Student Legislative Seminars

Student Legislative Seminars gather high school students in Washington, D.C. for 5-6 days to research an issue, decide their positions through active dialogue, and meet with members of Congress to share their thoughts. This is a practical exercise in civility your students will never forget.

The Program

What’s on the agenda?

Civility Training

We help the students explore the importance of belief systems and how they affect us. Students learn and practice listening and communication skills that will last a lifetime and that can be applied to virtually any situation. We also emphasize and practice critical thinking while maintaining civility and respect throughout the process.

Guided Issues Research

We educate students about how to be involved in the governing process. We arrange briefings on Capitol Hill for students on issues they have selected. This both empowers students to set the agenda for their time on Capitol Hill and teaches them about some of the resources that are available to them. Students decide their positions on the issues together through active dialogue with one another.

Congressional Meetings

Then students meet with their elected representatives in both the House and Senate, sharing their concerns and opinions on their selected topic. Student groups also have their picture with the sponsoring member(s) of Congress, providing them with a long-lasting reminder of their time in Washington, D.C.

Cultural Experiences

While in the nation’s capital, students have the opportunity to visit museums, monuments, concerts, and events. These excursions not only enrich the students’ experience, but also provide additional perspectives students may not otherwise be exposed to.

The Details

How it works

  • The sponsoring high school provides chaperones and transportation for all students to and from Washington, D.C.
  • The Institute for Civility provides the itinerary and training to engage students in the legislative process while practicing civility. The Institute arranges lodging, meals, excursions, Congressional visits, training sessions, and all other programming.
  • Before the seminar, the students choose topics they will research, and the Institute tailors the programming to students’ specific needs.

The Results

Students, Teachers, and Parents Weigh In

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“Through the legislative seminars, students learn to see issues in a more dynamic way. They begin to appreciate the value of different viewpoints, and to understand the importance of civility—in government and in their own lives.”
Laurie H.
Teacher, Texas City High School
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“The Washington, D.C., trip with the Institute for Civility was one of the most comprehensive, well-planned trips that I have ever had the pleasure to attend. My students received hands-on learning through interacting with the offices of the Senators and Congressmen alike, and they were even fortunate enough to engage in a meaningful discussion with Congressman Gene Green. When they were not developing formal political opinions or conferring in Congressional offices, my students were in museums, at monuments, or otherwise engaged in learning about this incredible governmental system.”
Joseph A.
Teacher, Furr High School
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“Spending time in DC opened my eyes to the reality of making a difference in my community at a young age. Being able to wake up with my peers and get to work was life changing, to say the least. I will never forget this beautiful experience I’m grateful to have been chosen to attend.”
Student, Texas City High School

You ask, we answer

Learn more about program details

We recommend groups of 10-12 students. Larger groups may be broken into additional Student Legislative Seminars. One male and one female chaperone are required per group of 10-12 students.

Each seminar costs approximately $2,000 per student/chaperone. This covers the cost of meals, transportation in Washington, D.C., 5 days and 6 nights of lodging, sightseeing, admissions, and all connected programming.

The sponsoring school is solely responsible for transportation to and from Washington, D.C. Options include: Plane, train, bus, automobile, all subject to costs at time of trip and will be determined based on geographical location and group size. We can discuss the logistics, planning, best mode of transportation in more detail as we explore this opportunity together. 

Students do not typically fund these trips, although the school might ask them to pay a portion of cost and to participate in efforts to help raise trip funds. The cost can be covered either by the school, grants, or community civic groups. 

For more information about what might be possible for your group, please contact us. 

This program is geared toward students who are 14 or older.

Typically the student trip runs 6 days, 5 nights: Saturday through Thursday, with arrival in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and departure to home city on Thursday.

Orientation lasts three hours, which can be held over two 1.5-hour meetings or three 1-hour meetings. Meetings cover what to expect, gather travel details, and begin exploring civility and potential topics to research.

Two chaperones of your choosing will also join the trip. The chaperones’ role is to help get the students safely and happily through the challenges of their action-packed itineraries. They are an extension of Institute trip leadership and a known liaison for the students. It’s also an incredibly exciting and interactive experience for chaperones too!