Civics, up close

JMS teacher is legislative scholar

A Washougal teacher recently had the opportunity for hands-on learning.

Rebecca Bohlin, a Jemetegaard Middle School history and language arts teacher, was selected for a spot in the state Legislative Scholar Program this past summer.

“I applied because it seemed like an interactive way to learn about state government straight from the source as I wanted to improve my unit on Washington state government and civics,” she said. “I also thought it would be a good ‘vacation’ for me to get out of town during my summer break, and the cost was right … free.”

According to a press release from the Washington State Legislature, the program provides social studies, history, government and civics teachers with the opportunity to learn firsthand about the state legislative process and the ways in which it interacts with various agencies and the state Supreme Court.

“Participating teachers will leave with valuable resources and ideas to teach civics in their classrooms,” the release states.

The five-day summer workshop in Olympia involved an interactive experience and the chance to develop ways to bring civics experiences into the classroom.

Activities included meeting with legislators, Supreme Court Justices, lobbyists and other policymakers; attending an interactive mock committee hearing; and developing lesson plans.

The nonpartisan civic education offices of the Senate and House of Representatives funds the Legislative Scholar Program.

“The best thing I learned from the program is that democracy takes time,” Bohlin said. “It was designed that way, and we need to have patience and trust that the process will work. Washington’s constitution is unique and is designed to protect and support citizens. We also need to trust those we elect to do their best and demand that they compromise, focus on the issues and not let bipartisan bickering get in the way of getting things done for Washington citizens.”

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