Crusader News

Arthur L. Johnson High School Holds Film Screening of Classroom Close-Up featuring Civics Unplugged

Students involved in the Civics Unplugged program Nicole Katz, Gabriella Cuccaro, Maryann Makosiej, Bailey Latza, Kayla Dias, Brenner Gull, and Advisor Frank Stebbins
Civics Unplugged Film Screening
Makosiej speaking about the program
Dias and Gull speaking about the program.
Civics Unplugged Advisor Frank Stebbins addressing the audience.
Sean Spiller, NJEA Vice President and host of Classroom Close-Up addressing the audience.
Superintendent Edward Grande commending students.

CLARK, NJ - On May 14, Arthur L. Johnson High School held a film screening of Classroom Close-up NJ, a fifteen-time Emmy® award-winning show, that recently shot a segment about the school’s Civics Unplugged program. ALJ’s segment  will air on June 10th. on the NJTV channel. Classroom Close-up NJ airs on NJTV every Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.

Civics Unplugged is a program designed to bring together students from diverse backgrounds to discuss a variety of civic-related topics. 72 students from New York and New Jersey convene once a month to engage in a dialogue about issues such as immigration, trade, and voting rights. According to Civics Unplugged, its goal is to “deepen and broaden civic capacity in students, schools, and society.” Students are encouraged to think deeply about complex issues impacting our society and engage in powerful conversations providing multiple perspectives. 

In addition to the screening, the students who participated in the program as well as their advisor Franklin Stebbins were recognized for their hard work.  Special guest speakers in attendance included Sanda Balaban, Program Director of Civics Unplugged, Joy Donaldson CEA President and Sean Spiller, NJEA Vice President and host of Classroom Close-Up. 

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“I was so impressed to see the deep thought and to see how the students learned to interact and come to decisions about important issues,” stated Sean Spiller NJEA Vice President and host of Classroom Close-Up. 

“Civics Unplugged is so pleased to have selected and worked with the Arthur L Johnson community as an inaugural partner this year.  As the only school from New Jersey, the ALJ Civic Fellows and their Civic Mentor Frank Stebbins represented both their school and the state beautifully. They exemplified the aims of CivicsU: to equip young people to understand their rights, roles, and responsibilities and strengthen their ability to engage with people from different backgrounds, appreciate multiple perspectives, and foster civic discourse. We look forward to continuing to work with ALJ to strengthen civil society," said Civics Unplugged Program Director Sanda Balaban,

ALJ's Civics Unplugged Advisor was grateful to have the school's program and students invited to participate in NJTV production.   “Being featured in the Classroom Close-Up NJ episode highlighting the ‘Power of We’ was a tremendous honor. Many great events are held throughout the public schools of our State, so to be selected meant a lot to me professionally as well as personally. A program is only as good as the participating students, and I could not be prouder of this year's six Civic Fellows. They went above and beyond all of my expectations! I look forward to hearing about the various contributions this year's seniors will continue to make throughout their college careers and beyond,” said Stebbins. 

Now taping its twenty-fourth season, Classroom Close-up NJ, a co-production of the New Jersey Education Association and NJTV, features innovative programs occurring in public school classrooms.  Each half-hour program shows how caring school professionals inspire and motivate students.  Every week, the excitement of learning comes alive as teachers, education support professionals, children, and parents work together for success.

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