Secretary of State increases accessibility to state resources and primary source documents through programming

RI Secretary of State Nellie GorbeaContent provided by the RI Department of State

As educators, you work every day to empower your students through knowledge. I work to do the same for Rhode Islanders as Secretary of State, by making government more accessible and transparent.

Of course, having the right tools can make all the difference in getting our jobs done. So I'm excited to tell you about several new civics education resources and experiential learning opportunities that my team has been working on. I hope you'll find that these tools, available on the Department of State's website at, will help students of all ages understand their roles and responsibilities as participants in our democracy and help them make connections between our past and our present.

Students learn about primary source documents in the State Library during a tour of the Rhode Island State House.Rhode Island has a rich history of everyday citizens prompting change in our state. Our themed collections on subjects like the American Revolution, suffrage, and the historical experience of African Americans in Rhode Island will help you bring history into your classroom with primary source documents, high resolution images, and transcripts from the Rhode Island State Archives.

The Department of State also offers experiential learning through three distinct programs:

  • You can arrange for your students to visit Rhode Island's historic State House and learn all about state government.
  • You can also introduce your students to primary sources and see some of our state's most important documents by setting up a field trip to the Rhode Island State Archives.
  • Lastly, high schools can provide students with the opportunity to vote for student government leaders and referenda questions using official voting machines provided by our Elections Division.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea talks with students during a field trip to the Rhode Island State Archives.Under the Civics Resources tab, you'll find online and printable resources to help your students understand how federal, state and municipal governments work. Students can also learn how a bill becomes a law in Rhode Island and research their elected officials to understand the responsibilities of their office.

If you teach younger children, we also have age-appropriate resources like activity books or coloring books on Rhode Island History, and interactive timelines on pivotal historic events. These resources are available in both English and Spanish.

I hope these resources will help make life a little easier as you work to empower your students to grow into engaged citizens. I also welcome your feedback on ways we can improve these tools, or additional ones that may be helpful. Thank you so much for the work you do every day. Your job as educators is immensely important to our children and our state.

-Nellie M. Gorbea
Rhode Island Secretary of State

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea talks with West Warwick High School students as they cast their ballots during a student government election.