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Governor Bill Lee presents Principal Ruth Pohlman with the Governor's Civic Seal, an award given to schools and districts that prioritize teaching the nations history and core values, according to the Governor Lee's office at McConnell Elementary School on Wednesday, August 11, 2021. McConnell Elementary is one of 53 schools in the state to receive this recognition from the Governor.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recognized 53 Tennessee schools and school districts, including 15 Hamilton County schools, with the Governor's Civics Seal in a Wednesday morning event at McConnell Elementary School.

Schools and school districts earn the seal through incorporating civics lessons across grade levels and subjects, along with teaching about democracy and the founding of the United States.

Concepts and documents to be taught are outlined in a 2012 Tennessee code, such as the three branches of government and federal and state constitutions, and the code was amended in 2019 to establish the seal when Lee introduced the program in 2019.

"We all know that history and civics is important, but we also know that if we don't focus on it, we don't commit to it, that the next generation of children will lose the understanding of this exceptional nation that we live in and how uniquely created it was and how unique it is even," Lee said during his presentation. "So character education, civics education, American exceptionalism, that is key to maintaining the republic, to maintaining the democracy that we have, to maintaining a government of the people, and the people have to understand really the framework of that government."

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Governor's Civics Seal

Along with McConnell Elementary, schools in Hamilton County that earned the seal were Battle Academy, Central High School, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts, Hixson Middle School, Ivy Academy, Ooltewah Middle School, Red Bank High School, Sale Creek High School, Sequoyah High School, Signal Mountain Middle High School, Soddy Elementary School, Spring Creek Elementary School, Thrasher Elementary School and Tyner Middle School.

"We at the department are proud to support the implementation of this meaningful work, and we look forward to seeing the positive outcomes that result from this academic experience that we are awarding," said Jean Luna, chief of programs at the Tennessee Department of Education.

Contact Anika Chaturvedi at achaturvedi@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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