Project Citizen is a project-based civic education program that involves students in understanding public policy and emphasizes responsible participation in local and state government. Students learn how to interact with government agencies to effect change.
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.
- Project Citizen Workshop PowerPoint
- Citizenship and Citizens
- What is Public Policy?
- Selecting an Issue
- Selecting the best solution
- How can individuals and groups bring their concerns to public policymakers
- Student Reflections
- Teacher Evaluation (coming soon)
- Why should individuals participate in civic life?
- New York Times video: The Power to Change the World
Project Citizen, March 7, 2023, Rutgers University - Register
Project Citizen, March 27, 2023, Rutgers University - Register
These workshops will train teachers on how to utilize Project Citizen to help students develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to assume the important role of “citizen” in our democracy. Click on the registration link for more details.
The annual Project Citizen digital portfolio showcase will be held on June 1, 2023.
Submit digital projects by email to
We hope to be in-person at Rutgers University this year.
The digital portfolio should identify:
- the problem selected and why it was selected
- alternative policies
- the policy selected and why it is constitutional and the best solution
- an action plan
- reflections about the process and what was learned and a backup digital binder with research, letters, etc.
The digital portfolio you send to us may be in any digital format (but make sure that you send it READ ONLY so that it can’t be changed) and in a format that is not too large, including:
- a powerpoint
- Photostory (available free online)
- a website
- a video
- a movie using Movie Maker (available free online) or other software
- Live Binders (a free online source that allows you to create interactive "binders" online and to upload pictures, videos, and other interactive content)
- Any other type of computer-based presentation that you can send by link to a website.
Creating an Electronic Portfolio:
- Create a portfolio yourself to provide an example for your students and to anticipate challenges.
- Test out your technology ahead of time where students will be working on their portfolios to ensure they have access to certain tools.
- Demonstrate each technology step-by-step with students in a lab setting.
- If you are new to using Web 2.0 resources, start small.
- Model adherence to copyright and attribution rules by having students use their own photos and videos, search copyright-free sites, and teach citation rules.
Web 2.0 Resources for Creating Electronic Portfolios (Students & Teachers)
- Due to school Internet filters, some sites may be blocked.
- All sites listed have a "free" option available.