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Civics In Action!

Washington D.C.

Civics in Action! - Washington, D.C. is a unique experiential learning program jointly developed with the Carlthorp School’s sixth grade service learning team. The program allows students to research public policy issues of their choosing and to experience participatory democracy through the lens of investigative journalism. Civics in Action! complements Carlthorp’s sixth grade service learning curriculum by situating service and civics lessons directly in the community and enables students to experience first-hand how to be engaged citizens, capable of effecting social and political change.


This year’s program culminates in a five day trip to Washington, D.C. where students will meet with journalists, lawmakers, government officials, and policy advocates/experts. In the nation’s capital, students - playing the role of journalist - will research and report on social problems, current events, and their policy issues. The program  emphasizes the role of a free press in fostering productive civil discourse and sustaining democratic norms.


This year’s program builds on our civics and service learning trips over the past three years in which students traveled to the Iowa presidential caucuses as student journalists, and traveled to Washington, D.C. as public policy advocates.


Preparation for the Washington, D.C. experience begins in the Fall of 2018 through Carlthorp’s sixth grade service learning curriculum. Students create service learning/public policy research teams and develop an understanding of a specific social problem. Starting in January, KidUnity augments classroom work by engaging students with outside experts in journalism, direct advocacy, policy research, and legislation. By the time the students leave for Washington, D.C. in March 2019, student teams are prepared to engage in deeper investigation and thoughtful discussion of their policy issues.  Students reflect, report on, and advocate through traditional and social media. Upon their return, students work with their sixth grade teachers to present their work to the Carlthorp community and develop their policy research into student-led service projects.

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