Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cornerstone Academy Students Pick Next President

While the country prepares to elect a new President on Nov. 6th, Cornerstone Academy will cast their votes a day early through a campus-based Electoral College learning experience. By Monday evening, we’ll know how tight the race was at this public charter middle school.

Mock elections are planned at many campuses around Spring Branch ISD next week. However, charter campus Cornerstone Academy has put a great effort into getting students involved and excited about an historic, too close to call national election.

Catherine Wood-Sponsel, an eighth-grade history teacher, has planned a mock election that will include the entire Cornerstone campus.

In order to make sure that the mock election functions like a real election, Mrs. Wood has created a local Electoral College. Dividing the student body into separate states, Mrs. Wood combined some homeroom classes to mirror “large states” and a variety of populations.

To mirror the real Electoral College, each “state” population divided by five plus two teachers will equal 1 electoral vote.

On Monday, Nov. 5th, students will be called up one “state” at a time and will cast their vote in a polling booth that is set up to look like the actual booths found at the polls. There will be a binder where each student verifies their voting information and signs their signature. Once they verify their information, each student will receive a ticket to go into the voting booth where they will make their decision.

“I remember when I was 18. I arrived at the voting poll and didn’t know what to do. The voting booths are intimidating as a first-time voter; I hope to help dissolve the fear and confusion our students will face when they go to cast real votes for the first time,” Mrs. Wood said.

After the students have cast their votes, they will receive an “I Voted!” sticker and head back to class.

Mrs. Wood plans on counting the votes and updating the results on a map of the school hanging in the front office in order to create a visual Electoral College voting map.

Although the mock election has yet to take place, Cornerstone has been engaging in many activities to prepare students to cast a vote that is true to their independent beliefs. The students have been learning about the election through various topics taught in their advisory classes during recent weeks.

First, students learned what a mock election is and the basics of the two major political parties – the Democrats and the Republicans. The students also read a Scholastic magazine news story titled “What’s at Stake” that describes in depth President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney as candidates.

Mrs. Wood created a reference sheet for every student, listing websites to visit for more information about both candidates and upcoming elections. Students were encouraged to view the Presidential Debates and in some classes students have been awarded prizes for watching them.

The students have also learned in detail how the Electoral College works and why it is a controversial method for determining election results. Students have been taught how the election affects them individually, and why it is important for them to get involved regardless of age. “I want the kids to have a better comprehension of the Electoral College and to understand why voting matters. My ultimate goal is for our students to realize how government – and who is in charge of government – can actually affect their lives,” Mrs. Wood said.

Voting Day Information

Polls in Harris County will be open for voting on Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Please visit to locate your particular precinct and voting location based on home address. On Nov. 6, several SBISD schools will also be precinct voting locations.

Before arriving at the polls, make sure you have the required forms of identification to confirm that you are a registered voter. During national elections, the polls are usually busy throughout the day so be sure that you reserve enough time to cast your ballot.

Please vote!
Communications Dept. student intern Kali Venable reported and wrote this story

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