Speak Up! Speak Out! is an innovative civic education program for middle and high school students designed to teach young people about their communities and help them discover the many ways they can make a difference.
Speak Up! Speak Out! participants work together as teams to identify community problems, craft innovative solutions that address them, and compete for the chance to present their findings to community leaders at the State Civics Fair. Winning teams receive funds to use toward the implementation of their solutions. The 2018 State Civics Fair will take place at the State Capitol Building in Austin, Texas on February 8th, 2018.
Student Talent Release Form: Please ask students to complete this form and return to their educator. Educators will bring completed forms to the State Civics Fair or scan and email completed forms to Sydney.Wilburn@austin.utexas.edu.
Student Post-Assessment: Please complete the anonymous post-assessment form here. If you would like a hard copy, please email Sydney.Wilburn@austin.utexas.edu.
Students Set the Agenda
This civic education project encourages students to become active participants in their communities. The distinguishing element of Speak Up! Speak Out! is that the students are responsible for determining the issues that will be addressed and for developing viable solutions.
Study, Solve, and Share
Over the course of the semester, classes research their communities, select a problem that interests and motivates them, and develop projects, proposals and/or solutions to present to the community. Students submit video presentations of their projects to the semifinals at the end of the fall semester and 50 teams from across Texas are invited to present their solutions in-person at the State Civics Fair in February.
Creativity and Communication
Participants are encouraged to use their diverse talents, experiences, and ideas to develop their projects. This project is unique in that it strives to give SUSO participants the opportunity to learn how young people can be active citizens and to create messages that will be heard by community leaders.
Frequently asked Questions
When and where is the Speak Up! Speak Out! State Civics Fair?
The State Civics Fair will take place on Thursday, February 8th at the State Capitol Building in Austin, Texas. 50 teams will be invited to participate in the State Civics Fair.
What types of problems do the teams study?
Participants are free to select whatever problem they feel most affects them, their neighbors, and/or the community. Past projects have examined: traffic problems, bullying, dropout rates, teenage pregnancy rates, environmental issues, and graffiti.
What is the time commitment for SUSO?
The SUSO curriculum and projects are flexible. While there is not a set time limit for working on projects or using the lessons, students are expected to do thorough research and craft well thought-out solutions. Most participating classes work on their projects for several weeks during the fall semester.
Is there a cost or fee to participate?
No, SUSO is free to participants!
Is parking provided?
Yes. Parking is provided for all participants, teachers, judges, chaperones, and volunteers. Bus parking is also provided.
Is a meal provided?
Yes. Lunch and a snack will be provided.
Is there a limit on the amount of students I can bring?
Individual teachers bring no more than 30 students. If you have a special circumstance, please contact us!
What can the students win?
Winning teams are awarded first, second, and third place for the middle- and high school divisions with awards of $300, $200, $100, respectively. Other awards for research, spirit, and creativity are also distributed. All student participants receive a medal.
How does the facilitator stipend work?
When one or more of their teams is invited to the State Civics Fair, SUSO facilitators will receieve a team support stipend of $200. If you have a question regarding the facilitator stipend, please email Korrine Salas Young.