ShareThis Page
Alle-Kiski students study up on election |

Alle-Kiski students study up on election

| Monday, October 18, 2004 12:00 a.m

Even though most of their students can’t vote, school districts are using the Nov. 2 presidential election as an opportunity to teach American government.

From mock elections and debates to roundtable discussions and extended lessons on politics, teachers around the Valley are finding unique ways to incorporate the election in the classroom.

Many districts are participating in widespread mock elections, such as the statewide initiative called the Student Mock Election Program or One Vote 2004, a national election sponsored by Channel One. Channel One is a news program geared for teens and aired in many local school districts.

South Butler County School District students this week will cast votes in One Vote 2004, with national results to be televised Thursday.

District spokesman Todd O’Shell said Knoch High School students in Kaitllyn Remenski’s social studies classes have participated in roundtable discussions every Friday to talk about the election. They used Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to nearby Clinton Township last week as a discussion point.

Also at South Butler, students in the intermediate and primary elementary schools will host a mock election this Friday, O’Shell said.

Freeport Area Senior High School Principal Bob Schleiden said his students also will participate in the Channel One election, travelling from their social studies classes to the computer labs to vote.

Highlands School District is participating in the Student Mock Election Program, said high school Principal Tom Shirey.

The election has been organized by the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Education since 1988, according to the program Web site. Since 2000, students have been able to watch their voting results come in over the internet.

About 1,300 school districts are expected to participate this year.

Shirey said once the results are tallied, Highlands students will compare their voting record with that of other students and the actual election. In addition to using the information in social studies lessons, Shirey said students taking probability and statistics classes also will analyze the data.

“We’ll be using it as a cross-curricular project,” Shirey said.

At Allegheny Valley School District, spokeswoman Jan Zastawniak said Springdale Jr.-Sr. High School students will go to mock voting booths run by political science students on Nov. 2 to cast their ballots.

Also, two high school teachers are sponsoring debates, according to district Assistant Superintendent Gabe Ziccarelli.

Each teacher adopted a political party and students have been meeting to prepare for weeklong debates to be televised this week during the morning announcements, Ziccarrelli said.

In addition to learning about the Republican and Democratic platforms, students get a chance to try their hand at campaigning by posting signs supporting their candidate in the school.

Jessica Johns, who teaches ninth-grade American history at Apollo-Ridge Senior High School, said the electoral process doesn’t really fit in with the class curriculum.

However, for about two hours every week, she’s used remediation classes with the high school freshmen as an opportunity to talk about the election and current events such as the war in Iraq.

“We’ve watched all the debates, and we talk about why voting is important and how the electoral process works,” Johns said.

“My kids aren’t old enough to vote, so it’s hard for them to get involved,” she said. “But they’ve had a lot of questions.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.