Our Stories

JPDS-NC Students Create Voter’s Guide

November 3, 2016 by Naomi Reem (Faculty and Staff)

Students raise signs reading "Vote!" and naming the different issues the students studied, such as "Immigration" and "Globalization."The students at the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital invite you to read their Voter’s Guide: Kids’ Voices Count. Students created the Guide in order to share kids’ perspectives on key election issues, addressing such topics as foreign policy, healthcare, immigration, globalization and trade, public land use, D.C. statehood, and more. For the past five weeks, JPDS-NC students from Pre-Kindergarten to Sixth Grade delved into election issues, met with experts, dialogued with and surveyed students in area schools, and reflected on Jewish teachings and values that relate to the issues in the election. Students explored complex issues and met with experts on trade, diplomacy, conservation, campaign and election law, conflict mining, immigration law, and political messaging, among others. They also visited independent, public and public charter schools in Washington D.C. and Montgomery County, MD, meeting with students to share their learning, discuss the issues, and hear the perspectives of other kids.

The Voter’s Guide is the culmination of a months-long, schoolwide election project. Printed copies will be sent to parents and public officials, as well as to synagogues, community centers, schools, and other organizations. The purpose of the Voter’s Guide is to give voice to the ideas and opinions of JPDS-NC students and to those of other area school children that they surveyed as part of the Election Project. As many of our students noted, since they can’t vote yet and since the decisions of adults impact their lives and future, this is their opportunity to tell adults what they want them to be thinking about when they cast their ballots.

One of JPDS-NC’s goals is to prepare our students to be informed, empowered, and engaged citizens. As the only Jewish community day school in Washington D.C., we feel an even stronger obligation to model for our students the importance of civil discourse and civic engagement. The Voter’s Guide you are about to read is a product created entirely by students: their voices, their writing, their ideas, and their values. We are inspired by the curiosity, awareness, and insights of the students. We think you will be too!

We hope you enjoy reading the JPDS-NC’s Voter’s Guide: Kids’ Voices Count. And check out the Washington Jewish Week article about the Election Project.