Civics 101 Academy

Have questions about local government? Want to learn from department heads and other county leaders? Then Civics 101 is for you!

Civics 101 is a free, ten-week program that provides participants with an in-depth look at County programs, services and finances. Participants are exposed to the workings of County government, primarily via presentations by department heads. There are brief Q&As after each presentation. Sample schedule below.

Civics 101 is also an opportunity for us to learn from you. What are your priorities for improving the quality of life for all on the Peninsula? What do you care about? What are your ideas? We want to know. We will also encourage graduates to consider serving on one of the County's many boards and commissions, where volunteers like you work to advise the Board of Supervisors and improve our community!

The program traditionally runs Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., from mid-September to mid-November. The home base is the Board of Supervisors Chambers in the Hall of Justice and Records building at 400 County Center in Redwood City, but as you can see from the sample schedule below we meet in a variety of locations. Refreshments are provided before each meeting. The program includes a two-hour, ranger-led light hike on a Saturday at a county park.

MARCH 30, 2021 UPDATE: The County continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and is doing all it can to help get residents tested and vaccinated. We will adhere to appropriate protocols, now and going forward. The County will make a decision about whether it can offer Civics 101 by the end of July, 2021. Please email Eric Forgaard to be added to the interested list.


2019 SCHEDULE (for reference): 

All sessions are held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted

Sep. 11: County Overview (Board of Supervisors Chambers, Hall of Justice and Records, 400 County Center, Redwood City)
Chief Communications Officer Michelle Durand, Assistant Clerk of the Board Sukhmani Purewal, class introductions, County video, website exploration

Sep. 18: Human Services Agency (400 Harbor Blvd. Building B, Belmont)
HSA Overview, Children and Family Services, Collaborative Community Outcomes, Employment Services, Self-Sufficiency Services, Housing

Sep. 25: Health (San Mateo Medical Center, 222 West 39th Ave., San Mateo). Park in large rear lot (ENTRANCE ON 37TH AVENUE), use West Entrance to the medical center and follow signs to the second floor classroom).
County Health Overview, Tobacco Prevention Program, Get Healthy San Mateo County, San Mateo Medical Center and tour of San Mateo Medical Center

SATURDAY SESSION, Sep. 28, 10:00 a.m. to noon: Parks Department (Edgewood Park). WE WILL NOT MEET AT THE MAIN ENTRANCE OR PARKING LOT!!! Instead we will meet at the Edgewood Trailhead on Edgewood Rd., on the west side of Hwy 280, about 100 yards before Edgewood dead-ends at Cañada Rd., on the left side of the road. Parking is available on either side of the road (see link to map below). Look for Eric, the park ranger and the bagel and juice table! Here's a link to a map of Edgewood Park (notice the Edgewood Trailhead near the intersection of Edgewood Rd. and Cañada Rd., near the left middle of the map):

Oct. 2: THIS CLASS STARTS EARLY, AT 5:50 P.M.! Sheriff's Office (Board of Supervisors Chambers400 County Center, Redwood City)
Sheriff's Office Overview, K-9 demonstration, Office of Emergency Services, Community Activities, tour of Public Safety Dispatch (9-1-1 center). NOTE: We will be outside on the plaza for about 40 minutes!

Oct. 9Countywide Initiatives (Board of Supervisors Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City)
Board of Supervisors President Carole Groom, Office of Sustainability, Measure K, Census 2020

Oct. 23: Community Services  (Belmont Library, 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont)
Library System, Belmont Library tour, Public Works, Planning and Building, LAFCo

OCT. 26, 10 a.m. to noon: BONUS EVENT FOR THOSE WHO FILLED OUT THE PAPERWORK: Tour of the "new" jail (the Maple Street Correctional Center at 1300 Maple Street in Redwood City). 

October 30: All about Money (Assessor's Office, 1st floor, 555 County Center, Redwood City)
Treasurer-Tax Collector, Assessor and Elections, Controller, Budget and Budget Performance

Nov. 6: The Justice System (400 County Center, 2nd floor, Courtroom 2A)
Judiciary, Probation, District Attorney, Private Defender. Includes mock trial!

Nov. 13: Graduation (and more!) (Board of Supervisors Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City)
Dinner, County Manager Mike Callagy, Human Resources, County Counsel, Planning & Building and graduation!

Questions? Contact Eric Forgaard at
COVID-19 Info
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