Civic Education

For Kentucky secondary teachers & students

Civic Education Program

Teachers at Mt Rushmore

For more than 15 years, the McConnell Center's Civic Education Program has served Kentucky educators and students. Our key efforts center on offering opportunities for teachers to broaden their knowledge of great books and ideas and to strengthen their ability to lead in the classroom and community, as well as encouraging students to advance in their studies of American history, civics and leadership. 

For Educators

Free hybrid-based professional learning program for a small cohort of K-12 KY teachers. Program includes monthly lectures and private discussions with experts in the fields of United States history, government, politics, and leadership. Conferences for select Kentucky K-12 teachers with expert-led, focused discussions on a particular theme of subject area in American history. Room and meals provided for participants. (topics and locations vary) Join our public lectures with prominent local, state, and national leaders discussing a range of civic issues and responsibilities. 

For Your Classroom: 

For Students

Pre-Graduation Opportunities: 

  • Young Leaders Academy (Grades 9-12)Four-day, all-expenses-paid summer residential program for high school aged students at the University of Louisville. Features discussions and seminars regarding United States history, government, politics, and leadership strategies.
  • Essay ContestHigh school students engage research on a topic related to United States history, government or leadership. Awards offered to top submissions.   
  • Monthly Lecture Series and Distinguished Speaker EventsJoin our public lectures with prominent local, state, and national leaders discussing a range of civic issues and responsibilities. 
  • Class VisitsTour the Civic Education Gallery of the U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Secretary Elaine L. Chao Archives at the University of Louisville.  The gallery contains an interactive educational facility built around the lives and careers of Sen. McConnell and Sec. Chao, the gallery is designed to educate visitors about American government, history and politics.
  • Podcast Series: Enjoy episodes of the McConnell Center Podcast, which offers thought-provoking conversations with authors, scholars, leaders in the U.S. military and political professionals. Interviews focus on leadership, literature, history, education, politics and life.

Post-Graduation Opportunities: 

  • McConnell Scholars ProgramPrestigious academic and scholarship program for 10 graduating Kentucky seniors. McConnell Scholars meet a variety of national, state, and local leaders and study with some of the finest faculty in the nation. Benefits include full tuition to the University of Louisville, study abroad opportunities, grant assistance for academic programs and internships, and mentored connections with more than 200 McConnell Scholar Alumni.  
  • McConnell-Chao ArchivesStudents can engage with primary sources marking the work of two prominent national leaders – U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, and former Secretary of Labor (2001-2009) and Transportation (2017-2021) Elaine L. Chao.


/ (502) 852-3947
McConnell Center Civic Education Program

About the McConnell Center's Civic Education Program

The McConnell Center began the non-profit, non-partisan Civic Education Program in 2005 to assist Kentucky citizens in developing a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution and history and to encourage open and free discussion of perennial concerns that inform contemporary politics.

The McConnell Center conducts educational programs for teachers, students (K-12 and college), and the general public focused on developing a strong knowledge of U.S. history and fostering creative thinking about the possibilities and problems of citizenship in the 21st century.

“American democracy will only flourish as long as our citizens are knowledgeable and engaged. Through intense seminars, lectures, discussions and retreats, we hope to contribute to the teaching of American government and U.S. history in Kentucky schools.” - Gary Gregg, PhD, McConnell Center Director

Teacher Scholars Program

A FREE in-person and online hybrid professional development & networking opportunity for Kentucky educators

TSP 2022-2023: Variety - Left and Right

Variety - Left and Right Logo

Rolling admissions beginning August 1. Click here to apply.

This dedicated group of Kentucky educators will enhance their knowledge of American political thought by spending the 2022-2023 academic year reading and discussing foundational texts through the Center's professional development programming. 

Development for Teacher Scholars is supported by in-person and online hybrid-based lectures, seminars and other special opportunities—at little to no personal expense.

