Legislative Scholar Program


The Legislative Scholar Program provides social studies, history, government and civics teachers from across Washington an opportunity to learn first-hand about the state legislative process and the ways in which the Legislature and the state Supreme Court interact. The program equips teachers with valuable resources and ideas to teach civics in their classrooms.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for photos and updates on past and current programs.

Legislative Scholars 2016: July 11-15, Washington State Capitol in Olympia



 About the Program     How to Register     Lesson Plans



About the Program

The Legislative Scholar Program is a 5-day summer workshop in Olympia. It offers an interactive experience for teachers to gain an inside view of the legislative process and develop in-depth strategies for bringing meaningful civics experiences into their classrooms. The program is a result of the Washington State Legislature's commitment to increasing civic knowledge and education about representative democracy in Washington. 

Activities include:

  • Meetings with legislators, Supreme Court Justices, lobbyists, and other policymakers
  • Learning how the legislative, executive, and judicial branches interact
  • Resource sessions with public and non-profit civic education organizations
  • Interactive mock committee hearing
  • Developing lesson plans and classroom activities about state government

Registration for Legislative Scholars is free and all program materials are provided by the Legislature.  Participants are responsible for their own travel, lodging, and most meals. Teachers can receive up to 30 clock hours (depending on final approval) through ESD 113 and are responsible for requesting and paying for clock hours. 

The Legislative Scholar Program is produced by the nonpartisan civic education offices of the Washington State Senate and House of Representative as a source of professional development and classroom resources for educators.  It is not an opportunity to learn about political advocacy or lobbying.

Past Programs




Photo Album


Photo Album



This is by far the best training I've had on government. It was so comprehensive, so detailed, and so useful to me as a classroom teacher that I will recommend it highly to my fellow teachers without hesitation.

-Anthony Long, A.C. Davis High School, Yakima


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How to Register

The Legislative Scholar Program accepts up to 25 teachers every year on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Registration for the July 2016 program is now closed. Information about registering for the 2017 program will be available next spring.  In completing your registration, please make sure to provide phone, email and mailing addresses where you can be reliably reached during the summer.

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Lesson Plans

A key component of the Legislative Scholar Program involves creating lesson plans based on information acquired during the workshop about the legislative process.  At the end of the program, teachers spend a half-day session working in groups or independently to write lesson plans to use in their classrooms.  Below are lesson plans generated by former Legislative Scholars and project ideas from other programs.  Please feel free to use these materials in your own classroom, and let us know what works!

All Ages:

Making Public Policy
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
Day in the Life of a Legislator  

What's Your Position? **


Middle School:

Bill Drafting  **
Bill Tracking  **
Budget Balancing Simulation  by the WA State Senate Ways & Means Committee
Budget Cuts **
Citizenship **
How a Bill Becomes a Law **
Elections, Bills, & The Budget **

High School:

Appreciating Democracy by Dr. Alan Rosenthal
Appreciating Representation  by Dr. Alan Rosenthal
Budget Balancing Simulation  by the WA State Senate Ways & Means Committee
Checks & Balances  **
Citizenship  **
Designing the Perfect World **
How a Bill Becomes A Law **
What Makes Lawmakers Tick? by Dr. Alan Rosenthal

**plans created by former Legislative Scholars

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Contact Information

For more information about the Legislative Scholar Program, contact House Coordinator Paula Rehwaldt at (360) 786-7993, or Senate Coordinator Emily McCartan at (360) 786-7016.

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"This program was highly recommended to me by the Seattle University Masters in Teaching Program. It lived up to its reputation and surpassed my expectations. I learned more about government in one week than I have learned all my life."
-Jamie Carr, Graduate Student, Seattle University Masters in Teaching Program


"This program has given me the real world aspects of the legislature and the dynamics of the process. It brought the textbooks alive!"

-Raymond Gutierrez, Washington Middle School, Olympia


"This week was an experience I'll never forget. I am so excited to get back into my classroom and share with my students how well our government officials work together. I feel that I have gained new knowledge and renewed my passion for civics; I want to pass this interest onto my students and get them involved in the legislative process."

- Jacqueline Marshall, Oroville Elementary, Oroville