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

Virginia was well represented at the 28th Annual We the People National Finals, held on April 24-27, 2015. Maggie Walker Governor's School and Douglas S. Freeman High School, both of Richmond, joined 54 other teams from across the country. Maggie Walker Governor's School took 2nd place, and Douglas S. Freeman HS won 3rd! Additionally, Maggie Walker students won a special award designated the "Magna Carta Award" in honor of the 800th year of The Great Charter. Congratulations to the students and teachers for all of their incredibly hard work throughout the 2014-2015 school year! James Madison would be proud!

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

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. 

The 2015 Summer Institute is no longer accepting applications. We look forward to seeing you in 2016!

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. 

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. 


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