America seems more divided than ever and there often seems little mutual understanding of foundational political and cultural positions. TSP 2022-2023 will focus on reading and discussing texts to uncover and understand the foundations of contemporary political thought.  An emphasis will be on conservatism, liberalism, feminism, black political thought, and libertarianism. The year will end by discussing ways we may find to move forward beyond what divides us.

We hope you will take this opportunity to continue your education and network with other great Kentucky educators.

Participants Will Receive: 

  • 20 or more professional development hours and certificate of completion
  • Monthly lecture and private seminar opportunities with leading scholars and historical experts
  • Opportunities to participate in all-expenses-paid weekend conferences on topics related to civics & American history, politics and culture 
  • FREE reading and study materials
  • Discussion board access to share your thoughts and network with other teachers
  • A classroom set of McConnell Center educational publications and resources 
  • a free Teacher Scholars Program T-shirt
  • A Summer 2023 culminating experience to celebrate project completion

Requirements of Participation:

  • Complete required reading assignments for lectures and seminars
  • Participate in a set number of seminar/webinar and lecture opportunities each semester
  • Participate in at least one weekend conference
  • Provide one inquiry-based lesson based upon usage of the text to share with the TSP cohort 

Questions? Contact  or (502) 852-3947
McConnell Center Civic Education Program

Teacher Resources

Form Folder Troff documentResource Request
McConnell Center resources will be made available free of charge to Kentuckians who plan to use them for educational purposes. All requests are considered on the basis of availability and quality of project proposed.
McConnell Center Publications & Resources - Download

Civics in the News

Now accepting applications for summer Young Leaders Academy
Applications are due April 15.
Mitchell named Kentucky History Teacher of the Year
(Oct. 5, 2021)
Students discuss constitutionalism at Young Leaders Academy
(June 24, 2021) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
Essay contest for Kentucky high school students
(Feb 2, 2021) By Natalie Smith
Center dedicates lecture series in memory of beloved Kentucky social studies teacher
(Sept. 18, 2020) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
Teachers invited to study U.S. founding debates
(Aug. 10, 2020) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
Teachers complete 7-month program on Plato's 'Republic'
(July 6, 2020) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
Video, essay contest for Kentucky middle, high students
(May 1, 2020) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
New York Times bestselling author featured in final spring lecture
(April 13, 2020) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
Young Leaders Academy canceled, new online resources available
(April 6, 2020) LOUISVILLE, Ky.–Due to Covid-19, the McConnell Center's Summer Young Leaders Academy has been canceled.
March 24 event to be held virtually, registration required
(March 12, 2020) By GlyptusAnn Grider Jones
Applications available for annual Young Leaders Academy
(Jan. 31, 2020)
Highlands High, Eastside Middle win annual We the People civic competition
(Dec. 10, 2019)
Teacher Scholars Program
A FREE in-person and online hybrid professional development & networking opportunity for Kentucky educators
McConnell Center talks examine American political life and culture
(Aug. 14, 2018) LOUISVILLE, Ky. – All events are free and open to the public.
New exhibit features timeline, spoofs of Senator McConnell’s political career
(July 12, 2017) By Matt Lambert, UofL Office of Communication & Marketing
McConnell Center Teacher Scholar named James Madison Fellow
(May 12, 2017) LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kendrick Bryan, a social studies teacher at LaRue County High School in Hodgenville, was recognized by the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation.
Kentucky teachers, students sample college-level economics through new Center collaboration
(March 28, 2017) LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A new collaboration between the McConnell Center and FreedomTrust will allow Kentucky teachers and students to sample college-level economics and philosophy through lectures, economic experiments and discussion.
Teacher Scholars visit James Madison’s Montpelier
(March 13, 2017) LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Pair considers the role of the presidency and the U.S. Constitution in professional development seminar in Virginia.
McConnell Scholars travel to Harvard to study 2016 election
(Jan. 31, 2017) LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Robert Gassman (’18) and Frank Bencomo-Suarez (’18) will participate in the Harvard Institute of Politics’ National Campaign conference

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