The Department of State recently hosted a kickoff webinar for the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award for the 2020-21 school year.
The event featured local and national organizations that support youth voter registration, as well as a high school educator who has worked with his county election office to recruit student poll workers for over 25 years.
The Department of State is extraordinarily grateful to the panelists for sharing their talents and resources with the group. For educators and students who missed the live event, you can read about the panelists below for inspiration, and contact them if you want to learn more about their work.
The Civics Center
The Civics Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that supports youth-led high school voter registration efforts. Leading up to High School Voter Registration Week (September 21-25), The Civics Center will support these efforts through free Zoom workshops and materials called Democracy in a Box. Students and educators can sign up for a workshop by heading to
thecivicscenter.org. Please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
View James’ presentation.
Pennsylvania Cable Network
Civics 101, a free public service of PCN, is an online educational tool to help Pennsylvania students understand how our state government works. Programs include interviews with elected officials, tours of the state Capitol and Governor's residence, and more. In addition, an interactive video game is available to keep children interested and engaged. A Continuing Education section provides adults with a deeper level of study through talks on related topics. The site is accompanied by a Teacher's Guide, which provides ideas for ways Civics 101 resources may be used in the classroom.
Check out their website and video gallery at
https://pcntv.com/civics-101-vod/. You can see a tutorial of their civics video game at
Download PCN’s Civics 101 pamphlet.
Ed Fitzgerald, Bellefonte Area High School
Ed Fitzgerald, III has been an educator at Bellefonte Area High School for more years than he is willing to admit! He serves as the Advanced Government & Politics teacher, Gifted Instructor (grades 6-12), Model UN advisor and Graduation Coordinator (among other roles).
Each year, Ed coordinates with the Centre County Election Office to recruit high school students to serve as poll workers on election day. Both Ed and Centre County elections officials can attest to the strengths and benefits of their collaboration. The polling places are infused with interested young workers, and the students gain the hands-on experience of helping run an election. Ed’s relationship with county election officials and his unwavering support of student poll workers provide an awesome example for educators and election officials around the Commonwealth.
Anh Nguyen (she/her) is a Civic Engagement Coordinator at VietLead, a grassroots, nonpartisan community-based organization that focuses on intergenerational healing through leadership development, community engagement, culture and arts, and health promotion work. Their focuses include participatory democracy and youth organizing. Their vision is to integrate unique, sustainable programming that builds the skills, leadership, and collaboration needed to ensure that their community can thrive in Philadelphia and South Jersey. Vietlead helped lead voter registration drives at several Philadelphia-area high schools during the 2019-20 school year. They provide a great example of how to work thoughtfully and collaboratively in communities that include immigrant and non-citizen youth.
View Anh’s presentation.
The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh
During the 2019-20 school year, Brentwood High School in Allegheny County teamed up with the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh to help run a voter registration drive for their students. WQED Pittsburgh documented their partnership in this brief video:
https://youtu.be/TGsxLTkdOgQ. Brentwood High’s partnership with LWVPGH serves as a great example of how students and educators can collaborate with local election organizations to support youth voter registration.
LWVPGH has a number of resources available to support youth voter registration in the Western PA region:
https://sites.google.com/lwvpgh.org/lwvpgh-voter-resources. You can contact your local League of Women Voters chapter if you’re interested in setting up a similar partnership at your school.
Read a summary of Amy’s presentation.