This conference took place on June 24, 2020

Goals of the conference

  • Learn about innovative approaches to experiential civics.

  • Learn about the purposes of HB 334 Civics Education Amendments.

  • Explore different models of citizenship and civic action.

  • Connect project-based civic learning to curriculum standards.

  • Find resources for ongoing professional development.

  • Develop plans for potential participation in the pilot with colleagues.

  • Learn from evaluation of civic engagement initiatives around the U.S.

Conference Overview

Participatory Civics Conference
24 June 2020
8:00 am - 1:15 pm

This year’s virtual conference is devoted to the special opportunities made possible by House Bill 334 (Civic Engagement Pilot Program). These school district-led pilot initiatives will provide opportunities for secondary students to engage in participatory civics projects. Through the pilots, we will discover the best ways to help young people prepare, in a practical sense, for civic life.   


The Covid-19 pandemic underscores the need for youth civic development through innovative hands-on, project-based learning. Come and learn how educators can—and must—make a place for experiential civic learning.


Teachers will receive re-licensure points, materials, and a copy of Dr. Jeffery D. Nokes' book Teaching History, Learning Citizenship: Tools for Civic Engagement


Keynote Speakers & presenters



Lead Teacher Mentor, The McCormick Foundation


Nurturing Experiential Civics: Curriculum Design and Professional Development

Mary Ellen Daneels is a National Board Certified teacher who has taught at West Chicago Community High School for 26 years. She has been recognized as the Law-related Educator of the Year from the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago, Teacher of the Year by the 19th District of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Civic Education Teacher from the Center for Civic Education. Mary Ellen has presented on service learning, simulations, and the use of controversy in the classroom at the local, state, and national level as well as provided professional development workshops in Estonia, Angola, and Belarus. A member of the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, Mary Ellen has advocated for civic education before federal and state lawmakers. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Council of the Social Studies and recently worked on a task force to revise Social Studies standards in the state of Illinois.



Legislator, Utah House of Representatives


Overview of HB 334 and its Purpose

Dr. Daniel N. Johnson grew up on a farm in Eastern Nebraska.  This is where he learned many of life’s lessons, especially the value of hard work.  He is the first person in the generations of his family to graduate from college. Dan has a Bachelor’s Degree from Peru State Teachers College; a Master’s from the University of Nebraska at Omaha; an Educational Specialist Degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln; and a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership. Dan has been an educator for 50 years, serving 42 years as an administrator.  Most recently he served as the Assistant Superintendent for the Tooele County School District in Tooele, Utah, and retired in 2018 as the Director of Edith Bowen Laboratory School in the College of Education and Human Services on the campus of Utah State University.  Dan was elected to the Utah House of Representatives for the 2019-20 session where he proudly represents the citizens of Logan in House District 4.


Joseph R. Kahne, PhD 

Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Professor for Education Policy and Politics and Director of the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside


What Kind of Citizen? 

Professor Kahne's research and writing focuses on ways that education and digital media influence youth civic and political development. Currently, CERG is partnering with Oakland, Chicago, Riverside, LA, and two districts in Washington State on district-wide reform efforts that seek to Leverage Equity and Access to Democratic Education (LEADE).  Kahne is also engaged in longitudinal studies that examine the impact and distribution of varied civic and media literacy learning opportunities.  With Erica Hodgin, he also coordinates the development of teacher resources for the Teaching Channel’s Deep Dive on Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age.  Professor Kahne was past Chair of the MacArthur Foundation’s Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network.  He is currently a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship and also advises many civic education reform efforts. He can be reached at and his work is available at

jane c. lo, pHd

Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University



Jane C. Lo is Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. She studies social studies education broadly, with a specific focus on the inequitable experiences of students in civic education. Her recent works on student political engagement and Project Based Learning can be found in Theory and Research in Social Education as well as Democracy & Education.

andrew wilkes

Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, Generation Citizen

Panel Moderator

Approaches to Experiential Civics with Lessons

Andrew serves as Generation Citizen’s Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy, where he leads GC’s thought leadership, coalition building, and policy initiatives as a part of the national leadership team. Andrew comes to this role with nearly ten years of experience in public policy, advocacy, and community organizing, particularly among congregations and community-based organizations.


Conference Sponsor

Contact us

Tel: 385.355.4332

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