top of page

Place for All Conference 2020

Check out the resources shared by each speaker in the updated RESOURCE BANK

8:15 AM

Welcome and Pledge of Allegiance

Robert Austin, USBE Humanities Team Coordinator,  brings us all together and frames emerging opportunities to prepare students, in a practical sense, for civic life.  


The Pledge of Allegiance is led by students. 

Robert Austin is the Humanities Team Coordinator for the Utah State Board of Education. 

8:30 AM

Overview of HB 334 & Its Purpose

Earlier this year the Utah Legislature enacted, and the Governor signed HB334 Civics Education Amendments creating a three-year civic engagement pilot program to evaluate the benefits of, and methods for, implementing a civic engagement project requirement for high school graduation. Though funding for the program faces a somewhat uncertain future with Covid-related budget shortfalls, the commitment to this initiative is solid. Learn from our legislative champion what you can do to build momentum for this important initiative and build its scope to serve more Utah students and communities. 


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.

8:45 AM

What Kind of Citizen?

If we don’t have an idea about where we are going, we won’t get anywhere. As Utah educators pivot from academic civics to “lived civics”and back again in a feedback loop, it’s worth asking what kind of citizens our students should become. The point is to begin a thought process (or: conversation) about the most important outcomes for students, and to measure meaningful results so that we can continue improving.  A solid road map can help you anticipate challenges, including how to educate for democractic life in hyper partisan times. Dr. Kahne has devoted a good part of his career to these and other essential questions.

Joseph Kahne is the 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. 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

9:30-9:40 AM


9:40 AM

Approaches to Experiential Civics: Panel Discussion

A panel of local and national educators and thought leaders will share their broad experience with lived civics approaches and take questions. The panel includes:

Andrew Wilkes


Andrew Wilkes (moderator) 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.

Carla M. Duran Capellan

Student Activist

Carla Duran Capellan is an activist and aspiring politician. She is currently a student at Middlesex Community College, studying criminal justice. For the past 5 years, she has worked closely with the national nonprofit Generation Citizen as a consultant and as chair of the 2016 Student Leadership Board. Carla is a winner of a statewide College Student Change Maker award for her work mentoring students in civic education and civic action. She also presented at the Massachusetts State House and at the Boston Book Festival as a co-author of a student-written book on the key Supreme Court cases, federal laws, and concepts essential to American diversity. Carla is a co-author of the non-fiction book Defining Diversity and co-founder of the national We Are America Project.

Shawn Healy, PhD

Democracy Schools Program Director, McCormick Foundation

Shawn Healy serves as the McCormick Foundation's internal resource for knowledge on civic education and engagement. Healy plays a key role in the Democracy Program’s work in the areas of advocacy and public policy, serving as a chair of the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition, and leading the state’s Democracy Schools Initiative. Healy recently chaired the Illinois Task Force on Civic Education and led the successful push for a required high school civics course in Illinois. He also led the Illinois Social Science Standards Task Force in 2014-2015. Its recommendations were adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education in June 2015.

Jessica Lander

Teacher, Writer, Journalist

Jessica Lander is a teacher, writer and journalist living in Massachusetts. She teaches history to recent immigrant students in a Massachusetts public high school. Jessica has won several statewide teaching awards. She is a coauthor of Powerful Partnerships: A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging Families for Student Success (Scholastic, 2017) and author of Driving Backwards (TidePool Press, 2014).  Jessica writes frequently about education policy and teaching. This year, Jessica and fourteen of her former students launched the national We Are America Project, working with 40 teachers in 25 states to support more than 1400 students share their stories of American Identity.  Jessica is currently an Emerson Collective Fellow and a Re-Imagining Migration fellow working on her third book, exploring best strategies, programs, schools, and policies supporting immigrant-origin children in the United States.

