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School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program

School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program

The Center for Civic Education's School Violence Prevention Demonstration Program (SVPDP) was a curriculum, training, and research program that provided students with opportunities to engage in high quality civic education and group participation exercises throughout the academic year. The program was designed to improve students' civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes. It provided training opportunities for teacher participants that supported the curriculum and emphasize critical thinking, cooperative learning, group problem-solving, and performance-based assessment. It also provided research and evaluation of changes in students' civic knowledge and attitudes as they relate to tolerance for the ideas of others; civic responsibility; authority and the law; and social and political institutions.

The program began in May 1999, when the Center was awarded a grant from the United States Department of Education to study ways in which civic values and principles might be used as a violence prevention tool. Research studies had demonstrated that excellent civic education programs, such as the Center's We the People program, could have positive effects on students' attitudes towards society. The program’s federal funding was eliminated in academic year of 2010-11. At the program’s end there were 26 active sites, 4 pilot sites, 13 inactive sites and over 1085 schools from across the country involved. 

The professional development component of SVPDP was unique. A teacher received intensive staff development. The objective was to lend support to the teacher through the academic year.  Teacher participants attended a minimum of fifty hours of professional development during the school year and incorporate the program curricular materials -- Foundations of Democracy, We the People, and Project Citizen -- into their regular social studies curriculum.  Participants are expected to integrate 90-110 hours of program instruction and involve students in the culminating activities for Project Citizen and We the People Curriculum.

The professional development sessions are designed to help teachers:

  1. Integrate the three curricula
  2. Fold that curricula into the already existing scope and sequence
  3. Make connections between students’ behaviors and attitudes in class and the concept of violence prevention
  4. Help identify all the applicable local and state standards
  5. Prepare and conduct the required simulations
  6. Explore and practice various classroom methodologies
  7. Expand on the individual teachers’ content knowledge
  8. Share experiences of the program (both positive and negative)
  9. Work with a mentor whenever possible
  10. Work with other teachers in the same school building involved in SVPDP

The program has been implemented in grades four through twelve in large urban public school districts, rural school districts, private school districts, Indian Reservation schools and in some primary grades in response to local requests.

The Native American Initiative was an outreach effort of SVPDP The initiative’s goal was to provide civic education materials that are sensitive to and infused with the history, traditions, and cultures of the Native People.

An outgrowth of the SVPDP was curriculum material that is still in existence and continues  to grow. These are listed here along with the links of where they can be found on our site.

Black History Month
Woman’s History Month
Constitution Day

Representative Democracy in America

Representative Democracy in America: Voices of the People (RDA) was a national project designed to reinvigorate and educate Americans on the critical relationship between government and the people it serves. The project introduces citizens, particularly young people, to the representatives, institutions, and processes that serve to realize the goal of a government of, by, and for the people.

The project was implemented by the Alliance for Representative Democracy, a collaborative effort of the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Congress at Indiana University and the National Conference of State Legislature. RDA provided innovative educational materials for K-12 classrooms, conducted the Campaign to Promote Civic Education, and informed the general public about representative democracy through a variety of media.

In July 2008, the Alliance launched a professional development initiative to promote the use of its extensive curricular programs in classrooms across the country. Included were the following videotaped speeches presented at the inaugural professional development meeting:

The Center for Civic Education’s major activity in this project was a seven-part video series on DVD to help middle and high school students understand our system of representative democracy. This DVD is still available in the CCE store for purchase. The seven programs, each approximately 15 minutes in length, and the instructional guides address the following topics:

  • the roots of representative democracy
  • federalism and the separation of powers
  • the roles of representatives, executives, and justices in our democracy
  • our representatives and how they are chosen
  • the role of the citizen in a representative democracy
  • The roles available to non-voting age people.

Citizens, not Spectators

Citizens, Not Spectators was a non-partisan voter education program developed through a cooperative effort by the Center for Civic Education and the Arsalyn Program of Ludwick Family Foundation. It was a non-partisan voter education curriculum for elementary, middle and high school students.

The goal of Citizens, Not Spectators was to increase the voting rate among young Americans by providing engaging voter education to students in grades 4-12. To accomplish this goal, the curriculum demystified the voting process by teaching elementary, middle, and high school students how to cast a vote, how the voting process works, how to become an informed voter, and why it is important to cast an informed vote.

The curriculum focused on active learning. Using actual voter registration forms and ballots, students received instruction in how to register and cast a vote in a simulated election. Lessons from Citizens, Not Spectators were taught at any time, but were most effective when teaching about voting occurred around the time of actual federal, state, or local elections. The lessons have not been lost, they can be found here.


About the Arsalyn Program

The Arsalyn Program of Ludwick Family Foundation was created to encourage young Americans to become informed and active participants in the electoral process. Arsalyn views the civic and political engagement of young people as beneficial to country, community and character. Arsalyn is firmly committed to a non-partisan, non-issue-based and inclusive approach to ensure that voting becomes a lifetime commitment on the part of our nation's young adults.


CCE LogoThis site is brought to you by the Center for Civic Education. The Center's mission is to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy. The Center has reached more than 30 million students and their teachers since 1965. Learn more.

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