Washington Week 2017: What to Expect

AACTE’s Washington Week is just around the corner! From June 4-7, we’re offering a robust series of activities for faculty, students, state chapters, and partners under the theme “Diverse Perspectives, Deep Partnerships, One Profession.” Whether you’ll start the week at the Holmes Summer Policy Institute or the State Leaders Institute or plan to join us midweek, you certainly won’t want to miss the grand finale June 6-7: AACTE’s Day on the Hill, our premier advocacy event.

What can you expect at Day on the Hill? First, you should know that it’s actually 2 days long – one full day of advocacy training and orientation in the hotel, followed by a day of meetings on Capitol Hill. You can download the draft agenda here.

The orientation will feature panel discussions on topics such as collaboration in advocacy, coordinating with your institution’s government relations staff, working with congressional staff, and perspectives from AACTE members about their own advocacy experiences. As you conclude the orientation, you will be given time to strategize and prepare for your meetings with congressional offices the following day.

On Day 2, we will ensure you are fueled for your Hill meetings with a congressional breakfast in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The breakfast will include some last-minute time with colleagues to prepare for your meetings, and AACTE will be honoring the efforts of two members of Congress with this year’s Congressional Leadership Awards (find out who the recipients are by attending!). Then you’ll have the bulk of the day to conduct Hill meetings, after which you are invited to debrief the day with us at one of D.C.’s iconic establishments.

Still need to register? Don’t worry – it’s not too late. Registration is available on AACTE’s website, and members receive a tiered discount based on the number of attendees from their institution attending (including teacher candidates!).

If you plan to join us, here are some tips to help you prepare in advance:

  • Preschedule your meetings. As soon as possible, and certainly prior to your arrival in Washington, DC, you should contact the offices of your members of Congress (both of your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative) to request a meeting on Wednesday, June 7. We also suggest reaching out to your institution’s government relations staff to coordinate and collaborate on messaging and materials. They might even help with setting up your meetings. (And be sure to check out AACTE’s Advocacy Center for downloadable guides that can assist you in setting up meetings!) We also suggest collaborating with colleagues in your state as you schedule meetings if possible – often it’s good to go to Senate offices together.
  • Pack smart. You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes and be ready to accommodate potential weather changes. A fair amount of walking during your Hill visits is to be expected, and an umbrella could be handy.
  • Engage on social media. Use the hashtag #AACTEWW17 on Twitter to share your experience with your followers and other attendees! The event agenda will also list Twitter handles for the panelists to help you follow them, tweet at them, and share their messages.

We hope you’re excited as we are for AACTE’s 2017 Washington Week! If you have any questions or need assistance preparing for Day on the Hill, please contact me at zvanhouten@aacte.org or Deborah Koolbeck at dkoolbeck@aacte.org.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE