be purchased through the Center for Civic Education. Their website can be found at www.civiced.org.

 

Primary Level (suggested grades K-2)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $395.00
  Story Book (soft cover): $30.00

  Individual Activity Book Copy (soft cover): $8.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft cover): $12.00

 Elementary School Level (suggested grades 3-5)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $325.00
  Individual Student Copy (soft cover): $9.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft cover): $12.00

Middle School Level (suggested grades 6-9)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $360.00
  Individual Student Copy (soft cover): $15.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft Cover): $12.00

High School Level (suggested grades 10-12)
  Classroom Set of 30 with a teacher’s guide: $360.00
  Individual Student Copy (soft cover): $15.00
  Individual Teacher Copy (soft cover): $12.00

 

If a teacher changes schools, do the textbooks stay at the school or go with the teacher?
If the teacher changes schools, the textbooks go with the teacher. The teacher is the one who received the training, so the textbooks belong to the teacher.

What if a teacher changes states, can they still teach Foundations of Democracy?
If a teachers changes states, Foundations of Democracy is in every state.

Is the curriculum at all the levels correlated to the state standards?
Each level of the curriculum is correlated to the state standards. Copies of the correlations are distributed at professional development trainings and they are also available on the website under the program information found under the Foundations of Democracy program section at http://www.scbar.org/member_resources/law_related_education/fod/.

Why would a teacher want the curriculum correlated to the standards?
A teacher would want the curriculum correlated, because sometimes a teacher has a difficult time bringing a new curriculum into the classroom. Principals and school districts require that teachers teach specific standards throughout the school year. If a teacher can show that Foundations of Democracy teaches the required standards, the more likely the program can be implemented in that school.


Is the curriculum at all the levels correlated to the state standards?

Each level of the curriculum is correlated to the state standards. Copies of the correlations are distributed at professional development trainings and they are also available on the website under the program information found under the Foundations of Democracy program section at http://www.scbar.org/member_resources/law_related_education/fod/.

 

Why would a teacher want the curriculum correlated to the standards?
A teacher would want the curriculum correlated, because sometimes a teacher has a difficult time bringing a new curriculum into the classroom. Principals and school districts require that teachers teach specific standards throughout the school year. If a teacher can show that Foundations of Democracy teaches the required standards, the more likely the program can be implemented in that school.

 

Can a teacher meet the state standards and still use this curriculum?
The Foundations of Democracy curriculum can be taught in the classroom and state standards will still be met. The correlations provided at each level of the curriculum is broken down by chapter for easy understanding.

 

How do I find the legislative contacts for my state?
To find legislative contacts for any state, there is a wonderful book that the Center for Civic Education provides state coordinators titled, “111th Congress” for 2008. (The number in the title changes by one with each new year.)  This is a thorough book with every member of Congress, contact information, parties, committee information and contact numbers for district offices.  If someone does not have this book, all of the information is available on-line at http://fpc.state.gov

 

What is America ’s Legislators Back to School Week?
“Your ideas Count” is the message lawmakers will bring to students across the country when they visit classrooms during the America ’s Legislators Back to School Program.  The event kicks off the third week of September and runs throughout the school year.  It’s a great opportunity to meet with young constituents and answer questions, share ideas, listen to concerns, and to impart a greater understanding of the legislative process necessary for developing effective public policy and engaged citizens.  This program is sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and is designed to teach young people "the nation’s future voters and leaders"what it’s like to be a state legislator:  the processes, the pressures, and the debate, negotiation and compromise that are the very fabric of American democracy.  School principals, teachers and students have given state legislators an “A” for bringing civics to life for young people during the event. It is easy to get involved to begin sharing ideas with America ’s youth.  Contact your state legislative coordinator, Clara Heinsohn at ch2@scsenate.org.  NCSL can also be contacted for marketing and resource materials that are available to legislators, schools teacher and the media via their website at www.ncsl.org/public/backsch.htm

Materials include:
     • Talking points about legislators’ roles and the legislative process.
     • Age-appropriate material for student activities.
     • Follow-up lesson plans for the teacher’s classroom use.
     • Your Ideas Count! Booklet and video.
     • Time for Kids and in Time special editions for students.