Issue 14

I. CREATE News and Updates

    School Year 2023-2024: A Very Good Year
    Civics Day at MCHS
    North View at Conner Prairie
    EWA & the Underground Railroad
    Frankenstein Essay Contest Winners
    Teacher Spotlight: Nathan Earle

II. Opportunities for Teachers and Students

    Featured Destination: Heekin Park
    Public Defender Classroom Visits
    Professional Development Calendar
    Civics Trivia

III. Upcoming Events

    Summer Civic Learning Academy
    2024 Civic Learning Symposium
    2024 Civics Empowers All Students Institute
    New American Dialogue

IV. Featured Resource

    PBS Learning Media

CREATE News and Updates

School Year – 2023-2024: A Good Year

The end of the 2023-2024 school year is in sight. CREATE has been so pleased to work with MCS teachers, principals, and administrators over the past school year. We appreciate the time and dedication you have shown in supporting CREATE and working so hard to share your passion

Annual Civic Learning Symposium, Teachers College, Student Center, CREATE

for civics and good citizenship with your students. Here are some highlights we’ve accomplished together:

    MCS teachers completed 405 hours of paid professional development activities since September!
    CREATE developed 40 Professional Development Events
    CREATE directly engaged over 744 students
    MCS students have participated in field trips that have include the Indiana Statehouse, Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum, Conner Prairie, and the Levi and Catharine Coffin House
    CREATE held monthly Professional Development sessions: Over 71 new teachers completed over 77 hours

A Monthly Breakdown

    August: CREATE’s Annual Civics Symposium with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner, and 2019 Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson
    September: 9/11 Commemoration interviews and bulletin board at West View, interactions with Judge Douglas Ginsburg by students from East Washington Academy and Central, and MCS’s Academic Innovation Summit
    October: MCHS’ HBCU Club students attend Step Afrika! at Clowes Hall in Indianapolis
    December: Field trips to the Indiana Statehouse and Indiana State Museum and Oral Arguments by the Indiana Supreme Court at MCHS
    January: CREATE hosted its first monthly professional development session
    February: The Frederick Douglass Jazz Works introduced 126 middle and high school students to the famed abolitionist at BSU
    March: CREATE supported two field trips to Indianapolis and a senior trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City
    April: Civics Day at MCHS involved over 700 students and 60 teachers, a significant increase over 2023
    CREATE supported field trips to Indianapolis and hosted a Frankenstein essay contest for elementary and middle school student
    May: More field trips! CREATE is assisting the Muncie Area Career Center (MACC) in organizing its Civics Days event

Other events included monthly Civic Literacy sessions with the Indiana Writing Project and outreach presentations

We want to express our heartfelt appreciation to Muncie teachers and administrators for your time and effort over this academic year. We’ve come a long way and continue to plant seeds that will develop into high-impact learning outcomes for both teachers and students. We look forward to working with all of you during our summer events again in the next school year.

Thank You!


Muncie Central High School’s Annual Civics Day!

Muncie Central High School devoted all of Friday, April 19, to a wide variety of Civics Day activities that fostered students’ appreciation of community engagement, civic processes, and the people who commit themselves to government and public safety. Organized by social studies teacher Julie Snider, over 700 students and 60 teachers participated in dozens of indoor and outdoor activities in four sessions.

Community leaders interacted with students and shared their expertise and commitment to public service. State Representative Sue Errington, State Senator Scott Alexander, and City Council members Dale Basham, Nora Powell, and Brandon Garrett participated in a Meet Your Legislators panel in the auditorium, and Deputy Mayor Richard Ivy attended in the afternoon.

Read the Full Story Here


Muncie Students Travel to 1836 at Conner Prairie

Kindergarten students from North View Elementary explored Indiana life as it was lived in 1836 at Conner Prairie’s Prairietown, Lenape Indian Camp, and Animal Encounters on Thursday, April 18, led by teachers Nancy Zachary, Kelly Miller, and Angie Santino and assisted by

Most students were entranced by the blacksmith who was making a horseshoe. One student said, “I’m taking notes!”. Students were very interested in how he worked the metal in the fire and pounded it into the shape of a horseshoe. Students learned about this trade in a reading unit just a few weeks ago.

