Rodney Glasgow: Why Middle School Is an Ideal Time to Teach Civic Engagement


“[Students] were talking about Baltimore, and Ferguson, and right and wrong, and the importance of protecting officers and citizens, and whether they agreed or disagreed with one another, and the personal connections they had to the topic. As a group, they were practicing emotional democracy. All they needed was a framework, a platform, and a sense from their principal that it was OK to engage.”

In this blog Rodney Glasgow, head of the middle school and chief diversity officer at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (Maryland), asserts that middle school is fertile ground to teach students about civic engagement precisely because 11- to 14-year-olds are increasingly concerned about fairness, justice, and their own thoughts on the world around them. While it sounds like a tall order, he states it’s mostly a matter of noticing and leaning into a teachable moment.