Fall Apprenticeship Highlight: Helping Students Understand the Presidential Election

Watching this year’s presidential election unfold has been interesting to say the least – even for the most seasoned voters. This semester students at the Browne Middle School in Chelsea have been watching this election more carefully than most kids their age. They’re participating in the “Running for Office” apprenticeship, in which students study the presidential candidates, local campaigns, and create a campaign of their own.Chelsea City Councilor Judith Garcia is the Citizen Teacher facilitating the class.

“Watching this year’s Presidential election has been fascinating for all of us.  One of the things I’m working on with these students is examining the issues as well as the candidate’s behavior towards each other,” said Garcia.  “Engaging students in the process well before they can vote is something I feel is crucial to helping them remain engaged when they turn 18 and are able to vote for the first time.  We’re really laying the foundation here for them to take their right to vote very seriously.”

As part of their apprenticeship, these 5th grade students will organize and develop their own campaigns, which entails choosing campaign roles, understanding campaign finances and making decisions about media presence. The curriculum is designed to give them a thorough look at the process behind the scenes as well as what they’re seeing on TV. We are wishing them the best of luck in their upcoming election!

Thanks to Councilor Garcia, the students took a trip to the Massachusetts State House after the election. The students met State Representative Dan Ryan, Sonia Chang-Díaz and State Senator Sal DiDomenico. The elected officials gave advice to the students on their own campaigns in the apprenticeship and talked about how they make decisions as representatives of larger communities.

Senator DiDomenico ended the session by asking the students how they felt about the presidential election. He told them he wanted them to know he and his colleagues are fighting for them every day.

Citizen Schools would like to thank City Councilor García for organizing the trip, and Senators Chang-Díaz and DiDomenico and State Representative Ryan for hosting the students at the State House. Experiences like these are what challenge and inspire our students to dream big about their futures.