Tuesday 09 February 2016

The American Government Experience


The purpose of the American Government Experience is to deliver the best education a high school student can receive regarding American Government, American political institutions, and current events. In addition, the American Government Experience is designed to develop critical thinking skills, practical experience in pursuit of a political cause, all within a Christian Worldview.

The Experience

The American Government Experience is a 12 month long government workshop combining practical political involvement and activism with intense academic study of our political structure and issues. The Experience will involve six to eight full day sessions, held approximately once every six weeks.

Each session will involve both a review and discussion of the current election cycle, as well as a time of classroom seminar on a particular facet of American Government and Politics. In addition, as opportunities present themselves throughout the year, students will attend current events forums as a group, and then discuss them with the group. Students will follow the Presidential and Congressional election process and Presidential transition very closely through the 12-month course. Students will learn to think critically, with a Christian worldview, about issues presented in the American Political system in the current information age.

Students will participate as members of a public policy forum, Campaign for America, throughout the experience. Assignments in the class will consist of book studies, as well as opinion editorials to be posted on the Campaign For America website and submitted to publications for review. The course will conclude with a 4-day trip to Washington, DC and a close-up look of many of the institutions of government the students will have been studying.

Assignments and Projects

Participation in the American Government Experience will include a significant amount of classroom and independent learning about our political system and process. Students will be given the opportunity to pursue an “Honors” project, with individual coaching by the instructor. The “Honors” project will be a real political client project, which may take the form of a paper, an experience, a speech, a video, or some other accomplishment agreed upon by the student and the instructor.

Important Documents

American Government Experience – Letter 2012

American Government Experience – Course Description 2012

American Government Experience – Syllabus 2012

American Government Experience – Rules 2012

American Government Experience – Q&A 2012

Alumni Comments

It was a great class. Mr. Nelson’s fire for politics and our country’s direction spread to me. I’m not as into it as some, but i definitely pay more attention to what is going on than I did before I took the class.

Writing the Op Ed’s was fun and challenging. As a want-to-be writer, Mr. Nelson’s tough editing skills made me more aware of how important it is to make my meaning clear cut and to the point.

Overall, awesome class! It really is an American Government Experience, not just a stroll in the park.

-DJ Barker

There were several things I enjoyed-

1) I learned a whole lot. This comes from the daughter of the teacher, so I get a lot of these discussions at home, but, when you really spend time with someone who knows their stuff, you learn so much. Especially about things I thought I knew, or words that sounded familiar, but I really understood them after the class.

2) I loved debating on what restaurant we should go to lunch at with parliamentary procedure.

3) Also, it made me feel big. (hehe) We dressed up, met in a conference room, talked about important things, and had to read and write a lot.

-Clara Nelson, The College at Southeastern, Class of 2015

In the school year of 2008/2009, I had the privilege of participating in the American Government Experience. Throughout the course I learned, in great detail, how the American Government was developed and how it functions. Mr. Nelson is a fabulous teacher, role model, and friend, and he kept the class extremely interesting while conveying an impressive amount of knowledge concerning our government. The course culminated in a trip to Washington DC, where Mr. Nelson gave the class an in-depth tour of the various locations of government function. This experience solidified what we had learned in the class, and it was a lot of fun. The trip to DC was a highlight of my high school career.
The overall effect of the American Government Experience is that I am much more knowledgeable of, and interested in American government and politics. I would highly recommend this course, and its instructor, to anyone interested in learning how our government works.

-Dylan Taylor, Appalachian State University, Class of 2014

Despite its difficulty, Mr. Nelson’s American Government class surpasses any class I have ever taken. From the reading to the OP-EDs to the teaching, I have never enjoyed or learned more in a single class.

-KP Hicks, Western Carolina University, Class of 2015

Mr. Nelson is a great teacher and taught me a lot! It was great to have a teacher that loves what they are teaching. I knew barely anything about government, and this class helped me immensely!

We had fun learning as a class, and helping each other. The most fun was debating on where to eat for lunch.

Not only were the lectures great, but we did many activities outside of class that helped me understand our government better. This class is great for anyone. I loved American Government Experience because I am a visual/hands-on learner, and this class provides that.

-Brooke Barker

The Campaign for American Experience was insightful and challenging as we followed the political process through the election of our next president. Mr. Nelson brought experience and knowledge to our discussions as well as directing us to sources and experiences to help us understand politics in this current age. The assignments are rigorous but the end result is rewarding. Our trip to the nation’s capital is a time I will never forget. After spending months learning about our government it was very enjoyable to be able to visit the places we spent so much time studying.

-Sarah Brent