Professional Development

Professional Development

The Civics, Service, and Leadership (iCSL) monthly webinar series is brought to you by iCivics in partnership with the National Council for the Social Studies, and sponsored by the US Department of Defense, National Defense Education Program. 

The series includes monthly webinars with leaders in the field of civics education. This year’s series focuses on creating student and civic agency within the classroom. Our guest lecturers will share their unique expertise, best practices, and strategies for creating agency that can be applied to the middle and high school civics classroom.

Additional professional development materials are available on

Upcoming Webinars

Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming iCSL Webinar! Check back regularly for the latest information and details on the next exciting session.

May 15, 2024 @ 7:00p-8:00p EST – Free Online

Lived Civics: A youth-centered approach to inquiry for K-12 students and educators

Guest Speaker: Stephanie Serriere

As educators explore civic engagement and agency with students, a challenge emerges in creating processes that remain youth-centered and resist slipping into adultism. In this webinar, you will learn from Dr. Stephanie Serriere, IU Columbus, as she pulls from her experiences leading youth, including the iEngage youth civic empowerment camp in Indiana. Dr. Serriere will share youth participatory action research (YPAR) as a strategy for reinvigorating the civics curriculum and engaging youth in powerful ways that align well with inquiry and the C3 framework. This session is relevant for K-12 civics educators, and any educator interested in deepening their practice around fostering youth-centered civic engagement.

Past Webinars

September 22, 2022

Guest Speaker: Stephen Armstrong
Stephen Armstrong is the social studies consultant for the Connecticut State Department of Education and Past President of the National Council for the Social Studies (Bio link). During this session, participants will learn strategies for teaching the 2022 midterm elections. Major issues confronting voters in the midterms will be analyzed; strategies for teaching these and other controversial issues in the classroom will also be discussed. Civics teachers, U.S. history, and other teachers teaching the midterm elections and the American political system will benefit from this session.

October 20, 2022

Guest Speaker: Dr. Tiffany Packer
In this presentation, Dr. Tiffany Packer (Bio link) will discuss strategies for approaching government, history, and citizenship. She will share ways to make topics relevant, relatable, and fun for middle and high school students. Educators will walk away with tangible examples for teaching civics alongside current events, making the connections for students between classroom content and their broader social and political world.

November 17, 2022

Guest Speaker: Dr. Leah Bueso
Leah Bueso is a postdoctoral scholar with the Civic Engagement Research Group based out of the University of California, Riverside (bio link). In this webinar, Leah will explore the current landscape of civic education with a focus on the inequitable distribution of high-quality civic learning opportunities for students with disabilities. This webinar is relevant for K-12 educators, researchers, and policymakers. Participants will learn about a framework for introducing civic action projects in the classroom as well as strategies to make these projects more inclusive and accessible to students with disabilities.

December 15, 2022 

Guest Speaker: Dr. Lindsay DiCuirci
Lindsay DiCuirci is an associate professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Director of the Inclusion Imperative Humanities Teaching Labs. In this webinar, Dr. DiCuirci will share from her own innovative pedagogy for working with primary sources. Participants will learn strategies for working with digital archives and for encouraging students to interpret, contextualize, and creatively engage with primary sources in new ways. This session is relevant for any middle and high school educator interested in working with primary source texts to enhance student learning in the civics classroom.

February 09, 2023

Civic Leadership: Building Community One Step at a Time

Guest Speaker: Nichelle Pinkney

Nichelle Pinkney is an educator and author (Bio). In this webinar, she will share the importance of building community and empathy in the classroom to have impactful civil discourse. This talk is relevant for 6-12th grade social science teachers. Participants will learn strategies to build empathy and community and how to respond when these things may shift.

March 09, 2023

Civic Education as a Matter of National Security – Civic Learning Week Webinar 

Guest Panelists:

  • Holly Brown, Ph.D., STEM Program Analyst Contractor, DoD STEM, National Defense Education Program (moderator)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Walter Henry, JROTC Instructor, Mobile County, AL
  • Ashley Scott, Policy and Innovation Coordinator, Blue Star Families
  • Claire Gibson, President-elect, Military Spouse JD Network

Civics is not simply an education issue but a matter of national security. Overcoming domestic divisiveness that threatens national security requires a citizenry that independently processes information, engages effectively with different viewpoints, and commits to the betterment of the whole; E Pluribus Unum. Educators and members of the military community play a critical role in fostering a healthy democracy through civics education. They serve as valued leaders whose skills and perspectives help chart the path forward for all of us. During this panel, you will learn from individuals in the military and educator community as they share their perspectives on the importance of civics education in today’s moment; and how we work with the next generation to foster civic skills and dispositions through service and leadership.

This webinar is part of Civic Learning Week.

Visit to learn more or contact us at for questions.

