We have partnered with Chani Rotenberg, History Department Chair and Samantha Kur, English Department Chair at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls to create a Congress Project. Chani and Samantha are Co-Directors of Humanities Enrichment & Interdisciplinary Programming.
The Congress Project is an opportunity for students to learn how to dialogue, practice research skills by diving into policy issues and to learn about members of Congress and the legislative process.
After collaboratively identifying a civic issue (such as college affordability or criminal justice), each student is assigned a U.S. Senator to embody who has been involved with the issue. Students can select any of the 100 U.S. senators, but each working group MUST have at least one Democrat and one Republican. They are encouraged to consider issue-specific and functional congressional committees.
In order to develop an understanding of their senator’s values and intentions, the students research biographical information including:
Where was the senator raised?
Does the senator practice a religion? If so, what religion?
Where did the senator attend college and/or graduate school?
What did the senator do before coming to the Senate?
Is the senator married? Have siblings? What are his/her family connections?
Following this step, students are asked to use three reliable sources vetted by the teachers, in researching their senator’s views and voting track record on the selected issue
Each group must meet, sharing their respective research and identifying values and actions of each senator.
As a concluding project, students will reflect on their work and draft a proposed bill which they feel their selected senator would realistically consider proposing to a group or committee. The draft bills will be posted throughout the school on a hallway bulletin.