Civics 101 Academy

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

The Civics 101 Academy is a free, nine-week program that meets one evening per week and provides participants with an in-depth look at County programs, services and finances. Participants are exposed to the workings of the San Mateo County government, primarily via presentations by department heads. There are brief Q&As after each presentation. The Fall 2021 schedule is being finalized and it will be similar to the 2019 schedule shown below.

Maybe you're simply interested in learning about the the workings of our county government, including the wide array of services it provides to residents. Or like many past participants, maybe you'll choose to move on to serve 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! Or who knows, maybe your civic-mindedness will spur you to seek elected office someday or join the amazing team of dedicated county government employees that serve our community. 

Civics 101 is also an opportunity for us to hear your perspective and 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!

The 2021 Civics 101 Academy will be held Tuesday evenings from August 31 through October 26 at the County Government Center in Redwood City. Sessions include light refreshments and run from 6 - 8:30 p.m.



2019 SCHEDULE (for reference only--the 2021 schedule is being finalized and will be similar):

Session 1: 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

Session 2: Human Services Agency (400 Harbor Blvd. Building B, Belmont)
HSA Overview, Children and Family Services, Collaborative Community Outcomes, Employment Services, Self-Sufficiency Services, Housing

Session 3Health (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

SPECIAL SATURDAY SESSION: 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):

Session 4THIS 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!

Session 5Countywide Initiatives (Board of Supervisors Chambers, 400 County Center, Redwood City)
Board of Supervisors President Carole Groom, Office of Sustainability, Measure K, Census 2020

Session 6Community Services  (Belmont Library, 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont)
Library System, Belmont Library tour, Public Works, Planning and Building, LAFCo

SPECIAL SATURDAY SESSION, 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). 

Session 7All about Money (Assessor's Office, 1st floor, 555 County Center, Redwood City)
Treasurer-Tax Collector, Assessor and Elections, Controller, Budget and Budget Performance

Session 8The Justice System (400 County Center, 2nd floor, Courtroom 2A)
Judiciary, Probation, District Attorney, Private Defender. Includes mock trial!

Session 9Graduation (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
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