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Preparing Rising 9th Graders for Life at a Law-themed School

Street Law, Inc.

Over 40 years of educating about law, democracy, and human rights

Preparing Rising 9th Graders for Life at a Law-themed School

A mock senate hearing

Street Law recently kicked off the second year of its Summer Bridge Program for rising 9th graders at the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice in the Bronx, NY. Building on the success of last year’s pilot program, Street Law helped provide young people with a foundational understanding of law and justice to help ensure a successful high school career at their law-themed school.

Street Law designed a customized curriculum that blends engaging lessons about law with social justice perspectives. The learning activities gave students a taste of three general areas of law—civil, criminal, and constitutional—and introduced them to the school’s academic environment and expectations. Students built skills necessary for academic achievement and civic engagement, all within the context of an experiential law and social justice curriculum.

A review of student surveys from the 2016 pilot program revealed that after the program, most of the new high school students:

  • could recognize how the law impacts their lives every day
  • believed it was important to practice legal skills
  • enjoyed the opportunity to meet their new peers before the start of the school year

Street Law aimed to replicate these successful outcomes this year, while also demonstrating improvements in the high school students’ abilities to speak publically and distinguish facts from opinions.

For three weeks in July, students received 36 hours of classroom instruction over the course of 12 class sessions. Sessions were taught by volunteer law students from the New York metropolitan area who were selected based on their interest in community service and in working with young people. Street Law staff trained the instructors to prepare them to use the curricular materials and student-centered, interactive teaching methods. This program provided the law students and attorneys with a useful professional development opportunity: practicing the important skill of explaining legal concepts in plain language while serving their local community directly.

To learn more about the Summer Bridge Program and/or how Street Law can support your law-themed school, please contact Joy Dingle.

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Comments

Malik Leigh

I am an attorney and was formally a Law Teacher in West Palm Beach and our firm is looking to create a Socual Justice focused program that is community based. This is a VERY much needed program that we would like to see in many places across the country.

Lee Esbin
Lee Esbin said

Unfortunately, the terms "Law" and "Social Justice" have, in today's world, become mutually exclusive terms. Those who fight for "Social Justice" too often disregard the law, and are looking for the law to apply unequally, especially in terms of violation of immigration law and 14th amendment issues. "Social Justice Warriors," as they like to call themselves, believe in violating the first and 14th amendments of every person with whom they disagree. We really should focus on following the law, and using legislatures and congress, where necessary, to make whatever changes to statutes are needed, rather than lawyers eliciting illegal and anti-constitutional rulings.

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