Civic Learning Award: Guidance Charter High School

Guidance High School

Palmdale School District
County of:
Los Angeles
Civic Learning Award of: Merit

Civic Learning Description

The unique media class at Guidance Charter High School gives students the opportunity to learn about debate techniques from the campaign manager of the current mayor of Palmdale. They learn how to create effective questions for debate, ensure candidate impartiality, control the timekeeping, and keep the candidates to the issues in their allotted times. Guidance Charter also started a chapter of the Junior States of America (JSA), a student run national organization with local chapters where students learn about the free exchange of ideas organized through student debates, thought talks, mock trials, and simulations. Finally, Guidance Charter High offers a US Government class that is project-based and provides instruction in government, history, law, and democracy

Research-Based Civic Education Practices

This school demonstrates the following research-based best practices in civic education.
  • Provide instruction in government, history, law and democracy, and avoid teaching only rote facts about dry procedures.
  • Discuss current local, national and international issues and events in the classroom, particularly those that young people view as important to their lives.
  • Conduct community service that is linked to the formal curriculum and classroom (Service-learning)
  • Offer extracurricular activities that provide opportunities for young people to get involved in their schools or communities.
  • Encourage student participation in school governance.
  • Encourage students’ participation in simulations of democratic process and procedures such as voting, trials, legislative deliberation, and diplomacy.

    For more information on research-based best practices, visit the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools website.

Contact Information

Jill Hagan
37230 37th Street East
Palmdale, CA 93550
(661) 285-1600