Leila Leoncavallo, Founder
Welcome to CivicsEd
a provider of civics and psychology seminars.

Teachers should foster critical thinking, ignite interest, and encourage the application of knowledge into action...not simply convey factual knowledge.

Teachers should help students
 discern proven facts from opinions, ideology, and falsehoods....not encourage the regurgitation of a fact-focused, test-driven curriculum. 

My learning goals for my students are to achieve solid understanding through an interactive process, to think critically about the subject matter, and apply their knowledge to real life issues. 

I love sharing my passion and interests with learners of all ages... and inspiring them to think deeply about important issues. Contact me if you are up for the challenge!   ~Leila Leoncavallo

Testimonials:

"Taking a class with Mrs. L. will give you enough to chew on for a few years. Any class with her is guaranteed to teach you more than you would think is possible in that time span, but will leave you curious about the subject matter for a long time. Her classes are educational as well as fun, often leaving a thought in your head in a humorous way. One class was enough to get me hooked." LM, student

“Ms. Leila's classes are excellent, informative, and engaging. I have taken over ten of Ms. Leila's semester or quarter-long classes starting when I was in 6th grade and continuing until I reached 11th grade. When I started my first class with her, I knew almost nothing about our government. I doubt I could have named all three branches of government and I certainly didn't know what freedoms were in the First Amendment. Due to her classes, I have voluntarily read the constitution at least three times and I am planning to major in government/political science in college and pursue a career in that area. I would highly recommend her classes to anyone.” FD, student

“I want to thank you deeply and greatly for the life changing classes you offered.. Your classes were definitely a huge reason F is so interested in politics and law and has since been taking NOVA classes in this field, volunteered as a congressional aid over the summer, and is planning to pursue a career in this field. Thank you so much for being an integral part of my kids' learning and growth.” KA, parent

“I never knew a child could get so excited about The Constitution and the Supreme Court until my daughter started taking classes with Leila! The subject matter is taught in an engaging way and students are encouraged to think independently about some of our nation's biggest issues. These classes have been my daughter's favorites of any she's ever taken.” KN, parent

“Mrs Leila Leoncavallo is one of the most amazing teachers that I have met in the 5 years of homeschooling my daughters. Before starting her civics classes, my 11 year old had no passion in anything she studied, or in any of the classes she was taking. Mrs Leila changed all that for her. My DD now *loves* civics, loves politics, loves law, and may want to become a lawyer someday. The civics classes that Mrs Leila offers are outstanding both in content, in delivery, and in the level of enthusiasm of both the teacher and the students who respond to her enthusiasm with the like.” Parent post on homeschool discussion board for gifted learners

"Leila is one of my daughter's all-time favorite teachers, and her classes have sparked a deep and lasting interest in civics and the legal system." JM, parent

“Thank you for meeting with our government class. It was so informative and surreal to experience some of what many great men and women have shaped history with. Your time was much appreciated. You’re an excellent teacher. Thanks for helping my students and me.” AP Government Teacher


New Six-Week Seminar Coming Soon! 

Begins Applied Psychology Classes Now Offered:

The Psychology of Communication - NEW! In this uniquely interactive class, students will examine theories and experiments pertaining to the psychology of communication. Studies will include group conformity, nonverbal communication, the art of listening, and perspective-taking. Students will put their knowledge into practice each week as they increase their understanding of friends and family, while improving their own interpersonal skills. This class is best suited for curious learners who enjoy observing other people, understanding the reasons behind puzzling human behavior, and learning new skills that they can apply to real life. This class is especially designed for non-traditional learners who benefit from the use of multi-sensory teaching techniques. 

Psychology of Learning - NEW! Students will examine psychological studies related to learning, including memory, attention, executive function, processing speed, intelligence, and learning disabilities/differences. Beyond gaining a better understanding of the function of the brain and the process of learning, students will be encouraged to reflect on their own learning differences.
 
Psychology of Motivation --- Coming Soon!!



_____________________________________

Free Webinar

Teaching Social Studies to Dyslexic Students Through Strengths Presented by Leila Leoncavallo, Founder of Fairfax Dyslexia and CivicsEd.com (Hosted by Dyslexic Advantage)


_____________________________________

Current Civics Classes Offered:
  • Kid's Guide to Government
  • Introduction to Mock Trial
  • U.S. Supreme Court: Cases and Controversies

_____________________________________


Share Your Thoughts: I'd love to hear what you think about these issues...

Can protesters who burn the American flag be prosecuted? Read the First Amendment:  

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 

Now watch this video. What do you think? Do you agree with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment? 



Are presidential debates informative? Or do they "seriously distort democracy" as this article suggests? 



Which presidential candidate do you support in the 2016 election? 
Check out CSPAN classroom for election-related lessons and videos.



Can states ban same-sex marriage? In a controversial 5-4 decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court said no. For a good "translation" of the decision, read this analysis by Amy Howe at Scotusblog.



Are threatening statements made on social media protected by the First Amendment? On December 1, 2014, the Supreme Court heard argument in the case of a Pennsylvania man who ranted on Facebook about killing his wife and others. He argued that this was not a threat, but an artistic expression of anger, similar to some rap lyrics? Was this a real threat, and therefore not protected by the First Amendment? How can we tell? Should the standard be whether the speaker intended the comment as a threat, or whether the recipient felt threatened? 



Listen to the Supreme Court argument in Elonis v. United States here. How do you think the Supreme Court decided the case? The Court decided the case on June 1, 2015. You can read the Court's opinion here



Does the Fourth Amendment apply to border searches?  The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled on March 8, 2013 that it does (U.S. v. Cotterman).  Read this commentary.  Do you agree?



How should freedom of religion apply in public schools? Consider this real life example: A six-year old student wrote this poem to honor her grandfather's service in the Vietnam War:  "...He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength..." When the child was to read her poem at a Veteran's Day school assembly, she was told that she could not say the word God. Read about the story here.  What do you think?



Is anonymous online speech protected?
Read and consider this before making an anonymous posting. 



Should affirmative action continue?
 
In 2003, the Supreme Court held (5-4) that an applicant's race may be one factor among many to be considered in a university's efforts to achieve diversity (Grutter v. Bollinger). 

On October 10, 2012, the Supreme Court reconsidered the issue of affirmative action. Click here to listen to oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas and here for Professors Carolyn Shapiro and Sheldon Nahmod discussing the case.  Read the Court opinion here.  

On October 15, 2013, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action about whether the 14th Amendment requires states to consider race when making decisions. The Court's decision was announced on April 22, 2014. Read the Court opinion here.



Can a public school punish a student for comments posted online and after school hours?
Although students have free speech rights in school and off-campus, schools can punish or restrict speech that is disruptive. But what if that speech takes place online after school hours? Ken Paulson, President of the First Amendment Center, writes of a recent case.



Is "liking" something on Facebook protected free speech? 
Virginia judge said no. But the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit disagreed.  Watch two attorneys debate the issue here




Should the electoral college be abolished?  Watch this entertaining and informative video.  




Do we have too much free speech...or not enough?  Watch students discuss the issue with three Supreme Court justices.