by Jan Goehring
The America's Legislators Back to School Program has reached elementary students in Ashland, Massachusetts in a unique way. Senator Karen Spilka provided a civics reading list, which included NCSL's Your Ideas Count! Back to School Program booklets, to a PTO-sponsored summer reading program for grades K - 8. Those students who completed the reading were invited to visit the statehouse for a tour and reception hosted by the senator. This gave the students and parents a chance to see participatory democracy in action and for many, it was their first visit to the capitol. Fifty-two students participated. "The earlier we reach out to students, the more engaged they will be over a lifetime," says Spilka.