April 20th, 2023

The Research & Practice of Student Voice in Classrooms & Schools 

Guest Speakers: Dr. Erica Hodgin & Ms. Mildred Garcia Gomez

Dr. Erica Hodgin and Ms. Mildred Garcia Gomez will present on the importance of student voice. Dr. Hodgin is the Co-Director of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside. Ms. Garcia Gomez is a Guatemalan woman raised in Chicago, IL, a full-time mom, and the Student Voice and Leadership Specialist for Chicago Public Schools. In this webinar learn about educator responsiveness to student voice; and the work happening in Chicago Public Schools. This session is relevant for school leaders, teachers, and educators broadly. Participants will learn what it is, research on its student impact, as well as approaches and considerations in responsiveness. A reflection tool, The Student Voice Spectrum, will be used as an example for participants to incorporate in their classrooms.

May 18th, 2023

Teaching Media Literacy to Combat Misinformation

Guest Speaker: Dr. Jimmeka Anderson

Dr. Jimmeka Anderson (Bio Link) is a media literacy educator and project manager for the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). In this webinar, she will be guiding educators with a framework for incorporating media literacy skills in the classroom. This session is relevant for middle and high school educators. Participants will learn the importance of using media literacy to teach students skills to combat online misinformation/disinformation as well as engage in discourse about public issues. Participants will walk away with a new free resource to use, the Cyber Citizenship Initiative website, and strategies for engaging students with media literacy and cyber citizenship skills.

September 27, 2023

Creating an Environment for Student Agency +

Guest Speaker: Christopher Tomlin

Christopher Tomlin is a 9th grade social studies teacher and 17 year student government advisor at a rural regional high school in Connecticut. He is the executive director of the Connecticut Association for Student Councils, supporting young people as they build the capacity for civic engagement.

During this session, participants will learn from Chris’s experiences cultivating an environment for student agency through teaching and student government. They will gain best practices and walk away with activities for student agency applicable to the civics classroom. This webinar is appropriate for middle and high school civics educators and those instructors interested in learning more about creating opportunities for student agency and civic engagement.

October 25, 2023 

A Civics of Technology from the Printing Press to ChatGPT

Guest Speaker: Daniel G. Krutka

Dr. Krutka is a former high school social studies teacher who is currently an Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of North Texas. His research concerns intersections of technology, education, and democracy. He is founder of the Civics of Technology project ( and hosts the Visions of Education podcast ( in partnership with NCSS.

In this session, participants will learn strategies for teaching students to think critically about technologies from the printing press to ChatGPT. The session will include five “technoskeptical” questions you can use in your classroom and other resources from the Civics of Technology project ( The session will provide critical ways for helping students think about how technology affects citizenship and democracy.

This session is relevant for middle and high school civics educators, or any educator interested in addressing the role of technologies in our personal and civic lives. From smartphones to metaverses to Generative AI, 21st century citizens will need to be able to enact a civics of technology as democratic citizens. This session will offer educators tools to help students make sense of our tools.

November 29, 2023 

What Psychology Can Offer Civic Education

Guest Speaker: Dr. Mylien Duong

We are living and teaching in a hyper-polarized society undergoing rapid change. Preparing young people to successfully address these challenges will require building skills for collaborating across differences. During this session, Dr. Mylien Duong will discuss the connection between the development of moral reasoning, cognitive biases, and political polarization. She is the Senior Director of Research at the Constructive Dialogue Institute, a non-partisan non-profit aimed at preparing the next generation of citizens, and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington. Participants will leave with tools and strategies for applying new skills within the classroom that foster students’ civic knowledge, dispositions, and identities

December 13, 2023 

Seizing Constitutional Moments in the Social Studies Classroom

Guest Speaker: Donna Philips

Donna Phillips is the Vice President and Chief Program Officer for the Center for Civic Education. She is the former Director of Academic Innovations and Social Studies Curriculum Manager for DC Public Schools (Bio). During this session, participants will learn how to build civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions through everyday moments within the classroom. Educators will gain tools and strategies for identifying these moments and fortifying them as opportunities to teach constitutional knowledge and democratic values. This session is relevant for k-12 civics educators; and all educators interested in developing a civically conscious culture with students.

February 7, 2024 

 The Cypher: Reimagining Civic Engagement in the Classroom.

Guest Speaker: Aysha Upchurch

During this session, Aysha Upchurch, artist and educator, breaks down how the cypher (as informed by Hip Hop culture) provides a roadmap for transforming the classroom into a community rooted in the most essential practice of civics–embracing a shared humanity and making spaces for all voices to be heard.

March 6, 2024 

Revelatory Social Studies: Teaching history through inquiry and untold stories. 

Guest Speaker: Dr. Corey Sell

During this session, Dr. Corey Sell reveals how inquiry can make history more powerful and purposeful for students by centering the stories and narratives that are often overlooked. Educators will explore tools and strategies for teaching social studies within our pluralistic society. And while geared towards K-6, this session is applicable for any civics educator looking for new approaches to civics education that reflect our diverse citizenry.

April 10, 2024

Unpacking Project-Based Learning in Civics Education

Guest Speaker: Tina Schuster

During this session, Tina Schuster, Center for Love & Justice at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education in San Diego, CA, unpacks a civics voter turnout project that was successfully taught in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Defense Education
Program (NDEP) for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, Outreach, and Workforce Initiative Programs under Grant No. HQ0034-21-S-F001. The views expressed in written materials or publications, and/or made by speakers, moderators, and presenters, do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Defense nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.