Carver showcases award-winning civics program

e-Connections Post George Washington Carver School of Arts and Science
SCUSD Trustee Darrell Woo gets a ride

George Washington Carver School of Arts & Science celebrated winning a statewide Civic Learning Award on May 29 with a showcase event featuring VIP speakers.

Click here to watch KCRA’s report on the event.

Carver is one of only 22 high schools in California to be honored for its civic learning programs. The Civic Learning Awards are co-sponsored by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.Winners were selected by a panel of experts based on the depth and breadth of their civic learning courses, clubs and/or programs.

Carver received its Award of Merit from Superior Court Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie, who presides over Sacramento’s Juvenile Court.

An innovative Waldorf-inspired small high school, Carver was recognized for three distinctive projects that further the learning of civics:

  • The Poverty Project, a unit within the 12th grade economics curriculum that requires students to volunteer with an organization that helps people in poverty. Students are also required to interview someone affected by poverty and “give voice” to their story. Students then reflect on their service through artwork and writing.
  • The ReThinking Technology Club. Students worked to convert the engine of a standard Porsche 914 sports car into an electric engine. Members of the club bring the car to elementary and middle school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) events and provide information for younger students on alternative energy sources.
  • Student Government Constitution. Students participate in elections and practice democracy by discussing important issues and creating initiatives to address those issues. Students also hold “action days” on campus to urge others to become involved in the school community.

Student work from these projects – including the Porsche – was on display during the showcase. The school’s choir also performed.

“I am extremely proud of our students and staff and their commitment to learning about the rights and duties that come with being a responsible citizen,” said Principal Allegra Alessandri. “Our guiding question to students at Carver is ‘How will you engage the world?’ An education rich in civic learning answers that question.”

According to surveys by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, only about a third of American adults can name all three branches of government, and a third can’t name any. Only 15 percent of adults can correctly identify the United States Chief Justice (John Roberts) but almost twice as many know Randy Jackson is an “American Idol” judge.

“Knowing about our democracy and about the role of the individual in society are keys to our future as a nation,” said SCUSD Superintendent Jonathan Raymond. “The work that staff and students are doing at Carver provides a great model for others.”

VIPs on hand to help Carver celebrate included Sacramento County Office of Education Superintendent David Gordon and SCUSD Board Members Christina Pritchett and Darrell Woo.