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2022–23 We the People Training Cohort

Cohort Kickoff: July 18–July 21, 2022
George Washington’s Mount Vernon

This training is supported by a generous gift from the Virginia Law Foundation. 

The 2022–23 Training Cohort is currently full. Please check back in Spring 2023 for information about applying for the 2023–24 cohort. 

We are now accepting applications for the 2022–2023 learning cohort to receive extensive mentorship from experienced We the People teachers and content knowledge from top constitutional scholars. Priority is given to educators who teach social studies, government, civics, and similar subjects. The cohort will begin with the 2022 We the People Summer Institute, headquartered at Mount Vernon, and continue with four, one-day or shorter professional development workshops during the academic year, in October (virtual), December (in-person), February (virtual), and April (in-person).

We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is a curriculum designed to help students understand the history and principles of our constitutional government. The program focuses on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and fosters civic responsibility among elementary, middle, and high school students.

The We the People Training Program is a rigorous professional development program that brings teachers together to work with experienced mentors and scholars from a variety of disciplines. Participants attend lectures, interactive sessions, and when possible, field trips, and participate in simulated congressional hearings modeled after the We the People culminating activity.

In return for participation in the Training Program, we ask that teachers use the We the People curriculum and conduct a simulated congressional hearing with their students. VA Civics staff and mentors will also provide technical assistance and support throughout the academic year as teachers work towards full program implementation. Each member of the cohort will be required to complete 40 hours of instruction using We the People materials, a classroom simulated congressional hearing, administration of a student pre- and post-test, and to attend all We the People professional development events (Summer Institute and four workshops).

The 2022 We the People Summer Institute is headquartered at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, where participants will attend lectures from veteran We the People professional development scholars. Time in the classroom will be supplemented by field experiences at Mount Vernon and sites in Washington, DC. Participants will have paid accommodations in beautiful Old Town Alexandria at The Alexandrian, a charming boutique hotel within walking distance of fantastic shops, restaurants, the King Street Metro station, and local attractions.

Participants receive (at no cost to them):

How to Apply

Apply Online using Google Forms (uploading the required documents will require you to sign in, or you may email documents as instructed on the application)

Priority will be given to educators who teach social studies, government, civics, and similar subjects.

THE DEADLINE FOR RECEIVING APPLICATIONS IS June 20, 2022. Qualifying participants will be notified of acceptance in the order they are received and are accepted on a first come first serve basis.

This application requires you to submit two letters of recommendation and have a school administrator submit an online Statement of Administrative Support.

Please email with any questions.

This training is made possible by a generous grant from:

Emily Voss

Emily Voss comes to civic education from the museum world, where she was passionate about making museums relevant to the modern world. She currently serves as the Manager of National Programs for the Center for Civic Education. Prior to that, she served as the Education Director at the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier where she spent the past decade developing programs for adult professionals that invited engagement with America’s founding documents. She served as the Virginia State Coordinator of the We the People program for 10 years and is a co-founder of Virginia Civics. Emily holds a BA in History from Gettysburg College, and an MA in Museum Education from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (SUNY). She and her family currently reside in central Virginia.

Co-Executive Director & Chief Programs Officer

Jen Patja

Jen Patja has dedicated her career to strengthening constitutional self-government through her work with Virginia Civics, the Center for Civic Education, and Montpelier’s Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, where she served as Deputy Director. Jen is a co-founder of Virginia Civics, and serves as a House of Delegates-appointed member of the Virginia Commission on Civic Education, a state legislative commission. She is the producer and editor of “Rational Security,” a weekly foreign policy and national security roundup, and “The Lawfare Podcast,” a daily audio production in cooperation with the Brookings Institution. Jen has held teaching and research positions at the University of Virginia, most notably in Criminology and the school’s University Internship Program with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. She received her master’s in Sociology from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

Co-Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer

Amelia Bochain

Amelia Bochain has devoted her professional life to effective social studies education that fosters civil discourse. As a classroom teacher for nine years, she implemented project-based learning that focused on civic engagement and encouraging effective discussion skills. She is particularly passionate about the We the People program, where she coached teams that placed in regional, state, and national competitions.

State Coordinator