OAV Schools

The Our American Voice® Schools Program (OAV) has operated in the State of Illinois since 2009. OAV is a one-of-a-kind civic learning and engagement program for middle school students (Grades 5-8). OAV is unique because of its action civics focus and the local community improvement projects initiated and implemented by students. 

OAV State of Illinois
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Since its establishment, OAV has reached 175 teachers and over 7,000 students in 150 schools primarily located in socially and economically disadvantaged communities throughout the state of Illinois. Those students, with input and assistance from teachers and community members, have taken the lead in creating over 170 community improvement projects to strengthen their communities.

OAV is a two-part program that has traditionally been conducted over 20-25 weeks.

Part I: Civic Learning centers on four core principles:

  • Citizenship is a way of life, not a singular event
  • With our rights and freedoms come responsibilities
  • The success of the individual and community are interdependent
  • The informed participation of the people shapes and sustains our democracy

Part II: Student Engagement puts these principles into action with students developing projects to improve their school, neighborhood, community or society.

OAV Schools Expansion Plans

Over the past two years, the OAV program has been completely digitized and converted to an on-line package which enables easy implemetation. Because of this, in 2023, there are plans to make OAV available to all Illinois middle schools and then to middle schools in other states nationally. 

For more information on the OAV Program Online Package and the OAV expansion plans,

contact Sheila Smith.

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