The Democracy Project Institute for Teachers

photo of the 2008 scholars with Vice-President (then U.S. Senator) Joe Biden
Summer Institute for Teachers scholars from 2008 met in Washington, D.C., with Vice President (then U.S. Senator) Joe Biden as part of the course’s field trip to Capitol Hill.
The Institute for Teachers brings together teachers (K-12) and leaders in government and education to discuss the importance of civic participation for the future of our democratic society and collaborate on ways to inspire active youth citizenship.

Teachers will have the opportunity to:

  • Meet and interact with government leaders, the media, and policy experts in discussions about a contemporary, high-profile issue.
  • Refresh their appreciation of the conflict and compromise that ensure true representative democracy.
  • Develop innovative and interactive teaching strategies to inspire youth to become involved in democracy.
  • Deepen their understanding of Delaware and national civics standards.
  • Share ideas and network with colleagues and program speakers.

The Institute is designed to improve the teaching and learning of civics by enhancing participants’ content knowledge, practices, and understanding of standards—both civics and literacy—and assessments.

2018 Institute: Polarization of the American Electorate

For its 20th year, The Democracy Project Summer Institute for Teachers will focus on the polarization of the American electorate:

  • What are some of its causes and effects?
  • Who might be orchestrating or encouraging this polarization?
  • How might the content and concepts prioritized in Delaware’s civics standards help explain the divisiveness?
  • And, how might social studies educators nurture a future generation of citizens who work more collaboratively toward the common good?

Join fellow social studies teachers from June 18–22, 2018, as we engage researchers, experts, and political leaders to examine this critical issue that some have gone so far as to suggest could undermine the Republic.

Apply online today for the 2018 institute, June 18–22, 2018.

Highlights from Past Institutes

For the 2017 institute, participating scholars met with key leaders at the local, state, and national levels as well as civics & literacy education specialists who provided guided practice in the use of standards-based lessons that support student achievement in the areas of civics, literacy, media literacy.

The following video shares highlights of the 2014 institute, which took place on June 16–22 and 24–26 at the University of Delaware main campus in Newark, Del., with field visits to Washington, D.C., the Port of Wilmington, and Dover, Del.


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Advanced Institute with Election Focus, 2016

For its 18th year, The Democracy Project Summer Institute for Teachers shifted its curriculum from a general civic-education theme to an in-depth focus on the election process. The new program highlighted a range of topics relating to elections, including fundraising, running campaigns, the roles of the national parties, pollsters, media, super PACs, and the Electoral College. Teachers also enjoyed one-on- one interactions with prominent candidates currently running for statewide elected office.

Twenty-five Delaware school teachers participated in this advanced summer institute, including alumni of the original program. The teachers represented elementary, middle, and high schools and public, private, parochial, and charter schools.

This five-day seminar focused on the election process. It is designed to inspire civic involvement in America’s youth through innovative classroom teaching. The following video provides highlights of the week-long institute:


For more information, contact Ed Freel (302-831-8943), Fran O'Malley (302-831-8443), or Sarah Pragg (302-831-4954).