The DOE believes civics education is an essential part of every student’s core academic experience. We launched the Civics for All initiative to strengthen opportunities for students to develop skills and knowledge related to democracy. The goal is for all our students to be engaged community members who can think critically and are empowered to chart the course that our city and country take. Civics for All helps schools support students in making connections between history, current events, and democratic structures.
At Civics for All (CFA), our mission is to cultivate civically ready students across NYC Public Schools K-12 by collaborating with teachers, education leaders, and partners. We are strongly committed to developing teacher capacity to harness democratic practices in all schools, empowering students to develop civics skills, knowledge, and mindsets. By providing comprehensive resources, professional opportunities, and teacher-developed tools, we strive to establish vibrant learning environments where students demonstrate the necessary skills and disposition to protect and expand our democratic ideals. Through collaborative external partnerships, we activate student and teacher learning, bringing democracy in New York City to life. Together with districts, school communities, and external partners, we champion student voice, support teachers' civic instruction, and build democratic classrooms across grades K-12. Our goal is to foster a lifelong commitment to civic action, enabling students to positively impact their local and global communities.
In 2024 Civics Week will be taking place March 11-15, 2024. Civics Week is a time for schools across the city to celebrate youth voice, civic empowerment, and the importance of registering to vote. Civics Week includes efforts to get every young person to understand that their voice matters and that they can create change as active participants of their community.
During the week, K-12 schools across the City celebrate youth voice, civic empowerment, and the importance of registering to vote. Each year Civics for All shares resources to help prepare schools to organize Civics Week events.
We're happy to share that our theme for Civics Week 2024 is Democracy Needs YOU!
This year's theme is intended to ensure that our students know that democracy requires all of us to participate, regardless of age or voting eligibility. Our Civics Week resources will be available soon for all grades, K-12, and will include lots of ways to teach NYC students that democracy requires their action and engagement!
Student Voter Registration Drive
As an integral part of Civics Week each year, the DOE hosts an annual Student Voter Registration drive for U.S. citizens who are 16 years of age or older. This year’s student voter registration drive will take place in NYCDOE high schools from March 11th-15th, 2024.
Civics for All Poster Contest
New York City students in grades K through 12 are invited each year during Civics Week to showcase their civic engagement and artistic talent by participating in the annual NYCDOE Civics for All Poster Contest. The annual poster contest encourages students to:
- Learn about important issues
- Realize why student voice matters
- Understand and amplify why voting and active civic participation are important
Submissions for the 2024 Poster Contest are open! Teachers and Administrators, please find further poster contest instructions on the Civics for All InfoHub.
View the 2023 winning posters and the 2022 winning posters.
SoapboxNYC is a public speaking competition that calls on students to speak out about issues that affect them and their communities. Students create and advocate for solutions to improve their schools, communities, and the lives of other young people. Watch the Welcome to Project Soapbox video to see the event in action.
Participatory Budgeting In Your Schools Program
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is one of the components of Civics for All's Partner School Program. PB is a student-driven, democratic budgeting process where school community members decide how to spend part of a budget on something to improve the school community. Participatory Budgeting in schools tends to run each school year from November-March. In 2023-24 we have over 400 schools participating in the PB process!
Seal of Civic Readiness
The New York State Seal of Civic Readiness (NYSSCR) is a distinction on student diplomas that encourages civic knowledge and participation through experiential learning and the engagement of youth voice, leadership, and action. It lets employers and post-secondary institutions know that students have developed the competencies central to being an active member of a community and society. In addition to serving as a special endorsement on student diplomas, the Seal of Civic Readiness is a graduation pathway, meaning it can stand in for the fifth Regents exam for a Regents or Local diploma.
Civics for All manages the NYSSCR for NYC schools. The Department of Social Studies & Civics has led work in the State to ensure that students are given access to the highest quality civic learning experiences and achieve civic readiness as a result of their K-12 education, while also emphasizing the importance of social studies, civics, and humanities education as central to the development of life-long skills and success. For schools that are interested in granting the Seal of Civic Readiness visit the Civics for All InfoHub for more information.
Resources for Schools
Teachers and administrators who want to learn more about Civics for All and Civics Week should visit the Civics for All InfoHub .
Resources for Students
Civics for All Comics Group
The Department of Social Studies and Civics' Civics for All Comics Group began as a collaboration between the NYCDOE, creators Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, and Good Trouble Productions with the publishing of Action Activists #1 and Registered #1 in 2020. Since then, the comics group imprint has grown, developing social studies and civics comics as companions to several of our resources.
Access our Civics for All Comics