The James Madison Legacy Project summer institutes are in full swing this summer, engaging teachers in civics-oriented professional development courses across the country. These workshops train teachers from schools serving high-need populations in the We the People curriculum that encourages civic engagement and an informed citizenry. These institutes are part of a larger initiative to enhance the knowledge and skills of civics and government teachers who are steadfast in promoting student achievement across the nation.
Over the last three years, JMLP sites have provided either the traditional We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution professional development course or the Center’s blended-learning variation of the traditional model which provides participants with an interactive online course facilitated by educators trained in the curriculum. This year, sites centered institutes around topics ranging from the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama to the Yavapai-Apache Nation experience in Arizona.
During these institutes, participants interact with lawyers, judges, state and local representatives, and professors of law, history, and political science who provide expert knowledge to teachers. These guest speakers bring context and real-world experience in their respective fields to make the content even more engaging. For example, the Tennessee and New Mexico sites brought teachers from their respective states to participate in the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. During the institute, they traveled through Selma and Montgomery, and witnessed living history through speakers who participated in some of the most famous civil rights demonstrations in our history.
No matter the model implemented, JMLP teachers come away with more content knowledge and strategies to help them feel confident about using the We the People curriculum in their classrooms. If you participated in a JMLP summer institute, check out our Flickr page for more photos.
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