The State Bar of Nevada has received funds to help expand opportunities for teacher professional development across Nevada for middle and high school teachers in civics and government.

The initiative, the James Madison Legacy Project, is part of a nationwide professional development program directed by the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit educational organization that was recently awarded a federal grant under the U.S. Department of Education’s Supporting Effective Educator Development grant program.

The funding, $137,000 in the first year and $362,000 total over three years, will be used to increase the number of highly effective teachers in We the People: The Citizen and Constitution program, focusing on schools with higher student poverty rates, unfilled teacher positions, or teachers without subject expertise through professional development.

The teacher institutes and workshops will focus on training for the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program, a nationally acclaimed curriculum that teaches middle and high school students about the history and principles of the U.S. Constitution.

The program teaches critical thinking skills, through the lens of the history and principles of constitutional democracy. Programs at the middle school and high school level each provide opportunities for students to engage one another to better understand the nation’s history, as well as the practical application of the ideas behind American democracy. The funds provided to the Bar will give teachers the opportunity to implement this curriculum.

The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress in civics revealed that only about 25 percent of students performed at or above the “proficient” level. All the other students scored at “basic” or “below basic” levels that leave them ill-equipped to participate effectively in civic life.

“In order to help students become effective and engaged members of We the People and further the goal of a nation that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, it is critical that teachers have a sound background in civics and government and develop the skills required to bring the subject to life for their students,” said Kathleen Dickinson, the Law Related Education Coordinator for the State Bar of Nevada.

For more information contact: Kathleen Dickinson, 702.317.1408