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Civic Action Recognition Awards

Chicago Public Schools has developed criteria designed to elevate and honor leadership in four areas of youth civic engagement: youth leadership, educator leadership, schoolwide civic culture, and community partnership.

We have partnered with the Obama Foundation in the annual Civic Action Awards to uplift these leaders, and create awareness about the powerful, impactful work they do for our district and city. 

The Obama Foundation and CPS have developed four awards that exemplify leadership in youth civic engagement:

  • Youth Impact Award (For Groups of Students)
    This award recognizes students who have made a significant impact by addressing an important issue in their classroom, school, or community. Students have conducted research and thoughtfully engaged community members to better understand the problem and craft solutions.
  • Civic Education Leadership Award (For Educators)
    This award honors educators who model civic leadership by creatively and powerfully providing opportunities for young people to engage actively in their community. These individuals stand out for their commitment to providing space, encouragement, and guidance for youth voice and leadership.
  • Civic Culture and Commitment Award (For Schools)
    This award recognizes schools that are committed to providing students with authentic and meaningful civic learning opportunities both in the classroom and throughout the school. These schools value students in their decision-making and policy development processes and infuse best practices in civic education throughout students’ coursework.
  • Community Partnership Award (For Community-based Organizations)
    This award recognizes organizations that exemplify collaborative and meaningful partnership with schools to empower student voice and civic engagement. These organizations honor youth voice and use their expertise to support high quality civic learning in schools and classrooms.

Contact Heather Van Benthuysen, Director, Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement, for more information at