Kennedy Institute Opens Civic Education Spring Program Reservations for K-12 Students Nationwide

LEARNING BY LEGISLATING: K-12 students from all 50 states can enjoy a uniquely engaging civic education experience online and in-person at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston this school year. Becoming "U.S. Senators for a Day," civics, social studies, and history students develop and debate legislation on timely topics, guided by highly trained, non-partisan Kennedy Institute instructors who present a full range of political viewpoints. (Photo: Business Wire)

BOSTON--()--U.S. civics, history, and social-studies teachers in grades K-12 who are looking for a uniquely engaging civic education experience for their students are invited to register for winter/spring 2023 program slots—both in-person and online nationwide--now available at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

In 60- and 120-minute sessions, students can learn about government and the legislative process by becoming “U.S. Senators for a Day,” developing and debating legislation to address major issues like environmental protection, immigration reform, voting rights and election integrity, and updating the Electoral College.

For in-person visitors, the Kennedy Institute features a breathtaking, full-scale replica of the U. S. Senate Chamber, with “Senators’ Desks” from which students participate in discussion as a senator from the state of their choosing.

Highly trained, non-partisan instructors from the Kennedy Institute lead sessions that are available at no charge to public-school students in all 50 states. The Kennedy Institute also offers its programs as online Zoom sessions, including at convenient hours for schools in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. Reservations for winter/spring program slots opened to teachers nationwide this morning.

Kennedy Institute CEO Adam G. Hinds said: “The Kennedy Institute’s paramount goal in the year ahead is to grow our national reach and impact in the critical work of promoting and defending our democracy and reinvigorating the search for common ground and legislative solutions to the major problems our country faces. Engaging K-12 students in lively, non-partisan civic education that helps them learn—by doing it themselves--how senators can actually forge compromise and consensus is a key element of our mission.”

For students in grades 3-5, the Kennedy Institute is pleased to announce the return of the “Future Senator” program. Designed to introduce young students to lawmaking, the program engages children in debating a highly relevant issue to them: Whether the U.S. government should mandate a longer school day. Featuring a segment from PBS’s “Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman,” the program includes “expert witnesses” children can interview as they debate the issue, and it culminates with a voice vote in the Senate Chamber or online.

Patrick McGravey, an 8th grade teacher in the North Andover, Mass., schools who serves on the Kennedy Institute’s nationwide Teacher Advisory Panel, said, “What I would tell any teacher interested in exploring civic education at the Kennedy Institute is that your students would all feel welcomed from the moment that they walk through the front doors. They would also feel excited and engaged during the entire day. The staff make each student feel valued, and the simulation is all-encompassing—from the swearing-in session to the classroom experiences to the overall debate and eventual roll call vote at the end of the day.’’

“Even the little things such as the desks and comfy chairs put the students literally in the seats of a U.S. senator,’’ McGravey added. “My 8th graders learn more in one day at the Kennedy Institute from their engaging, standards-based education than I could offer them in a week-long unit on the legislative branch, civil discourse, and ‘How a Bill Becomes a Law.’ ‘’

Bridgid Coyle, a social studies teacher at Saint Joseph School in Needham, Mass., said: “Our recent visit to the Kennedy Institute was a huge success for both students and faculty. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, and encouraging of our students. Their presentations were energetic, engaging and completely unbiased. Every year we visit the Kennedy Institute, there is something new to learn for children and adults.’’

More information about Kennedy Institute civic education programs may be found at . A two-minute video showing Kennedy Institute virtual education programs can be found at .

About the Kennedy Institute

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is dedicated to educating the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encouraging participatory democracy, invigorating civil discourse, and inspiring the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civic life of their communities.


Media: Alex Boonstra/Peter J. Howe/Terence Burke, Denterlein for the Kennedy Institute, 617.482.0042 or

Release Summary

A unique civic education experience: The Edward M. Kennedy Institute offers in-person/online classes for winter/spring 2023 for all U.S. K-12 students


Media: Alex Boonstra/Peter J. Howe/Terence Burke, Denterlein for the Kennedy Institute, 617.482.0042 or