Thursday, March 6, 2008

Congress in the Classroom program opportunity


** Call For Participation: Congress in the Classroom 2008 **

Congress in the Classroom is a national, award-winning education program now in its 16th year. Developed and sponsored by The Dirksen Congressional Center, the workshop is dedicated to the exchange of ideas and information on teaching about Congress. The Center will join with the new Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service in conducting the workshop.

Congress in the Classroom is designed for high school or middle school teachers who teach U.S. history, government, civics, political science, or social studies. Forty teachers will be selected in 2008 to take part in the program. Selection will be determined by The Center. Individuals will be notified of their acceptance status by April 30, 2008.

In addition to sessions dealing with Congress, the 2008 program will pay special attention to the upcoming congressional and presidential elections. The workshop consists of two types of sessions: those that focus on recent research and scholarship about Congress or elections (and don't always have an immediate application in the classroom) and those geared to specific ways to teach students about Congress or elections.

The workshop will be held Monday, July 21 - Thursday, July 24, at the Hotel Pere Marquette -- -- Peoria, Illinois.

The program is certified by the Illinois State Board of Education for up to 22 Continuing Education Units. The program also is endorsed by the National Council for the Social Studies.

Participants are responsible for (1) a non-refundable $135 registration fee (required to confirm acceptance after notice of selection) and (2) transportation to and from Peoria, Illinois. Many school districts will pay all or a portion of these costs.

The Center pays for three nights lodging at the headquarters hotel (providing a single room for each participant), workshop materials, local transportation, all but three meals, and presenter honoraria and expenses. The Center spends between $25,000 and $30,000 to host the program each year.

Tentative session titles are listed below. (NOTE: Additional sessions will be listed as presenters are confirmed. More information about the content of each session will be posted as it becomes available.)

> Opening Remarks: A View from Capitol Hill
The Honorable Ray LaHood, (R-IL, 18th District, U.S. House of Representatives) CONFIRMED

First elected in 1994, Congressman LaHood has earned a reputation as an "institutionalist," someone respected by Republicans and Democrats. A member of the House Appropriations Committee since 2001, he announced his retirement from the House effective in January 2009. As a result, the district is in the midst of a contested primary for the first time in years.

> Congressional Insight: An Interactive Simulation of a Member's First Term in the House of Representatives
Tara Smith, National Association of Manufacturers CONFIRMED

With Congressional Insight, you experience the high-pressured, uncompromising environment in which legislators must operate. With increasingly tight deadlines imposed by the simulation, you are part of a team that must decide which bills to support, which committee posts to seek, how much time to devote to fundraising, and what tradeoffs to make amidst constituent, party, special-interest, and media pressures. The quality of your choices will be tested in a reelection campaign.

> Sound Bite: Introduction to The Dirksen Center's Web Suite
Cindy Koeppel, The Dirksen Center CONFIRMED

Sound Bites are 30-minute sessions devoted to a single topic. In this one, Koeppel, the designer of The Center's Web suite, will introduce the six sites within the suite and illustrate how teachers can use them in their classrooms. Almost 1.5 million "unique visitors" generated about 70 million "hits" on the suite in 2007.

> Running for Congress: A Consultant's Perspective
Matt Bisbee, Illinois Executive Director, Victory Enterprises CONFIRMED

Founded in 1993, Victory Enterprises is a comprehensive political consulting and communications firm. Victory Enterprises offers a full array of campaign services including survey research, media production and placement, direct mail design, grassroots messaging, web strategy and design as well as one-on-one campaign consulting. The firm has been involved in over 1,500 campaigns. Bisbee will talk about how congressional candidates are recruited and how they develop a strategy for election.

> On the Road with Presidential Candidates

A reporter for a national news organization will describe their work covering three presidential candidates.

> Reception at Bradley University
Workshop teachers

We will travel to the campus of Bradley University for a reception and tour. Brad McMillan, Executive Director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service will brief us on IPL's programs.

> Running for Congress: A Candidate's Perspective
Jim McConoughey, candidate in the Republican primary, 18th congressional district, and CEO of the Heartland Partnership. CONFIRMED

One of the three Republican candidates in the 18th congressional district will discuss his experiences on the campaign trail. NOTE: the Democrats have yet to select a candidate.

> Where We Stand in the Presidential Race and What to Look For
Tim Teehan, National Sales Director, Campaigns and Elections. CONFIRMED

Campaigns & Elections is a nonpartisan publication with more than 84,000 readers involved in the political process. A representative from the magazine will discuss the state of the presidential race in July 2008 and preview the developments we should be alert to.

> Sound Bite: Yes, It is Possible to Find Humor in Congress
Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center CONFIRMED

Relying on gems located in the archives of Members of Congress, Mackaman provides examples of what constituents expect of their representatives. For example, consider this request of former Congressman John Dent: "I am a future inventor. Tell me of some of the inventions of the future so I can start on them now." !

> Teaching with Primary Sources
Cindy Rich, Project Director, Teaching with Primary Sources, Eastern Illinois University CONFIRMED

The Library of Congress's Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program works with an educational consortium of schools, universities, libraries, and foundations to help teachers use the Library’s vast collection of digitized primary sources to enrich their classroom instruction. Schools that have participated in the program know that it encourages educators to embed primary sources into curriculum through all disciplines and grade levels to build a foundation of knowledge, enhance understanding, increase comprehension, and develop multimedia/information literacy skills.

> From the Campaign Trail: Observations from a Reporter
Tanya Koonce, political reporter, WCBU Radio CONFIRMED

How do reporters decide what to cover in a congressional election? What factors affect their relationships with the candidates? How do they know when they've been "spun"? What qualities or skills are required of political reporters? Koonce, who currently covers the 18th congressional district race to replace retiring Congressman Ray LaHood, will address these questions and more.

> Predicting the Outcome of the Presidential Election
Frank H. Mackaman, The Dirksen Congressional Center CONFIRMED

Historians, political scientists, economists, and hobbyists all have devised various models, some sensible, some strange, to predict the outcome of presidential elections. Mackaman will introduce you to several of them before focusing on the one that has proven the most prescient.

> How to Get Your Point Across to Congress Members
Stephanie Vance, Advocacy Associates, Washington DC CONFIRMED

How do you break through the "noise" to communicate with a member of Congress? Vance has the answers. She advises clients on how to reach Congress people effectively by understanding how congressional offices function and process information. She will introduce her online advocacy course - something you can use even after the workshop ends.

Take a look at The Dirksen Center Web site - -- to see what participants say about the program.

* Registration *

If you are interested in registering for the Congress in the Classroom® 2008 workshop, you can complete an online registration form found at:

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