We the People

Center for the Constitution

"We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution" is a nationally acclaimed government and civics curriculum that helps students understand the history and principles of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The program is based on materials developed by the Center for Civic Education. The program is available to elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers from public and private schools anywhere in the United States. The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier is proud to host We the People in Virginia and Washington, DC.   

As a performance assessment, students demonstrate their understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take positions and ultimately defend those positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues during a simulated congressional hearing.

Benefit of the We the People Curriculum:

  • FREE Professional Development
  • A Teacher's Network
  • Authentic Assessment Tools for Evaluating
Your Students
  • Simulated Congressional Hearing Competition
  • Endorsed by the Virginia General Assembly


We the People News

Congratulations to Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, the 2015 Virginia We the People High School champs, and Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy - Parkside Campus, the 2015 District of Columbia High School champs! The teams will represent Virginia and Washington, D.C. at the We the People National Finals held April 24-27 on the campus of George Mason University and in hearing rooms on Capitol Hill. 

Additionally, we congratulate Douglas S. Freeman High School! The 2015 runner up team for Virginia will also attend We the People National Finals as a Wild Card team. We are excited to have three amazing groups of students representing Virginia and Washington, D.C.! 


We the People Summer Institute for Teachers from Virginia and Washington, D.C. 

Middle and high school educators new to We the People are encouraged to sign up for the We the People Summer Institute, held June 29-July 2, 2015 at James Madison's Montpelier. Applications are now being accepted! Apply here.

The 4- day We the People Summer Institute provides participating educators with the intellectual foundation and pedagogical preparation to be effective teachers of civics and government. Participating middle and high school teachers will work with experienced mentor teachers in a combination of lectures, breakout sessions, and classroom simulations to learn about the historical events and philosophical contexts preceding and affecting the writing of the U.S. Constitution and its relation to essential democratic principles. Teachers prepare for and participate in a simulated congressional hearing, giving them the skills and experience needed to conduct similar hearings in their classrooms. 

Tuition and Scholarships:
Thanks to the generosity of private donors, scholarships cover the cost of accommodations, meals, reading materials, teaching resources, and documentation for recertification credits. Applicants will be charged a $50 nonrefundable registration fee upon officially accepting their place in the Summer Institute. Teachers and/or their districts are responsible for travel costs. 

What You Get:

  • Accommodations and Meals: Participants will be housed on the grounds of James Madison's Montpelier. All meals are provided. 
  • Textbooks and Resources: Each participant will receive a classroom set of We the People textbooks (30 student books, 1 teacher edition) and a selection of primary source readings on the Constitution. 
  • Recertification Points: Educators will receive documentation of the Summer Institute's contact hours (approximately 25) to qualify for professional development. 
  • Special Tours of Montpelier: Guided by professional staff, participants will have time to explore James and Dolley Madison's 2,700 acre estate in central Virginia. 



Applicants for this program must be employed full-time in a public, private, or charter school in Virginia or the District of Columbia. Admission will be decided for the We the People Summer Institute on a rolling basis. Eligible applicants who cannot be included in the Seminar will be placed on a wait list for any vacancies that may occur. Applications will be accepted beginning March 1, 2015. Click here to apply for the 2015 Summer Institute!

For More Information:

Contact Emily Voss, the Virginia and Washington D.C. We the People Coordinator at evoss@montpelier.org or call 540-308-2063. 


You may also be interested in: