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View Ridge Elementary students learn importance of Constitution
Rita Zipp-Dearey‘s View Ridge Elementary classes have been involved in a U.S. Department of Education program designed to teach children lessons in civics and our Constitution for quite a few years now.
“Two years ago, we were the only elementary school on the Peninsula participating in this national event,” Zipp-Dearey said.
The program, “We the People,” provides materials geared toward a civics curriculum which Zipp-Dearey can use to teach students about the Constitution.
Tom Springer, the area coordinator for the “We the People” program, brings together students and community partners to conduct a mock congressional hearing where students explain components of the Constitution and answer detailed questions from judges.
Three retired community members: Emalene Renna, a former school administrator; Scott Smith, formerly an attorney; and Joyce Maddock, formerly a nurse, served as View Ridge’s judges for the hearing.
Teams of four to five students made presentations to the judges on a particular aspect of the Constitution or Bill of Rights and in turn, the judges asked them questions to asses their understanding of the particular topic.
More than 28 million students and 90,000 educators have participated in the program since its inception in 1987, according to the Center for Civic Education.
“Several studies by the Educational Testing Service and Professor Richard Brody, Stanford University, indicate that students who used the curriculum ‘significantly outperformed comparison students’ on every topic studied,” the organization’s Web site claims. “A recent study, conducted by the independent firm RMC Research Corporation, found that students using the curriculum scored significantly higher on a comprehensive test of political knowledge when compared to their peers in comparison classes as well as university students attending political science courses.
“The program enjoys the active participation of members of Congress, as well as support from professional, business, and community organizations across the nation program participants can maintain contact with the Center and with one another through the We the People Alumni Network.”
Zipp-Dearey is proud of her students for their participation in the program and she not only hopes to continue the program into the future, but hopes more parents and members of the community recognize the work the children are doing through the use of it.
“I love to show my students when they have worked so hard,” she said.