Educating and engaging K-12 students to lead
Charlotte's students need to understand how their governments and communities work, and how and why they can aspire to make a difference. Current events, education trends, and learning opportunity gaps make that task more difficult - and more important than ever.
They - and you - should care. Today's students will become the leaders of our schools, communities, businesses, and nation. What and how they learn NOW matters.
GenerationNation educates K-12 students to lead. Smart, fun programs connect classroom activities with hands-on experiences to build civic literacy and leadership from an early age.
Through GenerationNation, students prepare for college, career and civic life in the 21st century
- Grow as confident citizens and leaders who can read and analyze information, think critically, communicate, collaborate, solve problems, and make decisions.
- Build civic literacy, understand how their governments and communities work - and the civic leadership skills and know-how to make a difference
- Gain essential knowledge for academic success - including graduation requirements Civics & Economics and American History - while linking disciplines including STEM, reading, and the arts.
Program of work
GenerationNation reaches thousands of students annually through smart, fun programs that connect classroom learning with hands-on experiences to build civic literacy and leadership from an early age and narrow learning opportunity gaps.
- K-12 civic literacy resources, tools, and teacher leadership and support
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council
- Kids Voting
- Youth Leadership Charlotte-Mecklenburg
- Other civic literacy and leadership initiatives
GenerationNation's learning opportunities include educational sessions, dialogues, service-learning, field trips, and other hands-on experiences. Students regularly interact with public officials and civic leaders, engage in local government, learn about and apply knowledge to solve community issues, and meet and collaborate with youth from other schools and backgrounds.
Nearly 1 million Charlotte students have built civic literacy knowledge and skills through GenerationNation programs. Launched in 1992 as an annual mock election event, GenerationNation was named Kids Voting until late 2011.
Over the past 5 years, GenerationNation has worked with educators and other community stakeholders to launch new programming to educate and engage young citizens and leaders 365 days a year.
The first phase of GenerationNation's expanded work has targeted high school students. Future strategies will expand opportunities for K-8 students, program alumni, and teachers.
GenerationNation directly engages students in hands-on experiences to narrow learning opportunity gaps and build civic literacy and leadership knowledge, interests, and skills.
- 50,000 local students participated in 2014-15 activities, with 180,000 participating in 2012-15 (including presidential election programs)
- In 2014-15, GenerationNation offered students 15,000 contact hours of civic education, leadership, and service-learning
- 100% of students learned about and directly engaged in local government and community issues
Learning opportunities enable students to interact with and discuss issues with community leaders, learn about and apply knowledge to solve community issues, and meet and collaborate with youth from other schools and backgrounds, while building skills and knowledge for college, career, and civic life. Students increase knowledge and interests about government, civic issues, public policy, news/current events, voting, and volunteering, and skills and behaviors such as leadership, decision-making, collaboration, analysis, communications, public speaking, confidence, and more.
In the classroom, GenerationNation helps K-12 teachers to easily and effectively integrate civic literacy across the curriculum.
- 170+ public and nonpublic schools, including 94% of CMS schools
- 100+ lessons and tools for civic/news literacy and other 21st century skills
- Essential knowledge for academic success including graduation requirements Civics & Economics and American History.
- Aligned to core subjects, grade level, and state/national standards
- Teachers benefit from increased resources, leadership and professional development opportunities, and peer learning networks
- Users of the Learning Center teach in Charlotte - and across NC and the US
Compared with peers, GenerationNation participants are more likely to demonstrate civic leadership, civic engagement, and civic/news literacy as they move into college, career, and civic life.
- Serve in group leadership role (88% vs. 5%)
- Vote (90% vs. 22%)
- Volunteer (69% vs 28%)
- Understand how government works (90% vs. 45%)
- Regularly consume/understand news (100% vs. 70% )
Compared with data from CIRCLE, Pew Research, and NC Civic Index.
How can you and your organization help a new generation of active citizens and leaders?
We’re educating students and building leaders – and there’s still work to be done. Mentor a student. Connect your school or organization. Join a youth program. Volunteer. Contribute.