American Civics Center

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I arrange a program with American Civics Center (ACC)?

American Civics Center (ACC) handles all program logistics, student curriculum and participant supervision.  ACC supports teachers in holding an information planning meeting for parents/students by supplying informational handouts and enrollment forms.  Teachers collect enrollment paperwork from parents/ students. Click the ‘Request a Planning Kit’ button at the top of the page for more information on how to prepare a civic education program for your school.  If you’d prefer to speak with one of our staff, call us at 888-360-8817.

What is a teacher’s role on an ACC program?

ACC relies on teachers to educate their community about the components of ACC educational travel programs (as outlined in the materials ACC provides).  Ultimately, it is the lead teacher who decides which students may benefit from an ACC program by permitting their enrollment in a program.  In order to ensure the group has a safe, fun and educational experience while on program, the lead teacher is also responsible for ensuring each program participant’s conduct complies with our code of conduct. On our high school programs, ACC Instructors are responsible for managing day-to-day student behavior with teachers in a supporting role.  On our middle school program, teachers and ACC instructors co-manage day-to-day student behavior.  Teachers and the chaperones assisting the teacher should discuss roles and responsibilities within the group prior to the start of program and communicate these to the ACC staff.

What are the dining options on program?

While on program, meals are provided at the program hotel, in area restaurants and at museum cafeterias around the city. Students and adults will generally eat together but there are sometimes opportunities for adults to make their own selections.

Vegetarian options are available at every meal and ACC staff strives to accommodate special dietary allergies and restrictions at meals. Program participants with strict dietary restrictions are advised to bring appropriate snack options to supplement meals. Please note any allergies on the participant information and enrollment form so program staff can help you to plan in advance.

What if a student gets sick on program?

ACC takes health care seriously and always provides an on-call nurse.  This nurse also has office hours at the program hotel two days per week.  Students provide their medical background information and medical insurance carrier on their program enrollment form at the time of enrollment.  If a student becomes ill while on program, their course of care will be decided by a medical professional. If necessary, students may be taken to a local urgent care or emergency room and are always accompanied by their school teacher, an ACC staff member or nurse. ACC staff keeps parents informed if students are taken off program for medical reasons.

What can I expect from program accommodations and hotels?

ACC program accommodations are located in neighborhoods of Arlington and Alexandria, just south of the Potomac River across from Washington D.C. Our program hotels are carefully chosen and are always safe and clean.

Students are lodged 3 or 4 to a room by gender.  Each room has two full sized (double or queen) beds so student share beds.  Students may make one roommate request on their enrollment form.

Adults accompanying students on program typically share a room with one other adult/chaperone of the same gender. and can make one specific roommate request on their enrollment form.

How do I reach the group or my child in case of emergency?

In the program prep materials and flight information, a program helpline is provided as well as the phone number for the program hotel. The program helpline will connect you with program staff that can help facilitate communication with your child or the group quickly in case of emergency.

What ACC staff is present on program with my student group?

ACC’s trained instructors deliver information through study visits at sites around Washington D.C. and assist in getting the group around the city. ACC’s Program Manager is also on program with the students to help facilitate much of the program. ACC has an on-call nursing staff for any student illness that may occur during the program week and stations staffers in hotel hallways during evenings and overnights to conduct room curfew check before bed time and provide assistance to students during overnight hours.

What teaching strategies do ACC Instructors use?

Instructors are trained to use empirically validated teaching principles (Strategic Instruction Model Content Enhancement Routines, Universal Design for Learning, differentiated instruction, etc.) when working with students. These teaching strategies follow an inquiry model of instruction and contain specific steps that ensure quality instruction. On most programs, instructors work with 20 to 25 students each which permits instructors to make more connections between what students have learned in their school’s classroom and what students are experiencing on program.

How many participants does a teacher need to travel free?

Generally, if 10 students participate, one teacher (or other responsible adult) will travel at no cost. If a teacher is organizing a group for a first time or has a high number of students from financially disadvantaged families, the American Civics Center may provide additional assistance.   If you have full paying adults traveling as part of your group, they may count toward your 10-participant minimum (conditions apply).

Do you provide grants?

ACC has a limited amount of funds that it distributes via its Tuition Assistance Plan (TAP).  To qualify, students must come from economically disadvantaged families. 

How do I make payments? Once a student is enrolled, a financial account is established in the participant’s name under the six-digit number printed at top of the enrollment form.  Attached to the enrollment form are payment coupons with due dates and amounts you can use to mail in check and credit card payments via the address printed on top of the enrollment form. Make checks payable to AMERICAN CIVICS CENTER.  You can also phone in Visa, Mastercard and Discover card payments to 888-360-8817 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Monday thru Friday.