The St. Albans School of Public Service (SPS) is a unique program that brings 35 rising high school seniors for four weeks each summer from all over the United States to the heart of Washington, D.C., where they undertake an in-depth exploration of government, politics, and public service.
If you are accepted to the St. Albans School of Public Service (SPS), you'll use the case study method (the teaching method used in graduate programs in law, business, and public policy) to discuss and dissect public policy issues ranging from the debate over climate change, to the role of the media in modern political campaigns, to the experience of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division in trying to construct a working post-war government in city of Mosul, Iraq.
You'll take part in sophisticated simulations. Picture yourself as a first-term member of Congress -- you'll select committee assignments, vote on controversial legislation, and raise campaign funds . . . but will you be re-elected? Or step into the courtroom, as you and your classmates act as lawyers in a mock Supreme Court argument of a case from the "real" Supreme Court's docket -- what's the proper scope of the Second Amendment's right to bear arms? What are the limits of First Amendment Free Speech rights for high school students? What rights to Guantanamo detainees have under the Geneva Convention? Your own classmates will serve as the Justices and rule on your arguments.
You'll hone your debating and speaking skills in practice in every case study and in organized debates throughout the session, including the annual Congressional Debate that caps off the session. Need a little extra ammunition in that policy argument? You'll explore the intersection of economics and public policy in an Economics mini-course throughout the SPS session.
The learning continues outside the classroom. A typical week might include a visit to the United States Supreme Court for a meeting with a Supreme Court Justice; a question-and-answer session at the Capitol with a sitting Member of Congress; an exclusive tour of the Library of Congress; a trip to the U.S. Naval Academy for a tour and a classroom case study with a Naval Academy Professor; and an afternoon at a community health clinic in Washington D.C. talking to doctors and staff about their service in the field of public health.