Legislative Scholar Program


‚Äč Hands-On Civics Education for Teachers

Next Program:  July 13 - 17, 2020

Applications open May 11, 2020

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, agencies, and the state Supreme Court interact. The program is provided by the Legislature's Civic Education Program and there is no registration fee. Participating teachers will leave 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.

 About the Program     How to Register     Lesson Plans


About the Program


The Legislative Scholar Program is a 4.5 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 and budget solving exercise

  • 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 35 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.

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. To apply, fill out our online registration form. You'll receive an automatic email when you register and we will contact you shortly thereafter to confirm your participation.

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 & Classroom Resources

The central goal of the Legislative Scholar Program is to help teachers develop a rich library of resources to integrate civics and citizenship into their classrooms. Throughout your week in Olympia, you will work on developing lesson plans and adapting your understanding of state government into classroom-focused activities and concrete learning objectives for students. Because civics is a hands-on, life-long practice, Legislative Scholars emphasizes simulations, critical thinking, civil discussion, and authentic learning in our approach. Over ten years of Legislative Scholars have contributed to the lesson plans in our collection, and we always welcome ideas for more!

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Contact Information

For more information about the Legislative Scholar Program contact:

House Civic Education Director Leo O'Leary at (360) 786-7993 or Leo.OLeary@leg.wa.gov 

Senate Civic Education Director Colleen Rust at (360) 786-7016 or Colleen.Rust@leg.wa.gov

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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