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Secretary Thomas Announces Start of the 2023-24 Red, White & Blue Schools Program and Cash Awards for Winning Projects

(Hartford, CT) – Today, Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas, Connecticut State Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker, and the Connecticut Democracy Center at Connecticut’s Old State House Executive Director Sally Whipple announced the start of the 2023-24 Red, White & Blue Schools Program and its theme: “Connecting Communities.” In a first for the program, the winning projects will be awarded cash prizes totaling $1,000, thanks to a grant provided by CT Humanities.

“Through the Red, White & Blue Schools Program, we can show students the importance of engagement in their communities, and that it can come from anywhere, at any age, and in many forms,” said Secretary Thomas. “I’m so excited that we are able to offer prizes for schools to invest as they see fit to further the theme of connecting communities.”

“I wholeheartedly support the Red, White & Blue Schools Program as we aim to become a shining example of what civic education can be in school,” said Commissioner Russell-Tucker. “This initiative celebrates the dedication of public and private schools that go the extra mile in nurturing civic-minded students, while empowering them with the knowledge and skills needed to be active, responsible citizens who will shape the future of our great state.”

Added Whipple: “I think Red, White, & Blue Schools has the potential to help increase and support a statewide community of educators dedicated to providing students with the tools they need to be engaged, informed citizens. If we offer resources and inspiration, I know Connecticut teachers will lead the way with creative and meaningful civics education.”

The Red, White & Blue Schools Program, administered in partnership with the Connecticut State Department of Education and Connecticut’s Old State House, recognizes K-12 public and private schools that go above and beyond in their delivery of civic education.

The 2023-24 program places a particular focus on teachers of different subjects, working together. It’s designed to reward interdisciplinary projects that show students “Civics” is not about politics, but encouraging nonpartisan participation in the community. The program also encourages activities both in and out of school so students see how civic engagement assists them in their daily lives.

To participate in the Red, White & Blue Schools, schools design projects or curriculums according to the guidelines, then submit them for review. There are two categories: K-5 and 6-12. Schools may begin participating at any point during the school year prior to the submission deadline of April 26.

More information about this year’s Red, White & Blue Schools Program, including qualifications, FAQs and more, is available at:

In addition, an informational virtual kickoff session for school administrators and educators will be held on Monday, Oct. 16, at 4 p.m. More details and registration information may be requested via email to:

Last year’s “Outstanding Red, White & Blue School” was Chippens Hill Middle School in Bristol, while Berlin High School and Oxford High School also earned distinctions as “Red, White & Blue Schools” for their civics program offerings.

Chippens Hill 8th grade teacher Danielle Johnson said of the school’s 2022-23 award: “We were honored to receive the program of excellence certificate for the Red, White, and Blue School program. At Chippens Hill Middle School we pride ourselves on our social studies education curriculum and our civic engagement opportunities for students. We want to make sure that students have access to community involvement and chances to voice their opinions, even at the middle school level. Our 8th grade teachers incorporate a variety of hands-on activities in their classrooms and bring history to life. They try to inspire our scholars to be the best students they can be and the best Connecticut citizens.”

Red, White & Blue Schools first launched in 2016 under former Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and then-Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell, a former teacher in the South Windsor Public School system. The program is available to all K-12 schools in the state. Additional information about Red, White & Blue Schools is available at:

Photo from the Press Conference are attached (credit: Office of the Secretary of the State):

Red White and Blue Schools - press conference

Photo 1: (Left to Right) Arienne Orozco, Director of Outreach and Engagement, Office of the Secretary of the State; Sallie Whipple, Executive Director, Connecticut Democracy Center at Connecticut’s Old State House; Charlene Russell-Tucker, Connecticut State Department of Education Commissioner; CT Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas; Steve Armstrong, Social Studies Consultant, CT State Department of Education.


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