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The congressional hearings take place from early May to mid-June. We are seeking government officials, school system personnel, community members and others who exemplify real-world applications of social studies instruction. This is a great opportunity for you to be involved in an inspiring and uplifting event that showcases what our students have learned. It would be an honor to have you participate.
This event is a performance assessment that culminates our fifth-graders' year of social studies instruction. Your role will be to listen to students, ask questions, and provide feedback. You do NOT need to be a constitutional scholar to be a great judge. It will be the students' job to teach you. We will provide all the training you need on the morning of the event. The civic participation of community members is critical to the success of the program.
You will have the pleasure of hearing four to five student groups present their expert testimonies. Each group of judges will have a lead judge who will lead the group.
Each hearing is divided into five parts.
Each Simulated Congressional Hearing is a full-day event scheduled from approximately 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m (schedules vary by school). For information about all elementary schools, including school profiles, addresses, and more, visit the elementary school overview page.
For those that have trouble accessing the video, we will also play the video 15 minutes prior to the "official start" of the judge training at the school. This way, you can decide whether to watch the video ahead of time or to just arrive early for the training to watch the video with us.
Your nametag should include your name and your current title, company, or responsibility. We will use this information to introduce you to the students during the opening ceremony. Examples of titles may include:
If circumstances arise at the last minute and you cannot make your scheduled hearing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-313-5693 to let us know.
Judges are encouraged to eat breakfast on the day of their scheduled hearing. Due to budgetary cuts, we can no longer provide breakfast. If your SCH is a full-day event, the school will provide lunch for you. If you have special dietary restrictions, please let us know at email@example.com
Most judges wear professional attire to the hearings. Some judges wear their uniforms such as members of the armed forces or police department. As a reminder, campaigning on school property is not allowed (see HCPSS Circular No. 59), therefore please do not wear clothing that suggests you are a candidate running for office or clothing that supports another candidate. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
The roundtable discussion may be conducted in two formats:
Individual schools decide how their roundtable will run. The SCH facilitator will make sure to prepare you for the roundtable format on the day of your hearing.
Judges are strongly encouraged to attend the closing ceremony. The closing ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the students. We understand, though, if you have other responsibilities that require you to miss the closing ceremony.
We truly value your feedback. There will be a feedback form in the folder you receive on the day of your hearing. You're welcome to complete the form and give it to the representative from the Social Studies Office. You can also complete the online version of the feedback form.
You do not need to be a constitutional expert to be a judge. The judge training video in addition to the training you will receive on the day of the event will give you the information you need to be an effective judge. It is the students' responsibility to teach you about their Constitutional knowledge.
In addition to judges, schools also need coaches to help prepare students for their Simulated Congressional Hearings. If you are interested in this opportunity, please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide you will all of the training/resources you need.
Consider telling people about how effective this program is in helping our students become responsible and informed citizens. Your support as well as the support of the community is important to keep this program running.