The First Amendment is more than just a document; it's a living, breathing set of principles. Whether you're a student, teacher or community member, there are several ways you can bring the First Amendment to life in your school:
How Can My School Join the First Amendment Schools Network?
There are two types of schools in the FAS Network
: Affiliate Schools and Project Schools. (Currently, the FAS Network is accepting applications for its Affiliate program.)
commit to become laboratories of democratic freedom – places that practice and teach First Amendment principles throughout the school community. Each current Project School receives an annual grant stipend, subject to review and renewal in August 2006 and 2007. Schools were not selected as an award for past practices, but rather for their potential to engage in whole-school reform grounded in principles of democracy and freedom.
The Affiliate Program
is the entryway into the work of becoming a First Amendment School. Affiliates commit to the guiding principles of the FAS Project, receive materials and resources on democratic freedom and whole school reform, and are eligible for small grants to support best practices for implementing First Amendment School principles. Affiliate School applications
, submitted by the principal and two additional members of the school community, are welcome throughout the year.
How Does Your School Compare?
- Download the Core Civic Habits Practiced in First Amendment Schools Resource a list of “civic habits” that teachers, parents, students, and administrators can all strive to embody and share.
- See how well your school embodies democratic principles by taking our interactive checklist.
- See how your school compares to the findings in the 2005 "State of the First Amendment Survey."
- Compare the results with a 2001 survey of teachers and administrators.
- Finally, conduct the survey in your school and compare your school's findings with the national results.
Set Goals for Improvement
Now that you've identified how your school practices the First Amendment, pick one or two areas around which there is broad-based consensus that change is needed. Write a goal statement that clearly expresses what you want to achieve and brainstorm action steps that will get you there. You may want to use the FAS Action Plan template
as a guide, or view these secondary school
and elementary school
sample action plans from veteran FAS schools.
Adopt New School Policies
View sample school policies
that adhere to the principles of the the First Amendment. Work to help your school adopt new policies that strengthen student free expression, encourage responsible behavior, and protect liberty of conscience.
What Else Can I Do?
to read about other ways you can begin working to create a laboratory of democratic freedom at your school.
FAS awards supplementary grants on a rolling, first-come-first-serve basis to both Project and Affiliate Schools. Most of these grants range between $500 and $1,000 and fund best practices or projects that help implement the principles of the FAS Vision Statement. To apply for an FAS supplementary grant, download the PDF file.
For more information on either program, contact ASCD’s Molly McCloskey (703.575.5475, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 9, 2015 | 12:10:16