Read the Full Story Here


East Washington Academy Students Visit the Underground Railroad

East Washington Academy First Grade teachers Cindy Miller and Shelly Bergren and BSU student Kayleigh Miller led 28 students on a field trip to the Levi and Catharine Coffin House in Fountain City, the “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad,” on April 24. For several years, the house served as a safe haven for freedom-seekers on their journey to Canada. The group enjoyed a guided tour of the house, a self-guided tour and video, and a lunch talk with staff about the quakers and slavery.

Read the Full Story Here


Frankenstein Essay Contest Winners

Three students from East Washington Academy submitted winning examples of original creative writing in CREATE’s Frankenstein essay contest. Students submitted essays of 250-500 words in response to the prompt: Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” delves into themes of creation, responsibility, and society. Write a short story or reflection about individual responsibility towards the creations we bring into the world. The entries were reviewed and the awards determined by Dr. Bridget Lester’s Ball State University Honors College students who had studied the novel over the semester. CREATE congratulates these young writers with $100 gift cards.

For compelling and engaging Storytelling, the award goes to: The Frankenstein Hybrid by Molly. Quote: “I have always dreamed of inventing something, and I also am the smartest girl in school. I have higher chances of inventing something than anyone else.” For Creativity demonstrating imagination and original thought, the award goes to: The Vapormutant by Aleczander.
Quote: Zap! I trembled with fear. A venom mutant looking figure that I created started coming toward me.
As the Overall Winner demonstrating commitment to personal and social responsibility, the award goes to: The Responsibility of Creativity by Harrison. Quote: Creativity is the reason we have entertainment such as video games, TV shows and movies, songs, and more. However, there is a lot more responsibility that comes with creativity than most would believe.


Teacher Spotlight: Nathan Earle

This month CREATE highlights the work of social studies teacher Nathan Earle, who is completing his first year at Northside Middle School. “I decided to become a teacher because I saw far too many of my classmates who felt as if educators simply did not matter,” he explained. “Along with that, I saw the profound effect a committed and caring educator could have on a student’s life. I wanted to be that person for someone. I love history and want to share my knowledge with my students, but my first and foremost priority is building an environment where students can be seen, understood, and loved in preparation for their future.”

Nathan is a champion of civics education as a tool to build future generations of engaged citizens. “It feels as if we are living in an unfortunate era in which people take a misled pride in knowing little-to-nothing about how our government functions,” he said. “I’m not asking everyone to run for Congress, but I think a baseline knowledge of civics is absolutely essential for all Americans. An educated population is a strong population.” He currently is an active collaborator with CREATE in “jumpstarting” a We The People civics competition team at Northside, with a team also in development at Southside Middle School. Nathan’s participation in the WTP program began in 2017as a member of Mississinewa High School’s state-qualifying team led by Adam Williamson. “Since then, I have returned to my alma mater as a guest judge for practice competitions as well as provided assistance and advice to WTP students there,” he said. Nathan led his students in learning more about their community in “Figure it Out Fridays,” a series of lessons dedicated to identifying problems in Muncie and discussing ways in which we as citizens can address and fight these problems. “The students highlighted issues such as drug addiction, domestic abuse, and poverty as the major difficulties plaguing our storied community,” he said. Students then identified organizations within Muncie that provide assistance with those issues.

Nathan has participated in CREATE’s Professional Development activities. “I have found them to be very helpful,” he said. “As an educator, I am often the only adult in the room. These Professional Development sessions create an excellent opportunity to collaborate with other professionals as well as the chance to hear their varied perspectives.” In collaboration with Northside social studies teacher Julie Neuman, Nathan is planning a mock election in late October to amplify the educational impact of the 2024 presidential election. “This will of course be preceded by lessons concerning how elections work, what the Electoral College is, and a basic rundown of the beliefs/platform of both candidates,” he said. “We want the voting process to be as accurate as possible in comparison to the real thing.”

