Project Citizen is a project based civic education program for students grades 3-12. It emphasizes responsible participation in local and state government. The program involves students in understanding public policy. In the process students develop an appreciation and feelings of civic empowerment. Entire classes of students work cooperatively in small groups to effect change in their community. Students develop a digital portfolio that documents their work, and upload it to a website where it can be shared with other classes. See projects from the New Jersey State Project Citizen Showcases from 2012 through 2022.
The Project Citizen curriculum focuses on the role of the state and local governments. It involves a whole class of middle and high school students in cooperative learning activities that are guided by their teachers. Students learn how to interact with government agencies to effect change by following the following steps:
- Identifying a problem in their community that requires a public policy solution
- Gathering and evaluating information on the problem
- Examining and evaluating alternative solutions
- Developing a proposed public policy to address the problem
- Developing an action plan to get their policy adopted by government
- Organizing the materials into a portfolio to present to the appropriate governmental agency and to share at the annual State Project citizen Showcase
- Reflecting on the learning experience individually and as a class.