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Do you know a Missouri high school teacher who would benefit from professional development on teaching American government basics?

The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program is currently recruiting teachers for the third and final year of the James Madison Legacy Project. Participating teachers get over $1,000 in curricular materials, including a classroom set of the nationally acclaimed We the People books, and a $500 stipend after completing all of the testing and teaching requirement. Interested educators should contact Millie Aulbur at The Missouri Bar at milliea@mobar.org.

In October 2015, the Center for Civic Education named The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program as one of 34 sub-grantees for the James Madison Legacy Project. This project is a three-year nationwide initiative of the Center for Civic Education, which aims to expand the availability and effectiveness of civics instruction in secondary schools by providing professional development to teachers based on the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curriculum. The project is funded by a Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

An essential part of the program is the evaluative research being conducted by Dr. Diana Owens of Georgetown University. Owens is testing both participating teachers and their students through a series of pretests and posttests. In early December, Georgetown released a preliminary report about the teachers who took part in the first year of the program (Oct. 1, 2015-Sept. 30, 2016). It was reported that 649 teachers from 538 schools nationwide completed the professional development, testing and teaching requirements of the program. This number includes 26 teachers from around Missouri.

The preliminary results showed:

  • Teachers’ civic knowledge increased significantly after completing the James Madison Legacy Project professional development program, which, in Missouri, was designed and executed by The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program. Missouri’s professional development program has featured nationally known political scientists and law school professors.
  • After the professional development programs, the James Madison Legacy Project teachers were significantly more inclined than the control group teachers to ascribe to the goals of educating students about core democratic principles and the basics of American government.
  • The James Madison Legacy Project teachers became more committed to preparing students to take an active role in public affairs and engage in their communities.
  • The James Madison Legacy Project teachers gained in self-efficacy after going through the PD program.

“We are quite happy with these preliminary results,” said Millie Aulbur, director of Citizenship Education for The Missouri Bar. “We have met over 50 incredible Missouri teachers during the first two years of this program and look forward to meeting another 25 or more during in our third year (2017-18). In addition to these national statistics, we have heard from many teachers throughout the years that using the We the People program has increased end-of-course test scores in American Government.”

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