Professional Development

The Democratic Knowledge Project, a K-12 civic education provider based at Harvard University, is happy to talk with you about our professional development workshops and instructional supports for educators.

We offer professional development and instructional supports for both a year-long 8th grade civics curriculum (including a unit dedicated to student-led civics projects) and opportunities focused solely on supporting teachers in implementing student-led civics projects. Contact to talk further about how we can support your district.


Year-Long 8th Grade Civics Curriculum (including student-led civics project unit)

The Democratic Knowledge Project has co-designed with educators an open source, year-long Grade 8 Civics course “Civic Engagement in Our Democracy”, that is aligned to Massachusetts state standards for History and Social Studies. The curriculum:

  • Bridges disciplinary mastery of traditional civics content with agency-oriented approaches to civic education
  • Utilizes our leading expertise on the Declaration of Independence
  • Includes active learning opportunities for students, such as simulations, a Declaration of Independence Videogame and a student-led civic project based on the Ten Questions for Young Changemakers framework.

The related professional development and instructional supports include a virtual and in- person opportunities for educators to learn the content of the curriculum, how to access resources, and pedagogical approaches to teaching active-learning opportunities. Our next round of year-long offerings will begin in Spring 2020, continuing through the 2020-2021 school year. Our approach to support includes creating communities of practice to allow for educator-to-educator exchanges (small groups of 8 teachers) with an instructional coach.


Student-Led Civics Projects Support for 8th Grade and High School Teachers

The Democratic Knowledge Project partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in developing the Civics Project Guidebook: Guidance to Support Implementation of Chapter 296 of the Acts of 2018, An Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement. The DKP team, which includes an Action Civics Specialist and educators, has multiple examples of student-led civic projects implemented in classrooms in Massachusetts.

The DKP offers a multi-district approach for professional development and supports that combines both virtual and in person opportunities at Harvard University or an approach that brings the DKP team to a district with more local opportunities for in-person supports.


Civic Ed Summer Workshop at Harvard University

[Educators at the Civic Ed Summer Workshop.]

In July 2019,  educational professionals from across Massachussetts joined the DKP for a two-day deep dive into a brand-new Grade 8 Civics curriculum. Educators were presented with a year-long six-unit open-source curriculum, analyzed how the DKP units align with the core competencies of content standards, practiced standards in the 2018 MA History and Social Science Frameworks, and workshopped ways to adapt DKP resources to meet the needs of their students and context.  

With workshops led by Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, as well as additional lecturers with research and teaching appointments at Harvard, Civic Educators earned up to 10.5 professional development points (PDPs).