Plainfield North named Illinois Democracy School

North one of 13 schools recognized for civic education

PLAINFIELD – Plainfield North High School was recently named an Illinois Democracy School for its commitment to civic learning.

North is one of 13 high schools statewide to earn the distinction given by the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, a nonpartisan consortium that aims to make students informed, active citizens in democracy.

North will receive a stipend of up to $3,000 from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which convenes the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, District 202 officials stated in a news release.

The money will go toward student activities and clubs related to civics, educating teachers on using civic education in classes, and developing civic learning resources across curriculum. 

North Principal Ross Draper stated in the news release that the Democracy School designation creates opportunities for different departments to collaborate on teaching civics.

“Being a Democracy School also provides the students with opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, to put what is learned into action,” Draper stated. 

To earn the recognition as a Democracy School, each school completes a civic assessment that measures how often current events are discussed, civics-related concepts are taught and simulations of democratic processes are conducted for students. 

Since 2006, 54 high schools in Illinois completed the civic assessment and were recognized as Democracy Schools, according to the McCormick Foundation.

Shawn Healy, a civic learning scholar for the McCormick Foundation, said Democracy Schools represent a commitment to students’ civic development. 

Healy said the prevailing mantra of education these days is getting students ready for college and careers, which are critical goals, but schools should also prepare students civically.

“We’re recognizing a deep commitment by Plainfield North to do just that,” Healy said. 

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