II.Opportunities for Teachers and Students

Featured Destination: Heekin Park

Over the summer, everyone can enjoy the sunshine in Muncie’s Heekin Park at the corner of Madison and Memorial Avenues. Heekin Park contains many important buildings and installations related to Muncie’s history, including a boulder commemorating those who served in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War I; a WWII Memorial and time capsule; a Vietnam War Memorial; the historic Five Points Fountain (moved from its original location at the intersection of Macedonia, Windsor, Burlington, Kirby, and Ohio); the Grace Keiser Maring Library building; and replicas of pioneer cabins.

A Walk of Fame honors the many Black leaders and residents who helped to break down racial barriers. Heekin Park also hosts a new walking exhibit–the Muncie Memory Spiral. The Spiral leads visitors along an 800-foot paved pathway through shrubs, flowers, and plants. Over 20 informational signs relate Muncie’s rich history, including information about its original indigenous inhabitants, contributions of the early Black community, and events up to the present day. Space remains for the installation of additional signs in the future. The Spiral is open now, and its official opening will take place at 11 a.m. on August 26 in a public ceremony.


Schedule a Classroom Visit with a Public Defender

The Indiana Public Defender Council is launching a unique program to enhance the average citizen’s understanding of constitutional rights and promote public confidence in the judicial system by connecting public defenders to K-12 teachers and their students. These defenders will discuss the practical application of constitutional rights in everyday situations, providing real-life context that empowers individuals to understand how these rights can protect them in their daily lives.

A government of the people, by the people, and for the people cannot thrive if the people do not meaningfully participate in civic life,” explained Legislative Counsel Zach Stock. “Meaningful participation is a loaded term, but surely, one thing is essential: the people must understand their rights and obligations and have confidence in the judicial system charged with interpreting and safeguarding those rights and obligations.”

For example, in the classroom defenders can discuss when a person is entitled to counsel under the Sixth Amendment, whether a search or seizure is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment, or if the First Amendment allows you to record police officers making an arrest. They also can explain the historical and theoretical underpinnings of these liberties, perhaps discussing the Supreme Court cases that laid the groundwork for certain rights or the rationales of why these rights were enshrined in the Constitution.

Underscoring the goal to improve civic health and strengthen a democracy that serves the public good, Stock quoted Abraham Lincoln, who said, “[P]ublic sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” If you would like to participate in this program, contact Zach Stock at

Professional Development Calendar

CREATE can provide funding for MCS teachers who attend professional development (PD) opportunities related to civics and history content and pedagogy. To qualify for PD funds, we ask that teachers complete a brief registration form prior to the event and a brief survey following the event.

Professional Development Registration Form
Professional Development Feedback Survey


Civics Trivia

The Levi and Catherine Coffin House in Fountain City, Indiana, served as the “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad” along the route between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Canada in the early 19th Century. Approximately how many freedom seekers stopped there for assistance?

A. 300
B. 600
C. 800
D. 1,000

(Answer: D)


III.Upcoming Events

Summer Civics Learning Academy 2024

Mark your calendars! This year’s 8-day Summer Civics Learning Academy is scheduled for Monday-Friday, June 17-18 and June 20-21 and Monday-Thursday, June 24-27 at the Ball State University Student Center. SCLA will focus on teaching strategies and resources for MCS elementary school educators.

This year’s SCLA will include a wide variety of session topics, including teaching about government using the We the People curriculum and a Constitution Game, local history, media literacy, multicultural education, working with students and families of color and recent arrivals from Afghanistan, philosophy for children, a panel session of elected officials, outreach from the Muncie Police Department, a session about Conner Prairie, and a full Geography Day of GIS, mapmaking, and using maps in the classroom.

Wednesday, June 19, and Friday, June 28, are reserved as independent working days and will not have in-person sessions. MCS teachers who complete the program and a brief survey will receive a $3,000 stipend. Space is limited, and priority will be given to elementary teachers.

The 2024 SCLA schedule is filling up fast.



