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Civic Readiness Initiative

The application to offer the Seal of Civic Readiness +1 Civics Pathway is available for all districts and schools in the SED Monitoring and Vendor Performance System located within the Application Business Portal for the 2024-2025 school year. 

The New York State Board of Regents is committed to civic education that empowers all students to make informed decisions for the public good as members of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

Civic education facilitates the development of civic competencies, which are needed for a democratic society to flourish. Through civic education, students learn how to identify and address problems in their community or school community. Students also learn how to demonstrate respect for the rights of others, respectfully disagree with other viewpoints, and provide evidence for a counterargument.  Civic education can strengthen the relationships of schools and students with parents, families, civic leaders, and organizations and community partners. 

What is Civic Readiness?

Civic readiness is the ability to make a positive difference in the public life of our communities through the combination of civic knowledge, skills and actions, mindsets, and experiences.

Civic Ready students use civic knowledge, skills and mindsets to make decisions and take actions for themselves, their communities, and public good as members of a culturally diverse, democratic society.  Schools, therefore, must provide students meaningful opportunities to develop specific civic knowledge, skills, and mindsets—and to participate in authentic actions and experiences—that are necessary for them to function as productive civic participants within their schools, communities, states, our country and the world.  

Domains of Civic Readiness

Civic readiness is continuously developed throughout students’ prekindergarten - 12th grade education and should include:

Civic Knowledge

Demonstrate a fundamental and functional knowledge of government, law, history, geography, culture, economics, and current events.  These may include inequities within our democratic system at the federal, state and local level. Students should know how to apply this knowledge to different circumstances and settings.  

Civic skills and action

Demonstrate a broad array of critical analytic, verbal, communication, media literacy and other skills and participate in a wide variety of actions. Students should practice such actions both inside and outside of school on a regular basis.

Civic Mindsets

Demonstrate the mindset of a participant in a democratic society. A civic mindset is a commitment to democratic interpersonal and intrapersonal values, virtues, attitudes, and beliefs and informed actions that promote and facilitate meaningful participation in civic life.  It is an understanding of self as part of and responsible to larger social groups.

Civic Experiences

Participate in developmentally appropriate civic experiences. Civic readiness should be developed in a variety of settings and ways—inside and outside of the classroom, across content areas, and for multiple purposes. Civic Readiness should be promoted by engaging students in relevant experiences that include students as active participants. 

Domain Examples

Civic Banner one  Civic Knowledge

 Fundamental civic knowledge in grade level appropriate forms includes:

  • The structure and functioning of government, law, and democracy at the federal, state, local, and school levels, and how to participate therein;    
  • Civil and educational rights and responsibilities guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution of the State of New York, and federal, state and local statutes and regulations;  
  • History, geography, economics, and current events within our country and in our global society;  
  • The impact of individual and collective histories in shaping contemporary issues;   
  • View and analyze history and current issues from multiple perspectives
  • The importance of civic rights and responsibilities, such as voting, volunteering, serving on a jury, and the importance of ensuring a free press;

Civic Skills banner new  Civic Skills & Actions

Critical intellectual and participatory civic skills students should develop and actions they should take in grade-level appropriate forms include the ability to:

  • Demonstrate respect for the rights of others in discussions and classroom debates, and how to respectfully disagree with other viewpoints and provide evidence for a counterargument;
  • Participate in activities that focus on a classroom, school, community, state or national issue or problem;
  • Identify, describe and contrast the roles of the individual in opportunities for social and political participation in different societies;
  • Work to influence those in positions of power to achieve extensions of freedom, social justice, and human rights;
  • Fulfill social and political responsibilities associated with participation in a democratic society and the interdependent global community by developing awareness of and/or engaging in the political process;
  • Analyze and evaluate news (news literacy), media, social media and other sources of information for accuracy, bias, reliability, and credibility.
  • Engagement in working toward the public good

Civic Mindset Banner  Civic Mindsets

Key civic mindsets students should develop in grade-level appropriate ways include:

  • Valuing equity, inclusivity, diversity, and fairness;  
  • Recognizing the need to plan for both current needs and the good of future generations;  
  • Empathy, compassion, and respect for the views of people with other opinions and perspectives;
  • Committing to balancing the common good with individual liberties;  
  • Demonstrating a sense of self as an active participant in society, willing to contribute to solving local and/or national problems;
  • Respecting fundamental democratic principles, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the rule of law.  

Civic Experiences banner  Civic Experiences

Examples of civic experiences in which students should be able to participate in grade-level appropriate ways include:    

  • Completing a civic readiness capstone or, civic engagement project;
  • Engaging in service-learning;   
  • Engaging in civil discourse around controversial issues;  
  • Engaging with news and digital tools, such as social media, responsibly;
  • Participating in civic-centered co-curricular and extracurricular activities such as Model UN, Student Government, Debate Club, Moot Court, Student Journalism or Mock Trial;
  • Participating in school governance;  
  • Voting, volunteering and participating in community organizations and governmental systems, such as community boards, youth advisory councils, etc., to promote continuous improvement;
  • Engaging with local officials and government institutions through activities such as providing public comment before a government agency, or meeting with public and elected officials.