James Madison believed that an educated citizenry was necessary to maintain our form of government. Therefore, the future of the United States lies in educating citizens with the knowledge, understanding, and ability to ensure that our democracy will continue to thrive. 

The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier offers intensive, content-rich programs taught by nationally recognized scholars. The programs involve concentrated immersion in the Constitution and founding, fostering the impassioned exchange of ideas among scholars and peers. These professional development opportunities are supported by teacher scholarships, and most are provided at significantly reduced or no cost. 

Studying constitutionalism at Montpelier - the very place where James Madison thought more profoundly and creatively about our American form of government than any other person - is a rich and powerful experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

Virginia and Washington, DC We the People

The Center for the Constitution is the Virginia and Washington, DC sponsor of the We the People program. We the People is a nationally acclaimed civic education curriculum designed to engage students in upper elementary, middle, and high school on their knowledge of the Constitution. Teachers who participate in We the People seminars will study the history and principles of the U.S. Constitution and become familiar with the content, strategies, and authentic assessment tools in the We the People curriculum.

Each year, the Center for the Constitution hosts regional and state Virginia We the People competitions and citywide Washington, DC We the People competitions.

Tuition & Scholarships

Montpelier Seminars cost approximately $1,500 per teacher; however, thanks to the generosity of private donors, there are a limited number of full scholarships available for educators from Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and California. Teachers from other states are still encouraged to apply as non-state-specific scholarships are often available. 

Scholarships cover the cost of accommodations, meals, reading materials, teaching resources, and documentation for recertification credits. Applicants will be charged a $50 non-refundable registration fee upon officially accepting their place in a Montpelier Seminar.

Participants are responsible for covering the cost of their own travel arrangements to and from Montpelier (Orange, VA).  

What You Get

James Madison's Montpelier will provide all participants with accommodations, meals, and reading materials that are specially edited and assembled to reflect the theme of the Seminar.

Participants stay in renovated houses in the Constitutional Village on the grounds of James Madison's Montpelier. Participants will usually have their own bedroom but will share common living space, and may share bathrooms. Housing is provided only for the duration of the Seminar. Participants arriving early or staying late will be responsible for arranging their own housing on those days. 

Educators will receive documentation of the Seminar’s contact hours to qualify for professional development from your local school system, according to your own school policies.  

Continuing Education Credits are available for an additional fee through James Madison University.