Friday, July 13, 2018

A "Summer Bridge" to a Law-Themed High School

Street Law has kicked-off the third year of its successful Summer Bridge Program at the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice (CHSLSJ) in the Bronx, NY. The program helps rising ninth-graders prepare for their transition to a law-themed high school. Its design leverages Street Law's expertise in working with students and educators in law-themed high schools and developing programs in which law students teach young people in their community about law. 

Over the course of this three-week program, students will:

  • learn how the law impacts them
  • explore the Bill of Rights and other constitutional topics
  • learn about civil law (e.g., contracts, torts, etc.) and the differences between fact and opinion
  • begin to learn school norms
  • make connections with other students
  • develop public speaking skills through participation in legal simulations, including a mock trial

Past program participants report being more aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens, more interested in the process of civic engagement, and having developed a more positive impression of the field of law.

In addition, the Summer Bridge Program helps rising freshmen develop skills to prepare for college and career. A large portion of CHSLSJ students identify as people of color; many will be the first in their families to attend college. The program is held at the College of Mount St. Vincent, which gives students a chance to experience a college campus.

This year we've added an exciting new component to the program in which upper level students participate in a mock trial and a moot court.  

The program is taught by Street Law-trained law students from New York Law School (a model pioneered by Street Law in the 1970s). Teaching in the local community provides law students with a unique and powerful professional development experience, as attested to by this report.

If your law- or social justice-themed school may be interested in adopting this program, please contact Joy Dingle.