This post is contributed by LWVJ member Marjorie Menzi.
During January-March of 2016, five members of the Juneau LWV introduced 365 students in our school system, and their teachers, to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of Alaska’s governmental system. The instructors all had previous teaching experience related to state government.
The Program included:
- A tour of the Capitol where students met legislators, were introduced on the House or Senate floor, and listened to presentations on the budget;
- Exposure to the executive branch meeting with the Lt. Governor and learning about his role and that of the Governor and visiting the State Office Building;
- Attendance at court arraignments and presentations by judges and attorneys who introduced them to the judicial branch.
Students posed questions and engaged enthusiastically with their elected leaders and government employees throughout the day. The program was designed to ensure that Juneau’s students experienced the educational opportunity which exists in the state’s capital.
The kids at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School were so stoked that they posed with their Government teacher Jamie Marks and gave us this photo.
Middle School students study government as part of their curriculum and may have surprised their elected leaders with their knowledge of state issues. One of the participating teachers called it “an awesome experience” and another described how the -in-school curriculum was enriched by immersion in the reality of the work and visits to the three branches of government.
Volunteer instructors were Joyanne Bloom, Mary Hakala, Marjorie Menzi, Chris Niemi, and Bridget Smith. Funding for student bus transportation and copying costs was provided by the LWV. We hope to repeat this program again in 2017.