San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 7th, 2008
Hays CISD Channel: Election time brings related studies

From Hays CISD

With Election Day less than one month away, students throughout Hays CISD are learning about the process of being an American in a variety of ways.

At Lehman High School (LHS), government classes are working on a project called Political Parties 101 to familiarize the students with the various perspectives, philosophies and platforms of the political parties.

“In our voting unit, we will go through the voter registration process, complete an activity called ‘Are You a Liberal or Conservative?’ which helps the students figure out and understand their political leanings on the spectrum, and complete an actual Alabama literacy test circa 1953 to help with historical relevancy, value and the importance of the voting process,” said Shari Sears, chairwoman of the LHS Social Studies Department. “We are also promoting the voting process by handing out voter registration cards, posting early voting information, polling places and the requirements to vote.”

At Buda Elementary School, third graders focused on the two presidential candidates, Barak Obama and John McCain, and discussed what it takes to be president.

“Students created books that included who their cabinet and vice president would be, as well as the reasons they selected those individuals,” said Andi Bosar, third grade teacher. “They discussed issues they would change at school and what the two most important qualities one must have to be President.”

At Hays High School (HHS), students will participate in the National Student Mock Election on Oct. 30, said Suzan Pitman, HHS Instructional Strategist. The National Student Mock Election is a non-partisan effort to help students realize the power of the ballot.

“Students will take to the voting ‘booths’ in the HHS library before and after school and during lunch,” she said.

Last week, six seniors collaborated via videoconference with the National Constitution Center and roughly a dozen other small groups of high school students around the country to set the National Student Platform.

“The platform created by this diverse, multi-state group of students is essentially what high school kids see as the most important issues and policy statements for them and are a recommendation for the next president,” Pitman said.

Students and staff gathered in the library for “Monday Morning Quarterback” (MMQ) following the first presidential debate to discuss the individuals and issues facing the electorate. More MMQ sessions are scheduled for Oct. 16 and 30 at 4:15 p.m. in the Red Room of the library.

A Rebels Vote blog for teachers and students offers a safe place to try out new ideas and ask questions, she said. The first question, was, “Why Vote?”

At Dahlstrom Middle School, students elected representatives to participate in student council.

“As it is an election year, it would be worthwhile for students to experience these elections using parliamentary procedure,” said Amy Madden, Texas history teacher. “It is fun and it should streamline the process for each election.”

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