The 2024 Annual Civics Symposium 2024

This year, Annual Civic Learning Symposium welcomes two keynote speakers who will inspire attendees to explore innovative ways of enhancing civic participation and foster democratic practices in their communities.

Muncie Teachers: Register For Free and Receive a Stipend ($260) and 8 Professional Growth Points


The central theme for the 2024 Annual Civic Learning Symposium revolves around the crucial role that dialogue and deliberation play in both our educational system and our democracy. In an era marked by polarization and division, fostering open, constructive dialogue and thoughtful deliberation is more important than ever. This theme emphasizes the need to build bridges across diverse perspectives, promote understanding, and cultivate a culture of civic agency.

    Date & Time: September 27th: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM & September 28th: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
    Location: Ball State L.A. Pittenger Student Center
    Dress Code: Casual attire is encouraged for all participants to ensure a comfortable learning experience.
    Accommodations: For those requiring overnight stays, we recommend booking rooms at the Ball State Hotel
    Meals Provided: Dinner on Friday, September 27th & Lunch on Saturday, September 28th

Please see the Event Website for more information and updates.

Featured Speakers:

September 27th, Freeman A. Hrabowski, III: President Emeritus of UMBC was named in 2012 by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans and was named the inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture Speaker by Harvard. In April 2023, The National Academy of Sciences awarded him the Public Welfare Medal, the Academy’s most prestigious award.

September 28th, Harry Boyte: With a history of service that spansfrom working directly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to advising national initiatives on civic renewal, Boyte’s contributions to the field of civic engagement are both profound and far-reaching.

We are proud and honored to announce co-sponsorship of the 2024 Annual Civic Learning Symposium by the Indiana Bar Foundation, the Center on Representative Government at Indiana University, and the Remnant Trust. Their generous support underscores the significance of civic learning and engagement in today’s society and contributes greatly to the enrichment of our symposium.

We are pleased to confirm that several esteemed national organizations will be represented at the symposium, including:

    CATO Institute: Known for its influential work in public policy research.
    SPHERE Education Initiative: A project dedicated to empowering educators and administrators through professional development focused on civil, fact-based discourse.
    Sagamore Institute: A think tank committed to innovative public policy research and community engagement.
    Minnesota Humanities Center: An organization that works to enhance community connectivity and understanding through the humanities.
    National Endowment for the Humanities: An independent federal agency that funds humanities programs across the United States.
    Educating for American Democracy (EAD): is a call to action to invest in strengthening history and civic learning.
    James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship at Purdue University conducts and sponsors workshops on Project Citizen for area students and teachers.
    Indiana Public Radio: Indiana Public Radio is a network of four stations serving 22 counties in eastern and central Indiana.
    League of Women Voters: is an American nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.

Proposal Submission: The 2024 Civic Learning Symposium invites educators, practitioners, students, and community leaders to submit proposals that explore and expand the practice of dialogue, deliberation, civics, history, and relaed topics within educational settings and democratic contexts. We welcome proposals for presentations, moderated discussions, training, workshops, case study discussions, as well as poster presentations.

Proposal Submission Deadline: June 15, 2024
Notification of Acceptance: July 7, 2024

Submit Your Proposal Here

Click Here To Register


The 2024 Civics Empowers All Students Institute

Muncie Social Studies teachers grades 4-8 are invited to apply for an unparalleled professional development experience at the Civics Empowers All Students Institute 2024, presented by the Indiana Bar Foundation. This exclusive, all-expense-paid program is set to run from July 14-18, 2024, in the historic city of Philadelphia.

Why Join CEAS Institute? The CEAS Institute is more than just a training program—it’s a transformative experience that combines educational tours, expert-led workshops, and a vibrant community of like-minded professionals. Participants will receive a $500 stipend, a free textbook set, and gain membership in the “We the People” network, renowned for its impactful civic education programs across the nation.

Program Highlights: All-Expense-Paid Trip to Philadelphia: Dive into America’s rich history with tours of the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Engaging Pedagogy & Scholarly Content: Learn from guest scholars who bring contemporary issues and historical contexts alive, enhancing your ability to bring engaging civics content back to your classrooms.

