top of page

Civics in Action! - The Iowa Presidential Caucuses Workshop 2020











KidUnity Civics in Action! The Iowa Caucuses Program 2020


Headline:  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the 2020 Iowa Caucuses as student journalists. 


A bit more detail:  When the entire nation focuses on the Iowa Caucuses in February 2020, KidUnity’s student journalists will be at the center of this political process and spectacle. Our Civics in Action! Iowa Caucuses program will allow a select group of high school students to engage with the 2020 election process through the newsroom that we will create in Des Moines. Led by a team of seasoned educators, consultants, and journalists, our students will conduct interviews, observe the caucuses, and produce stories, blogs, photo essays, videos, and social media feeds about the election.


Civics in Action! will begin in November 2019 with three fun, team-building workshops and culminate with a trip to the Iowa Caucuses from February 1-February 4, 2020. The total cost of the program is $1,995 per student. This price includes all of the workshops, travel, lodging, meals and snacks. KidUnity is pleased to offer need-based financial assistance to eligible students.


Students will be part of a news team of 10th graders from Harvard-Westlake, Phillips Academy (Andover), Brentwood, Marlborough, Windward, Archer, Choate, and Loyola. (Trip size will be limited to 18 high-school students.  THE PROGRAM IS FULL). 


Who Should Apply to Join KidUnity’s Team of Student Reporters?

KidUnity’s Civics In Action! welcomes students who have a strong academic record and interest in civics and/or student journalism. 


What’s the application process?

  • THE PROGRAM IS FULL and we are not accepting new applications.


When does the fun begin?  What are the important dates?

KidUnity will hold three, mandatory pre-trip workshops, starting in November 2019. These will be a fun, interactive way for students to discuss the candidates and issues, and build the news team. Workshops will be held at a family home on the westside of LA, and a light dinner will be served.   Workshops are tentatively scheduled for:

  • Sunday, November 24th, 4:00 - 5:30 (location tbd)

  • Sunday, December 8th, 4:00 - 5:30 (location tbd)

  • Sunday, January 26th, 4:00 - 6:00 (location tbd)


KidUnity will travel to Iowa on February 1, 2020 and return February 4, 2020. (Students will be responsible for notifying their schools and teachers regarding their planned absence and completing any missed assignments).


 What will a typical day in Iowa look like?

KidUnity reporters will begin the day by digesting the morning’s news (along with a solid midwestern breakfast) - perhaps at a local diner. The students will establish an agenda for the day after checking in with our team of advisors from major media outlets and campaign staff, and review the candidates’ schedules for that day. The students will have the ability to operate in small groups as they chase the day’s top news stories. At the end of each day, the students will file their team’s stories and reports. Students will also be reporting on social media throughout the day. 


Our teams will visit campaign headquarters, meet campaign staff and hear about strategy and policy positions, meet candidates, meet local and national journalists (tv/print/bloggers), meet local civic leaders and representatives from the Iowa Republican and Democratic parties, participate in some door-to-door/face-to-face campaigning, observe the caucuses in action, and be present at campaign headquarters on caucus night to watch the caucus results live! 


What are the Travel Details?

We depart LAX for Des Moines on February 1, 2020 on United Airlines #489 (depart 9:25am)

We return Des Moines to LAX on February 4, 2020 on United Airlines #5798 (depart 11:25am).

We will be based in Des Moines at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel and will travel to events by van and/or taxi.


Chaperones will include KidUnity Directors Dr. Peter Sheehy (also a Marlborough history teacher for fall 2019), David Snow, and Marc Adelman. We will be accompanied by Jim Burns (the director of Harvard-Westlake’s journalism program), Dr. Dan Lynch (Marlborough history teacher), Dr. Danielle McGuire (civil rights historian), Dr. Michael Socolow (media historian), and Sammi Handler (our teaching intern who is a Harvard-Westlake graduate and a journalism major at Northwestern). 


Peter, David, Marc, Danielle, and Sammi all attended the 2016 Iowa Caucuses with KidUnity’s Civics in Action! 



* All session, lesson plans and locations are subject to change based on partner organization schedules.  Please consult the website in advance of each session for an up-to-date schedule!

bottom of page