Jenny Nicholas

Teacher, SLC Schools

Jenny Nicholas has taught Social Studies in the Salt Lake City School District for 19 years, specializing in AP European History, IB World History and US Government courses. She is passionate about teaching—and being taught by— her students, and views social studies education as a critical component of shared knowledge in our society. Jenny has used the action civics strategies of Generation Citizen in her government classes for two years and is an enthusiastic supporter of the way in which it engages students in new and meaningful ways.  Jenny earned a BA in History from the University of Utah, an M.A.T. degree from Boston University, and will earn an EdD degree in Education, Leadership & Policy from the University of Utah. She represented the state of Utah as a James Madison Fellow, and has worked for the James Madison Fellowship Foundation for many years.

Megan Brandon

Regional Program Manager, Generation Citizen

Megan Brandon came to Generation Citizen in 2018 straight out of the classroom, having taught 9th grade Social Studies at Colorado River Collegiate Academy, an early college high school in Bastrop, TX. She played an integral role in GC coming to her campus after learning more about the program through a 2016 civic workshop held at the White House. Through her time working as a GC teacher, she saw her students truly understand the important role they play in their local community. Megan will describe Generation Citizen’s recent work with SLC Schools.

Britnie Powell

Teacher, Salt Lake Center for Science Education

Britnie Powell has been working in education for 15 years in the Salt Lake City School District.  She has spent much of her career teaching 6th grade and Service Learning at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education. She is currently a school administrator and continues to engage students in service learning. This methodology involves students taking active roles in the community and utilizing their academic learning to make differences in their school, local, and global communities.  Whether her students are buddying up to mentor a younger grade level, performing reader’s theatre’s on math content with residents of a nearby care center, or gaining a real-world understanding of geometry through designing and building a community garden, students are engaged and achieving the high expectations Britnie has for all who come through her door.

Please reload

10:35 AM

Nurturing Experiential Civics: Curriculum Design & Professional Development


This interactive session features different ways to design curriculum to equip students to be responsible, participatory, and justice-oriented members of their community, whether that learning happens in the classroom, in remote learning or in academic service learning. Walk away with proven strategies and resources to connect experiential civics to social studies standards while deepening the impact of both.

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.

11:15 AM

Focus on Results: Insights from Evaluation of Experiential Civics Initiatives


School kids are typically assessed on what they know--and Utah’s current requirement that students pass the citizenship test before they graduate exemplifies this approach. But what if the goal is to assess students’ functional ability to participate effectively in democratic life--how do we measure success on that front? Social studies standards emphasize mastery of the constitutional principles underlying democractic institutions--but how can we measure students’ ability to transfer this knowledge to whatever civic actions they take?  Dr. Jane C. Lo summarizes findings from early research and evaluation of experiential civics initiatives around the U.S. with an eye on lessons for Utah.

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.



Building Momentum for Experiential Civics: What happens next? 

12:15 PM

Thanks to Rep. Dan Johnson's leadership and the persistent efforts of the Utah Civics Coalition, the Utah Legislature passed HB 334 and allocated funding to support 3-4 LEAs or school districts in experiential civics initiatives.


Learn about next steps in this summer's RFP (Request for Proposal) process and what you can do to position yourself and your school community for opportunities connected to HB334 and beyond. This session includes Q & A (think about your questions in advance). 

Conference Sponsor

Judi Hilman, President of Policy Catalyst, has been working with the Utah State Board of Education to strengthen civic teaching and learning through convenings and professional development opportunities. Hilman's leadership in public policy and civic engagement has been recognized by several national and state groups, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Families USA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Utah League of Women Voters, University of Utah School of Social Work, and Voices for Utah Children.  

LEAs Break into Small Group Discussions

12:30 PM

Now it's your turn to innovate! Members of each LEA or geographic region will gather together to brainstorm ideas and next steps on experiential civics in your schools and community. Participants will have structured questions to answer if they like, or you can frame your own questions. The point is to start the conversation and to initiate a collaboration. Nonprofit and academic partners will have the option to join the discussions and share any opportunities they can bring to the table. 

Conference Sponsor

Each group will have an assigned facilitator and scribe. 

UServeUtah LogoTransp.png


bottom of page