Civic Knowledge Project

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Winning Words: A Precollege Civics, History, and Philosophy Program

Winner of the 2012 American Philosophical Association’s PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs

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Check out this PowerPoint presentation on Winning Words!

Chicago as Sacred Ground: A Winning Words Sourcebook

And this Model Lesson Plan Featuring People for Community Recovery and Hazel Johnson, the Mother of Environmental Justice.

Welcome to the Winning Words Program!

Who We Are:

Winning Words began in 2006 as a public ethics program of the University of Chicago Civic Knowledge Project, which is now in the University’s Office of Civic Engagement. In Winning Words, students and faculty from the University of Chicago facilitate provocative and meaningful activities and projects with children and young people across Chicago’s mid-South Side. Winning Words works with underserved school and community center populations on the South Side to promote a more diverse and inclusive form of critical thinking and civics education for young people. We serve students ranging in age from second grade to 12th grade, and our aim is to facilitate meaningful critical conversations that address and challenge the pervasive racism, sexism, and Eurocentrism of many traditional academic disciplines in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Where We Are Headed:

The CKP's Winning Words program is very proud to announce that it is a Champion of the "Educating for American Democracy" initiative, launched in large part by CKP founder Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center, and Director of the Democratic Knowledge Project, Harvard University. Please visit their website at Educating for American Democracy.

And working within the Educating for American Democracy framework, the CKP's Winning Words program is developing and implementing the "Winning Words from the South Side" curriculum, an interdisciplinary approach to critical thinking, civics, and history emphasizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, while highlighting our roots on Chicago's South Side and the life lessons of such exemplary scholars and activists as Timuel D. Black, Hazel Johnson, Margaret Burroughs, and other legends of the South Side. To bring this program to your school, please contact Bart Schultz, the Director of the Civic Knowledge Project, at Winning Words from the South Side is also proud to align with the “Reparations Won” curriculum being implemented in the Chicago Public Schools:

With Socrates, we believe in the examined life. With the famous American philosopher John Dewey, a founding figure at the University of Chicago, we believe in learning by doing, breaking down the barriers between school and society, and building a more deliberative and reflective democratic community. With CKP philosophical friends Timuel D. Black and Danielle Allen, we believe in talking to the elders and the neighbors in the place we call home.

If you are interested in volunteering or interning with the Winning Words Program, please contact Bart Schultz, the Executive Director of the Civic Knowledge Project, at If you have used the Pathfinder system, please indicate which job description you are interested in. We are always eager to work with students, teachers, administrators, and parents to help promote precollege philosophy!


And please like us on Facebook, Civic Knowledge Winning Words!