Higley High School is one of just 31 schools recognized in Arizona this year with a 2017-18 Civic Engagement award. The school received a School of Merit for Excellence in Civic Engagement award, one of three levels awarded.
“It’s a schoolwide systematic approach to civic engagement in all aspects of the school function. It’s how we incorporate civics in all that we do,” said assistant principal James Walker.
One way the school demonstrated this is through student involvement in clubs and organizations. The school offers more than 40 clubs, from writing club and service organizations to robotics club and international club.
“That gives us many opportunities for students to get involved in the democratic process,” he said.
The Arizona Department of Education awards the honor to schools that demonstrate effective implementation of the six proven practices in civic learning, including strong formal instruction in social studies, U.S. government, history, economics, geography, law and democracy.
The school offers a number of civic-minded classes, as well as a number of Advanced Placement courses including: AP American Government, AP Economics, AP Psychology, AP U.S. History, AP World History and AP Human Geography.
“Our civics instruction and civics practices expand beyond the social studies curriculum. It’s a misnomer that civics learning only takes place in a civics class,” he said. Students hear regularly about news going on in the state, nation and world.
The school will be honored during an event in March.