Greenwich League of Women Voters Collaboration with Harvard Civics Project Goes National

The League of Women Voters of Greenwich is pleased to announce that its 2-year collaboration with the Harvard Case Method Project has culminated in nearly 80 outstanding high school teachers from 21 states being selected to attend a cutting-edge professional development program in Boston this August.

Improving the content and delivery of civics education has long been a focus of League chapters around the country, and this workshop will be a major step forward in achieving that goal. The training will be led by award-winning Harvard Business School Professor, David Moss, who pioneered the use of the case study method to teach US history, government and civics. Selected teachers were all nominated by their local League chapters in a competitive process held this spring.

Their immersion in the case method over 2½ days this summer will enable them to return to their schools and communities where they can engage both students and adults in lively discussions about pivotal moments in American democracy.

“We were delighted to see how enthusiastically so many League chapters embraced this unique project,” said Carol Reimers, League of Women Voters of CT president, in a release. “It has generated not only an exceptional educational experience for students and teachers, but has provided an avenue for citizen education.”

Greenwich LWV’s board and Program Committee member Deirdre Kamlani, said, “We are all indebted to Professor Moss and the Harvard Case Method Project for entrusting the League with this effort, and for generously making this training available at no cost to participating teachers.”

Professor Moss said, “It is such an honor to have the chance to work with so many outstanding teachers from across the country, and we’re deeply grateful to all of the League chapters for nominating these teachers – and especially to Deirdre Kamlani of the Greenwich League for getting the program started and making everything we’re doing possible.”

What is particularly noteworthy about the League-nominated cohort of teachers is how diverse they are. They represent every region of the US and are drawn from urban, suburban and rural school districts.

Many Leagues also specifically chose to nominate top teachers from schools that were economically challenged, in keeping with the League’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

For those Leagues that were not able to nominate teachers for the workshop, but remain interested in getting involved with the project, an online training module and case materials can be made available to active teachers of US history, government or civics click here.

The Greenwich League was a natural home for the community pilot event in 2017, given its size and active programming effort.

An early partnership with the Greenwich High School Social Studies Department enabled a total of six exceptional teachers to train in the case method under Professor Moss in 2017 and 2018.

The pilot community case discussion was incredibly popular and heavily oversubscribed, and the League found that taking part in these conversations had a discernible and positive impact on civic behavior: 70% of participants said they would be much more likely to engage in constructive political dialogue; 50% said they would be much more likely to vote; and 45% said they would be much more likely to get involved in politics.

After the successful pilot, the Greenwich League was invited to present the project at the national League’s Annual Convention in Chicago in 2018. There were nearly 300 League members who joined the initial conversation. More than 150 Leagues expressed interest in nominating teachers for the August 2019 workshop, and about one third of that group was successful in ultimately selecting teachers.

The Greenwich League decided to make the community case discussion an annual event in partnership with Greenwich High School each November. Similarly, each teacher attending the professional development program this summer has committed to moderate a community case discussion with their League, meaning that these conversations will be happening in communities all around the country in 2019 and 2020. The goal is to encourage voters to recommit themselves to the process of informed and reasoned debate, something League members see as the cornerstone of a well functioning democracy.