ABOUT CHAVEZ SCHOOLS’ UNIQUE PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAM!
In order to empower Chavez scholars to create a more just, free, and equal world, our Public Policy Program is designed to develop the intellectual foundation needed to influence public policies affecting their communities including: critical and disciplinary thinking, deep knowledge of our country’s founding principles, and strong advocacy skills. Through a Public Policy Framework of developing understanding, taking action, and reflecting on attitudes and growth, our students build the character traits most conducive to our democracy and believe themselves to have the capacity to affect change.
Public policy instruction is experiential, project-based, and centered on controversial issues. It requires our scholars to interact with their communities and assume responsibility for solving current, complex issues. Scholars use their background in public policy as a lens to investigate these issues and test their solutions. Chavez Schools leverage the incredible wealth of public policy resources located in the nation’s capital to engage students as empowered citizens, able to affect the world around them.
Scholars use the intellectual skills and understanding they’ve mastered through our Public Policy Framework to take action in the real world through authentic intellectual performance tasks, advocacy projects, and public policy courses.
Advocacy Projects take place at every grade level of a student’s Chavez experience and are designed to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to the real world. The advocacy projects are: Youth Summit on Drug Trafficking Summit, Pollution Project, City Council Day, Capitol Hill Day, We the People, and the Economic Justice Roundtable.
COMMUNITY ACTION PROJECT (CAP) / CAPSTONE
At the end of the 9th and 10th grade years, scholars analyze a local or international public problem, propose a solution and advocate for change. This full-time, 2-week course, employs experiential learning, service learning, and develops activism skills in students.
At the end of the 11th grade year, scholars participate in a three-week full-time academic internship, which provides an insider’s view of the public policy process through which students gain important professional skills including: resume writing, interviewing, networking, and more.
By the 12th grade year, scholars have been fully immersed in the Chavez Public Policy curriculum and are ready to take on an even deeper and more independent project to increase their knowledge and understanding of policy issues. The Senior Thesis is the culminating project at Chavez Schools; scholars research a relevant public policy issue and write a 15-20 page research paper, which they present to public policy professionals and community members. The top three seniors are selected to showcase their work at the annual Chavez Schools’ Public Policy Symposium.