As a component of Project Citizen, entire classes of students or members of youth or adult organizations work cooperatively to identify a public policy problem in their community. They then research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solution in the form of a public policy, and create a political action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy. Participants develop a portfolio of their work and present their project in a public hearing showcase before a panel of civic-minded community members. There are two types of events that comprise a showcase. Both of these events involve adult members of the community rating the students’ level of achievement using the guidelines and rating instruments provided in this guide.
Students participating in Project Citizen create a portfolio, which consists of four panels, and a documentation binder addressing a public policy problem. The completed portfolio and binder is displayed at showcases at the school, local, district, state, or national levels. Evaluators review each portion of the project using specific criteria.
This event involves adult members of the community in reading, analyzing and evaluating the portfolios produced by the students in a class or youth group. Typically, the portfolios are displayed in a prominent public venue and the rating takes place without students being present.
Classes are encouraged to hold a showcase hearing where each of the four working groups prepares and presents a statement on its section of the portfolio before evaluators acting as legislative or administrative committee members. Each group then answers questions posed by the evaluators. The evaluator reviews the hearing components using specific criteria.
This event involves all the students or youth group members who developed the portfolio. Each of the four groups of students who worked on the four sections of the portfolio are given an opportunity to make oral presentations and to respond to follow-up
questions from a panel of adult community members.