Civic Media Literacy

Civic Media Literacy

When developing our new vision for Civics Life, our stakeholders made it clear that media literacy was needed now more than ever. And this makes sense, because our media-dominant culture is growing more pervasive and complex by the day - and the media and information we consume influences our perceptions, beliefs and attitudes.

To prepare students to thrive in a world of ongoing and accelerating change, they must both understand the power of media in shaping culture, politics and values and the powerful tool media can be for civic engagement. Schools must prepare students to be critical consumers of media, navigate multiple complex mediums, and help them to leverage these tools effectively in college, career, and their civic life.

When developing the new Civic Life vision, we formed a unique steering committee comprised of teachers, students, administrators, scholars, and partners to help us create an innovative vision for media literacy in CPS

The Steering Committee Recommendations

  • Identify standards for media literacy that will support instruction and ensure content alignment for all schools.
  • Develop a policy to require teaching media literacy skills across grade levels every year.
  • Develop lessons in critical media literacy that build foundational skills and practices and can be implemented across grade levels and content areas.
  • Implement a cohesive civic media literacy training program for teachers that supports embedding media deconstruction and creation within existing curriculum.
  • Prioritize media spaces where student voices and perspectives are elevated for local elected representatives and leaders.
  • Develop programs that help students act as storytellers and reporters of their own communities and schools, ultimately creating a diversity pipeline for community journalism.
  • Create a CPS version of “Youth Voice Beat,” where student-journalists can publish stories, videos, art, or other media that feature their perspectives and lived experiences.

In Development

K12 Curriculum

The CPS Civic Media Literacy Modules will be designed to introduce foundational ideas, anchor concepts, and decoding strategies that students can use throughout the school year, in any course, to practice and reinforce critical media literacy skills.

Shape the modules by applying to the Curriculum Advisory Group!

Civic Media Labs

Civic Media Labs (CML) will support high school journalism, students in action research, writing, and advocacy of the stories and perspectives in their school and their communities, inspired by community-based, solutions-style journalism.

Youth Civic Media Council

The Youth Civic Media Council (YCMC) will contain 10-15 student leaders from across the city of Chicago who work directly with CPS to shape and inform the district wide media literacy strategy, pilot and provide feedback on CML content and curriculum.

High School Students! Fill out this interest form!

For more information, contact Heather van Benthuysen, Executive Director, at