#5 Select a teaching site(s)
Street Law programs are taught at a variety of sites in schools, community-based organizations, and corrections facilities. A strong relationship with the site is key to the success of your Street Law program!
Program coordinators must be prepared to sell the program to prospective teaching sites. One strategy for achieving this to emphasize how Street Law can help them achieve their educational goals. In the classroom, this means connecting with the course syllabus and/or any applicable state standards. In community and corrections sites, this means explaining how the addition of Street Law can help them fulfill their mission and meet the needs of their constituents.
It is helpful to familiarize yourself with Street Law's resources—many program coordinators have found that bringing a copy of the Street Law textbook or sharing other lesson plans/teaching activities gives the program credibility, which helps "sell" it to a potential teaching site.
Once you have a site on board, it's important to orient the on-site teachers/site coordinators to ensure that they have a clear understanding of their role in the program and realistic expectations of the law students (see Site Preparation).
Street Law programs are most commonly taught in high schools, where lessons may be infused into social studies classes such as American government, civics, or U.S. history, or as part of a business law class. In some places Street Law may be offered as a social studies elective. Some law schools have even worked in language arts classes and focused on the law through persuasive writing, analysis, and debate. The program works with students at all achievement levels.
While most Street Law programs take place in high schools because the Street Law textbook targets higher reading levels, middle schools are still viable sites for law school programs. Existing materials can be adapted for a middle school audience or law students can develop their own middle school-appropriate lesson plans and activities.
Community and Corrections Sites
Some law schools focus their Street Law programs on community sites that target underserved youths—LGBTQ youths, teenage parents, young people in the juvenile justice system, homeless youths, and teenagers aging out of foster care. Programs at these sites typically focus on educating young people about their rights and responsibilities under the law and developing life skills.
Sometimes community sites are best suited for modular Street Law classes. Poor attendance and/or high turnover makes it difficult for law students to build on prior lessons.
Students from these populations may be experiencing a moment of high crisis and may find it difficult to focus; however, they are also highly motivated to understand the law as it applies to their lives. It is especially important for law students to be oriented to the scope of their role as teacher—not to get drawn into providing legal advice.
Community-based clubs and community centers (e.g., Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs) often offer after-school classes and activities, which present a good opportunity for law students to teach Street Law lessons.
Adult Corrections Facilities
Law students teaching adults in corrections facilities typically focus lessons on family, housing, and employment law. When establishing this type of program, care should be taken so that the prison administration understands the nature of the class—it’s not a class to prepare jailhouse lawyers to sue the institution, but instead a class to teach practical legal information about law and help inmates with re-entry issues.