Using the community to teach democracy

For the past three years, three schools in different parts of the city have taken a different approach. The schools were Addams on the East Side, Haugan in Albany Park and Sawyer in Gage Park. Their 5th-graders participated in VOICE (Violence-prevention Outcomes in Civic Education), a social studies curriculum that incorporates conflict resolution, law-related education and service learning, and that features the use of outside resource people and field experiences in courts and police departments. Developed under the auspices of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, VOICE complements the traditional social studies curriculum by helping students develop a deeper understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the three branches of government.