The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, based in Boston, has been awarded a $200,000 prize to develop a program to help 8th through 12th grade teachers develop the skills necessary to lead productive classroom discussions on difficult public policy issues such as immigration, gun violence, and voting rights. The Institute is the recipient of the inaugural Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award given by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The Civics Renewal Network is a project of the policy center.

The first phase of the two-year program calls for the development of a pilot program called “Civil Conversations” with 16 teachers in four Massachusetts school districts. In its second year, the project will be rolled out to additional schools in a dozen areas across the country with teaching materials such as workbooks, multimedia materials, and facilitation guides. Learn more here.