Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Busy and Productive Winter for Teacher Professional Development

In a one-week period across late January and early February, Street Law staff members Cathy Ruffing and Jen Wheeler delivered no less than three teacher professional development workshops across the country!

Teaching for Civic Engagement Seminars—Phoenix, Arizona

Street Law held two Teaching for Civic Engagement seminars in Phoenix on January 30–31, one for high school teachers and one for middle school teachers. Teachers learned about student-centered teaching strategies such as case studies, mini-moot courts, deliberations, and simulations. The sessions covered topics that included immigration, civic participation and democratic principles, and the constitutional amendment process.

Arizona's new history and social science anchor standards played a key role in each activity's debrief, as teachers made connections between the new standards and newly-learned strategies and content.

These seminars were held in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Education.

Street Law Case Study Methods: AP Government and Politics Required Cases — Chicago, Illinois

On Feb. 1, thirteen teachers from Chicago Public Schools participated in a one-day workshop on Street Law case study methods.

The workshop highlighted required cases for the newly-redesigned AP Government and Politics (APGOPO) course and trained teachers in how to scaffold skills needed for the SCOTUS case comparison free response question (FRQ) structure on the redesigned exam.

Teachers were guided through exploration of three strategies for studying cases: classifying arguments, applying precedents, and mini-moot courts.

This workshop was done in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools.

Federal Courts and Constitutional Controversies — St. Louis, Missouri

On Feb. 4-5, teachers from Missouri and Illinois gathered at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis for a seminar on the federal courts and constitutional controversies.

Teachers used the deliberation method to discuss juvenile justice ("Should violent juvenile offenders be punished as adults?") and case study methods to learn about Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights. They also participated in a moot court of the so-called “Peace Cross” case (Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission v. American Humanist Association) in the 8th Circuit en banc courtroom. 

More than a dozen guest speakers and experts participated as resource people, including: Judge Rodney W. Sippel, the Chief U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri; Judge Lisa Page, the Chief Judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals; Steven E. Holtshouser, a trial and appellate lawyer at Husch Blackwell; Cathy DiTraglia, an attorney at the Federal Public Defender's office; and Sonnette T. Magnus, an attorney at Lewis Rice.

The visiting experts shared insights on subjects such as judicial independence, rights of the accused, and the role of the federal courts. They also coached the moot court advocates and justices, guiding teachers in preparation of their roles. 

This seminar was made possible by the Missouri Bar, the Judicial Learning Center, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Federal Practice Memorial Trust, and the U.S. District Court. 

Next up!

  • Early March — Teaching for Civic Engagement, San Diego, CA
  • Late March
    • Street Law Case Study Methods: AP Government and Politics Required Cases for AP Government teachers, Fairfax County, VA
    • Deliberation training for teachers in Maryland's Juvenile Services Education System

Learn more about Street Law’s Teacher Professional Development Programs.


Image Caption: Teachers participate in a moot court of the “Peace Cross” case in an 8th Circuit courtroom, St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Russ Sackreiter.