What teachers and administrators are saying:
"The Legislative Semester truly revolutionized our teaching of civics and benefited the hundreds of students who learned by way of the program."
-Christina Kientz, Legislative Semester Teacher, Pekin High School
"I would say that in 29 years of education I can think of no pedagogical strategy or approach to instruction that on a consistent basis has provided a forum and basis for such high levels of interest, enthusiasm, and passion for learning. Students are transformed into active, enthusiastic, and passionate participants who do not cease in attempting to persuade or dissuade their peers when the bell rings and the class is dismissed. This strong desire to continue the repartee continues long after the class ends.. Students are genuinely challenged to reflect on their beliefs, re-examine their positions, and grow intellectually and emotionally as a result of this experience. I’ve seen nothing better in 29 years."
-John Highland, Former Associate Principal and Current Principal Community High School, West Chicago High School
"My first three years of teaching I taught government in a fairly traditional manner. While I incorporated what I thought to be interesting discussions, projects and cooperative learning activities, I still did not feel as if I was truly reaching students and having them accomplish the goal of most government courses: to help students become more effective citizens. I know students dreaded taking the required government course and it was so disheartening. After only three years of teaching, I already felt frustrated and dissatisfied with what I was doing. Teaching the Legislative Semester has completely changed that. The feeling of accomplishment is amazing after completing the 1st Legislative Semester and Lisle Senior High School. It is such a wonderful feeling to have students talk about the course constantly, to have students looking forward to taking it this semester, to have students from last semester coming back and telling me how much they miss government and how much they learned, even asking if they can come to class during their study halls. Other teachers approach me and tell me that the students are talking about current issues all day in their classes and in the halls, counselors tell me what a positive experience students say that government was, and parents stop me at football games and school plays to tell me thank you for because their students talk about a class for the first time at home. There is no way I could have gone on teaching the government curriculum the way I was. I thought maybe I was reaching a few students then, I now know that I am reaching most, if not all, in some way. "
-Chris Jaegle, Legislative Semester Teacher, Lisle High School
"I firmly believe that the legislative semester enables students to become effective citizens through its participatory and relevant style. After teaching American Government in both a traditional style and later with the legislative semester, I truly feel my students have a much more complex understanding of our own government structure and what their role within that structure is as a citizen. I could never return to teaching government any other way."
-Lisa Willuweit, Social Studies Department Head Community High School, West Chicago
"I was at a baseball game last week and overheard two students discussing a bill they had proposed last semester- now that is my definition of education. Your Legislative Semester has taught me more about schooling than all of my graduate courses."
-Dr. Alan Jones, Principal 1984-2002 Community High School, West Chicago
"I was impressed by the students' excitement and commitment to their beliefs resulting in a legislative process that accurately and effectively helped students experience the responsibility of our legislators. The process helped students to examine their fundamental beliefs of right and wrong as they made decisions on potential laws. In short, students were excited enough to continue their discussions in the halls, in other classes, as well as before and after school. This level of commitment to a class was extraordinary and should serve as a model for other disciplines."
-Ron Logeman, Principal Lisle High School
"Mr. Arnold's Legislative Semester has transformed the way our students think about learning and their government. This curriculum is one of the most motivating and exciting methods I have seen in my thirty years of teaching and administration. I recommend this curriculum to any high school that is looking for way to not only motivate but to get their students to actually learn and understand how their government works."
Bill Kruthers, Social Studies Department Head Lisle High School
"The Legislative Semester provides students with the longest sustained and engaged learning experience I have witnessed in 38 years of public education. Without formal observation, I was aware of the progress of the simulation as I would begin to receive more comments/complaints from other teachers and department chairs about students working on their legislation in math, science, English, etc. Cafeteria supervisors and hall monitors would rather frequently report on the heated debates that would carry over to the lunch room or the hallways. The occasional tears and the emotion choked voices were the most obvious indicators of the depth of the personal engagement of the students in the program The Legislative Semester is the capstone course and experience in the Social Studies Department at Community High School. As such, it should and it does, provide students with a rich culminating experience that incorporates the use of technology in a setting that is designed to utilize learning theory supported by current research."
-George Strecker, Former Social Studies Department Head Community High School, West Chicago