Summer Institute

Join educators from around the country to connect to high quality curriculum and inspiring, professional development led by experienced Action Civics teachers.

Learn how Action Civics can help improve instruction, school culture, academic and SEL outcomes, and youth civic engagement at The 2019 Mikva Challenge Action Civics Summer Institute — July 18th and 19th at Loyola University Chicago.

The high demands placed on teachers overwhelm even the most seasoned educators. Teachers and administrators are being asked to master more instructional practices, diverse content, and achieve multiple impacts on students — often without adequate support, curriculum and training. Some of these demands include:

  • Sophisticated inquiry based instruction
  • Quality social and emotional teaching strategies
  • Strong literacy skill development
  • Project based learning opportunities
  • Content knowledge in multiple disciplines
  • Thoughtful civic action opportunities
  • News literacy skills

The Action Civics Summer Institute will support teachers and districts in addressing these goals, easing the stress and building purposeful, positive student outcomes.

Mikva Action Civics Summer Institute Summary

Educators from districts around the country will engage in interactive workshops to deeply explore Mikva’s Action Civics pedagogy and process. Participants will learn practical skills for improving student engagement and academic performance by harnessing the power of student voice, social emotional learning, authentic civic action and democratic classrooms and schools. Now in its third year, the Summer Institute is designed to be responsive to current demands on educators and administrators. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from their peers, see examples of student voice in action, and work collaboratively with district teams to plan their own customized youth civic engagement and instruction plan. The Summer Institute will feature our highly regarded curricula including Mikva’s new Issues to Action units with added lessons on equity and engagement and news literacy. These lessons will help your students learn how to take informed action in their communities and the lessons will support teachers in guiding students through a high quality, project based learning process.

The Institute will be hosted at Loyola University Chicago at 6511 N. Sheridan Rd, in the Damen Student Center.

Participants can choose one of three pathways at the Institute:

Pathway 1: Introductory – Action Civics 101

Recommended For

Educators new to Action Civics, or teachers who may have only participated in Project Soapbox.

Participants in this cohort will:

  • Explore the framework and founding principles of Action Civics pedagogy
  • Examine strategies for Creating a Democratic Classroom
  • Explore Project Soapbox and Issues to Action curricula

Pathway 2: Immersive– Action Civics 201

Recommended For

Educators with some experience implementing Mikva Challenge curriculum beyond Project Soapbox who are interested in expanding the scope of their action civics instruction as well as refining their practice.

Participants will:

  • Examine updates to Elections in Action and Issues to Action and explore additional Mikva curricula
  • Participate in learning labs with colleagues to examine problems of practice and share successes across classrooms.
  • Explore ways to expand Action Civics beyond their classrooms — with their colleagues and across their school/district.

Pathway 3: Administrative — Leadership Teams

Recommended For

School and district leaders interested in developing a comprehensive plan to integrate Action Civics practices and programs across schools and across disciplines.

Participants will:

  • Explore action civics as a tool for addressing equity within classrooms and the district
  • Examine existing assets, develop a vision for success and build the foundation for sustainable incorporation of Action Civics
  • Explore ways to connect schools to the community and to engage the students in real world learning
  • Develop strategies for hosting authentic and transformative youth events that connect community leaders and organizations with students in powerful ways.
  • Identify authentic assessment tools measuring a multitude of outcomes

Youth Leaders in Action: A Pre Institute Opportunity

Come join us a day before the Institute to observe Mikva students in action. Learn about Mikva’s Youth Policy Councils and visit them during their “Think Tank Summer” process. Then debrief and create your own vision for utilizing youth voice for policy change in your schools, neighborhoods, organizations and cities. Senior Program Director, Steven Rosado will lead the experience, sharing challenges and impacts with the cohort.


Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

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Mikva Action Civics Summer Institute FAQ's & Logistics

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Dates of Conference

Thursday, July 18th and Friday, July 19th 8am-4pm
Breakfast and lunch included each day
CPDU’s available for Illinois teachers


  • Happy Hour Thursday July 18th evening — location TBD
  • Visit Mikva’s Citywide Youth Councils in action, 1pm-4pm. Wednesday, July 17th.

Graduate Credit Available

The School of Education at Loyola University Chicago is offering three (3) graduate credits for those who would like to enroll in a course based around the Acton Civics Institute. The course, CIEP 475 Curriculum Workshop, would be an online/in-person hybrid. Enrollees would meet 2.5 hours per week online from July 1-August 9 ; the Action Civics Institute would make up the in-person meeting time. The course will deepen and extend the Institute’s content with the final product being curriculum designed for use in your classroom. Course tuition is $1423.50 ($474.50/credit) and the class will run if 20 enroll. Teacher can sign up until July 2nd at (web link forthcoming).

Where To Stay

  • Hampton Inn Chicago North Loyola Station (5 minute walk to Institute). A block of rooms have been reserved at a discounted rate of $179/night for July 17th and 18th. Call 1-800-426-7866 and request a room under the room block “MikvaSummerInstitute” or use group code “MSI.”

Getting to Loyola

O’Hare International Airport, it is the closest airport to the university campus but public transportation requires a train and two bus rides. Midway Airport is farther away but can be reached on public transportation more easily (two trains).

More information on transportation, lodging and nearby restaurants can be found here.

To learn more about partnership opportunities, contact

Brian Brady