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Choice of Advocacy Tracks Caters to Day on the Hill Participants

AACTE’s Day on the Hill is always an exciting event for me. I love the energy of the group at orientation and the feeling of making a difference when I visit my elected officials and their staff during Washington Week. But anticipating these visits can also provoke some anxiety, which is why AACTE offers a full day of preparation before our Capitol Hill visits.

The orientation day has always prepared us well, but this year’s promises to be even better. The enhanced agenda offers a choice of two tracks with breakout sessions tailored to increase readiness based on your experience and comfort level with advocacy.

Track A will prepare those who are new to Day on the Hill or advocacy, or who want to polish up their skills. You’ll get your questions answered – maybe even alleviate those fears about not having a good meeting. You also will learn how to put personal politics aside and focus on professional advocacy, especially if meeting with elected officials who have a different party affiliation (remember, regardless of party, a primary responsibility of elected officials is to serve their constituents). What if a visit does not go the way you intended? No worries – this track will prepare you for that as well.

Track B will add a new dimension to the day for those with extensive experience in advocacy. You’ll explore how to apply your advocacy skills at the state level and learn to nurture your relationships with elected officials and their staff, building on your past visits at the local, state, and federal level. And to help you work smarter, not harder, there will be a session devoted to messaging for multiple audiences!

Both Track A and Track B are interactive, so come with your laptop and/or phone and be ready to learn, share, and grow. In addition to these breakout tracks, the day will begin and end with whole-group sessions to give us all a shared understanding of the issues and time to plan together as state delegations. So, for those who are apprehensive – rest assured you will have ample opportunity to interact with more seasoned and enthusiastic advocates!

This orientation takes place June 5, followed by Capitol Hill visits June 6. Keep in mind that the special rate for hotel rooms closes on May 11, as does online registration. During the registration process, you’ll be asked to commit to one of the tracks (and stick to it for all three breakout sessions), in order to help AACTE plan for space and staffing. Even if you miss the deadline, you can register on site, but you’ll get the most out of your time in Washington if you allow time to review the materials in advance and arrange for Hill visits.

To download the draft agenda with the session and track descriptions, visit the Washington Week web page. I look forward to seeing you in June!

Note: If you are attending the State Leaders Institute AND Day on the Hill, you get a discount on registration. If you are a Holmes student attending the Summer Policy Institute, you can attend Day on the Hill for free – but you must register for Day on the Hill to receive the briefing materials.

Trish Parrish is chair of the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy.

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Trish Parrish

Lindsey Wilson College