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U.S. K-12 students at the Kennedy Institute's Senate replica.
U.S. K-12 students at the Kennedy Institute. Photo: Business Wire.

Kennedy Institute launches call for its civic education program for K-12 students

The initiative allows them to become United States Senators for a day.

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Inviting U.S. civics, history, and social studies teachers, grades K-12, to encourage their students to seek unique and engaging experiences, the institution announced the opening of registration for program slots Winter/Spring 2023, both in person and online.

Through 60- and 120-minute sessions, students will deepen their understanding of government and the legislative process, developing and debating laws to address important issues such as environmental protection, immigration reform, voting rights, and electoral integrity, and updating the Electoral College.

Adam G. Hinds, Kennedy Institute CEO, stated:

Engaging K-12 students in lively, non-partisan civic education that helps them learn—by doing it themselves--how senators can actually forge compromise and consensus is a key element of our mission.

Nonpartisan

Through online sessions that are available free of charge to public school students in all 50 states, highly trained, nonpartisan Kennedy Institute instructors offer their programs as Zoom sessions, including at convenient times to schools in Central, Mountain, and Pacific.

Meanwhile, in-person visitors can access an impressive full-scale replica of the U.S. Senate Chamber, from which students participate in debates acting as Senators from the state of their choice.

“The Kennedy Institute’s paramount goal in the year ahead is to grow our national reach and impact in the critical work of promoting and defending our democracy and reinvigorating the search for common ground and legislative solutions to the major problems our country faces,” added Hinds. 

"Future Senator"

The return of this program, designed to introduce young students in grades 3-5 to law making, will feature a special edition that will engage them to debate a topic that is very relevant to them: “If the U.S. government should demand a longer school day.”

With a segment of “Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman,” the show includes “expert witnesses” that kids can interview as they debate the issue, ending with either a voice vote in the Senate Chamber or online.

Reactions 

Patrick McGravey, an 8th grade teacher in the North Andover, Mass., schools who serves on the Kennedy Institute’s nationwide Teacher Advisory Panel, noted: "What I would tell any teacher interested in exploring civic education at the Kennedy Institute is that your students would all feel welcomed from the moment that they walk through the front doors. They would also feel excited and engaged during the entire day. The staff make each student feel valued, and the simulation is all-encompassing—from the swearing-in session to the classroom experiences to the overall debate and eventual roll call vote at the end of the day.”

“Our recent visit to the Kennedy Institute was a huge success for both students and faculty. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, and encouraging of our students. Their presentations were energetic, engaging and completely unbiased. Every year we visit the Kennedy Institute, there is something new to learn for children and adults,” pointed out Bridgid Coyle, a social studies teacher at Saint Joseph School in Needham, Mass.

You can find more information about Kennedy Institute's civic education programs by clicking here.

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