A new public-private partnership is offering all Iowa schools new “citizenship” courses for students in Iowa middle schools and high schools.
“This type of partnership and this type of curriculum being offered to teachers is extremely, extremely important,” says Brent Siegrist, executive director of Iowa’s nine Area Education Agencies. “This curriculum is research based. It’s been tested and it will be a real benefit to provide to teachers and students — every teacher and every student in the state of Iowa, free of cost.”
The course work is all posted online.
“And there is great interest in this curriculum in other states as well as other countries,” Siegrist says.
Plus, Iowa’s AEAs have the authority to charge educational institutions outside the state of Iowa that want to use the online coursework. Character Counts Iowa, a private organization based at Drake University, helped finance the project to collect and organize the coursework for middle schools and high schools.
“What’s exceptionally exciting about this particular curriculum is that these are resources that we’ve seen utilized not only in individual classroom settings, that we’ve seen in leadership development at the high school level, they’ve been embedded in community college level in degree programs at Des Moines Area Community College and we’ve seen ongoing professional development of these same resources at some of Iowa’s largest organizations: Principal Financial Group, Unity Point Health, HyVee,” says Scott Raecker, executive director of Character Counts Iowa, “all using these same materials.”
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says this citizenship course not only promotes leadership skills, it stresses the importance of working as a team, “and shapes an intentional culture of safety, respect and engagement.”
Governor Terry Branstad says this coursework will help Iowa students be “truly ready” for college and the work world.
“This is about educating the whole child,” Branstad says.
Here is a link to the “personalized” learning system set up by Iowa Area Education Agencies for this citizenship curriculum. (It requires registration and a password.)