Development of Lexington Citizens' Academy

Primary Objective

Develop and offer a Lexington Citizens' Academy in the fall of 2009 to encourage civic involvement from previously unengaged citizens and provide transparency for Lexington's Town government.


  • Two-hour sessions one evening a week for 9 weeks in the fall. Information-based sessions focusing on one or two specific departments, including schools.
  • General outline:
    • Describe programs and services (ideally with hands-on component)
    • Introduce staff
    • Talk about interactions with committees and other departments
    • Answering participants' questions.
  • Enrollment of up to 25 participants; welcome everyone but give preference to those with less than 5 years of experience in Town Meetings or on a committee.
  • Broad outreach and publicity including print and online media, sandwich board at the Farmers' Market, notification to neighborhood and community groups, and sign-up through Lexington Community Education.
  • Ongoing evaluation of sessions by participants, with a longer evaluation at the end of the Academy.
  • Graduation ceremony to award shirts and take photos, following a televised Selectmen's meeting where participants are recognized and thanked


  • Participants enjoyed the Academy and provided great feedback. Several said they would recommend it to their friends and relatives.
  • Initial perceptions were changed as participants learned more about Town government and interacted with department staff.
  • Staff were impressed with the curiosity and enthusiasm of the participants.


  • Hold a Lexington Citizens' Academy annually in the fall; consider also in spring if fall session becomes over-enrolled. The Citizens' Academy has been held every fall since 2009, and recruitment begins in the summer.
  • Add Academy graduates to the 2020 alumni list.