Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day at Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School

Today, Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School students celebrated Election Day by having a mock vote in the 2012 Presidential Election. The purpose of the mock election was to reinforce the academics that the boys and girls have been learning about the last few weeks. With their certified Social Studies teacher, Kimberly Hawks, the students in Social Studies classes have been learning about the Electoral College and how the system of voting for the president works.   

Each unit that is covered in a supplemental instruction has a skill that the students practice as a class.  During this unit, students have been exercising their “Conversational Moves.”  Opinions about politics can often be heated, as a result, the students practiced their abilities to have productive class discussions.  We had conversations about the effectiveness of the Electoral College.  Students discussed whether or not the Electoral College still has the same purpose that it had when the Founding Fathers created the Constitution, possible alternatives to the Electoral College, and whether the current system was fair to all.  Students brought their knowledge of the 2000 Election into the discussion, and the importance of swing states to this election.  With the way that this discussion has gone, Kimberly felt that it would be important to have our own mock election here on campus.

Today, students entered the “polling place” (Kimberly’s classroom), and signed in on the master roll, just as they would have if entering a real polling place.  To separate the students into different states, each homeroom became their own state.  To help with the counting, the ballot that each student received was a different color depending on their “state residency.”

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Election Sign-in
A student signs in on the master roll
When the student received the ballot, he/she would head to the polling stations that were created on a desk in the classroom.  Each student would fill in the bubble next to the candidate to mark the selection and then fold up the ballot to put it in the box.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Voting
A student fills out his ballot
The students came into the polling place throughout the day.  All students and some of the staff exercised their right to choose whether to vote.  Of the 37 members of the school, 20 members voted which gave us a 56% turnout.  So who did Cedar Ridge Academy vote for?

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Election Ballot Submission
A student casts his ballot into the box
By Electoral College and popular vote: President Barack Obama won!

The Electoral College vote breakdown was two votes for Obama and one vote for Romney.  The popular vote breakdown was nine votes for Obama, eight votes for Romney, one vote for Anderson, one vote for Goode, and one vote for Johnson.

Students gained a lot from the experience and enjoyed participating in their own election, even though they are not old enough to vote.  If you haven't already, take an opportunity to go vote just as the students did today!

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