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Oct 18, 2016 Washington D.C. & New York N.Y. —
On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the White House Historical Association (WHHA) will partner with education technology nonprofit DreamWakers to host an inaugural virtual series entitled: "Election 2016: History In the Making." The series, will take place every Tuesday through November 22 (including Election Day on November 8), invites fourth to twelfth grade students in Civics and Social Studies classrooms across the country to join a live virtual discussion (or “flashchat”) with those who have actually witnessed presidential history first-hand—either by serving in the White House or by working on the front lines of presidential elections.
With trust in the government among younger generations on the decline in recent years, active forms of civic expression have decreased as well, with most millennials citing signing petitions or sharing their views on social media as their main ways of engaging. By exposing current middle and high school students to the real-world perspectives of those in the political sphere, this series will help encourage future generations to take on more active forms of civic participation.
“Through our partnership with DreamWakers, we have the opportunity to bring this historic election to life for students across the country through their exceptional network of classrooms,” said Stewart D. McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. “Connecting White House history directly to current events through this series of flashchats expands the reach of our educational mission and we hope sparks a sustained interest in American political history and culture with emerging future leaders.”
Featured speakers for the Election Series include current and former members of White House staff, political media experts, and leaders of organizations that aim to enhance understanding of American political history and encourage civic engagement.
"We are thrilled and honored to partner with the White House Historical Association to help bring real-life, diverse perspectives directly into classrooms nationwide at this historic juncture in presidential politics,” said DreamWakers Co-Founder and CEO Monica Gray Logothetis. “Most DreamWakers classrooms—84 percent—report having never hosted a speaker from outside of their city limits. By using free video chat technology to overcome geographic boundaries, we hope to help teachers bring their lessons to life while exposing students to diverse perspectives and professions in public service.”
The Election Series speakers are:
- Yasmeen Alamiri, White House correspondent, Rare Politics
- Debra Cleaver, founder & CEO, VOTE.org
- James E. Kennedy, executive vice president and chief communications officer, News Corp; former White House deputy press secretary, President Bill Clinton Administration
- Anita McBride, executive-in-residence, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University School of Public Affairs; former assistant, President George W. Bush Administration, and chief of staff, First Lady Laura Bush
- Stewart McLaurin, President, White House Historical Association
- Maurice Owens, head of Washington, D.C. office, Libra Group; former Special Assistant and chief of staff, Denis McDonough, President Barack Obama Administration
- Smita Satiani, deputy director, White House Presidential Innovation Fellows
The virtual discussions will occur every Tuesday from October 18 through November 22 in high-need classrooms located in: Las Vegas, Nevada; Rosemead, California; Selma, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Tazewell, Virginia.
DreamWakers' 45 minute virtual classroom sessions take place on Google Hangouts and are called "flashchats." The opening five minutes consist of remarks from the speaker on their career, oftentimes tied to what students are currently studying in class. The next thirty minutes consists of Q&A in which students have the opportunity to ask questions of speakers directly. Finally, the flashchat concludes with a reflection period, in which speakers sign off and DreamWakers moderators work directly with the teachers to help students digest what they have just heard.
The flashchats are designed to shed light on the real-world applicability of course lessons, while inspiring students to plan for future life and career opportunities. Every flashchat in the Election Series will add classroom value by tying current curriculums to real-world Election issues while helping to increase interest in the democratic process; enhance critical and comprehensive thinking skills; expose students to new cultures and professional role models beyond their immediate surroundings; and advance public speaking skills and confidence.
DreamWakers is a nonprofit that harnesses technology to connect classroom learning to real-world careers. Using free video chat services, DreamWakers virtually links exceptional professionals working across a variety of industries in the public and private sectors to fourth to twelfth grade high-need classrooms where over 50% of the student body is on free or reduced lunch. Each virtual session, called a “flashchat,” lasts 45 minutes and is designed to shed light on the real world applicability of course lessons, while at the same time empowering students to prepare for personal and professional opportunities.
About the white house historical association
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.
To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.