Professional Development: Beyond the weeklong institute, enjoy ongoing support throughout the academic year with monthly professional development workshops tailored to empower teachers with effective teaching methods and applicable classroom lessons.

Mark your calendars for December 10, 2024! Join the Indiana Bar Foundation in Indianapolis at the We the People State Competition. This event offers a unique opportunity to network with exceptional educators and witness outstanding students showcase their understanding of civics in a competitive format.

How to Register: Ready to take your teaching to the next level? Visit the Indiana Bar Foundation’s Professional Development Page for more details on the institute and to access a wealth of additional professional development resources.

Register Today



Muncie Teachers: Receive a Stipend and Professional Growth Points

Event Details

Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Thursday, May 30, 2024
Location: Room 120, Minnestra Conference Center, 1200 N Minnetrista Pkwy, Muncie Indiana

Please RSVP Today

Distinguished Panelists

  • Jacquie Hanoman, Executive Director, Ross Community Center
  • Anand R. Marri, Ball State Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, CEO of Muncie Community Schools
  • David J. Roof, Director of the Center for Economic and Civic Learning at Ball State
  • Moderated by Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust

    Together, our panelists will explore pressing issues facing K-12 education and deliberate on innovative responses to these challenges. Attendees will gain insights into the evolving landscape of education, including policy shifts, systemic reforms, and grassroots initiatives poised to make a significant impact on learners and communities.

    Engage and Prepare: Prior to the dialogue, participants are encouraged to visit the New American Dialogue website to access a comprehensive Platform Book. This resource provides essential background literature, offering deeper context on the topics to be discussed and highlighting stories of impactful reforms and solutions from the past two decades.

    RSVP Today: Engagement in this dialogue is a unique opportunity to contribute to the shaping of educational futures. We invite educators, policymakers, community leaders, and all stakeholders to join us for an evening of rich and collaborative discussion.

    To confirm your attendance, Please RSVP at our Event Page.

    IV.Featured Resources

    PBS Learning Media

    PBS Learning Media features a U.S. History Collection that expands students’ understanding with culturally inclusive curriculum resources that showcase major people, events, and trends while also integrate often untold stories. Resources include clips from PBS programming and interactive resources that develop students’ historical thinking skills and broaden their perspectives. Teachers and students can explore topics by keyword searching or by browsing 16 major eras and nine skill areas. Lessons are often interactive and include support materials such as discussion questions for teachers and activities for students, all aligned to state standards.

    For example, the lesson “Westward Expansion, 1790-1850″ for grades 6-12 is an interactive map that allows learners to configure custom maps by decade by selecting from five themes:

      Territorial Expansion—States and territories, territorial claims, and disputed land
      Population Growth—Most populous cities
      Exploration and Migration—Trail routes
      Transportation and Trade—Canals, roads, and railroads
      Native Americans—Land cessations, expropriations, and tribal relocation<

    The six-minute video “The Evolution of U.S. Citizenship: Why It Matters” for grades 9-12 is paired with background readings, discussion questions, and vocabulary; is downloadable; and has a transcript available. It also has subject tags including Politics, America’s Changing Demographics, Globalization, and The Struggle over Justice and Equity linking to related resources as well as links to other suggested videos.

    The interactive lesson “The Powers of Government” for grades 3-8 explores the powers that the Constitution assigns to each of the three branches—legislative, executive, and judicial—and how they work together. Students read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through videos and engagement activities. The lesson is paired with teaching tips for history and civics, technical notes on the powers of government, and vocabulary.

    Other Resources Include:

    PBS Learning Media
    Link to Westward Expansion.
    Link to Evolution of US Citizenship
    Link to Powers of Government

    CREATE Information

    CREATE can support MCS teachers. If you have questions or to recommend additional Professional Development events, please email

    To stay informed of the latest resources and opportunities, sign up for CREATE’s email list.

    Visit the CREATE Website.

    CREATE is grateful for the support of the U.S. Department of Education.