As part of April’s National County Government Month, NACo, in partnership with iCivics, has launched updated and expanded versions of NACo’s civic education tools: Counties Work, the online game, and the County Solutions curriculum, which both teach young people how local governments operate and how they can get involved.
“We’re pleased to provide this updated resource to help the next generation of Americans become more engaged and better versed in local government," said NACo President Bryan Desloge. "Lessons in civics and civility position our young people to lead the nation forward as they come of age. These tools will help students understand how county government impacts people’s lives every day where we live and work.”
The state standards-aligned curriculum has been expanded to include middle and high school instruction. Available free of charge, the curriculum guides students through the basics of county government and encourages them to engage in local solutions to challenges they identify. Students also learn and practice research, analysis and advocacy skills as they develop a plan to “move the needle” on their chosen issues.
The game, now compatible across iOS and Android tablets, allows students to simulate the role of an elected county leader responsible for balancing budgets, services and citizen requests. It’s a fast-paced game that challenges students to adjust quickly when a community crisis strikes and see how citizens react to their decisions. The new resources leverage NACo’s County Explorer online interactive data tool and NACo’s Counties Matter campaign to localize information for each classroom.
Six years ago, as part of former NACo President Glen Whitley’s presidential initiative, NACo partnered with iCivics, a non-profit organization founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, to create the original game and middle school curriculum. Since its initial launch, the middle school curriculum has been downloaded more than 6,300 times, reaching half a million students. The original game has been played more than 1.5 million times.