March 31, 2015
On April 29, 2015, Street Law, Inc. presented the 2015 Educator of the Year Award to Carlos Castillo, a social studies teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, CA. This award is generously sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education and given annually to a classroom teacher who educates students in an exceptional manner and uses Street Law materials.
Carlos is a National Board Certified teacher with 17 years of experience in the classroom. His interest in teaching was sparked by the encouragement and sacrifice of others that enabled him to pursue his education as a first generation college student.
Carlos co-leads Roosevelt High School’s Law & Public Service Careers Pathway Program. This program is a California Partnership Academy that uses a college-prep curriculum to prepare students from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles for higher education, leadership, and careers. The program's focus on project-based learning challenges students to develop public speaking skills and their ability to use logic and evidence to build clear and concise arguments.
Carlos gives his students valuable real-world legal experience by connecting his lessons to the community—either by bringing it into his classroom in the form of legal subject matter experts like judges, attorneys, and law enforcement officers or by taking his students out into the community to see the law at work first-hand. Creating these opportunities is at the foundation of Street Law’s curriculum, and Carlos has witnessed the powerful impact such opportunities have on his students’ attitudes about the law, education, and life.
For the past eight years, Carlos has coordinated Roosevelt’s Teen Court program—a peer-driven sentencing program for first-time offenders that enables young people to take responsibility, be held accountable, and make restitution for their crimes. Carlos expanded his commitment to juvenile justice and student discipline to work with Roosevelt’s Restorative Justice Task Force, which is part of a larger movement in the Los Angeles schools to empower students to resolve conflicts on their own.
Most recently, Carlos began co-leading a group of teachers to achieve Linked Learning certification for the school's Law & Public Service Careers Pathway Program. Linked Learning is a California high school improvement initiative that connects rigorous academics with real-world experiences. As part of these efforts, Carlos designed and taught elective course on foundations in law and criminal justice using Street Law’s high school law curriculum.
Carlos has always sought to improve his practice, too. He attended Street Law’s prestigious Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers in 2007, spending six days in Washington, DC, studying the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2014, he attended the ABA’s Federal Trials and Great Debates Summer Institute. Carlos and his students also participate in Street Law’s Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program as the partner classroom to the legal department at AIG. Each year, Carlos hosts AIG volunteers who teach his students about law and legal careers. He then takes the students to AIG’s offices, where they participate in legal workshops and explore legal careers with the professionals there.
Street Law's 2015 Educator of the Year Award is sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education.
(Reproduced with permission)
Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers
Topic: U.S. Supreme Court