Saturday, November 7, 2009

Working down the pipeline: P-20 educational efforts

One of the fun tasks that I have at Texas Tech is being the team leader for our partnership with the Law and Justice Magnet Program at Estacado High School, a predominately minority high school here in Lubbock.  The high school students are 9th through 12th graders who are interested in law enforcement or law careers.  Their LJMP instructor is ex-law enforcement and a wonderful teacher named Lucio Trevino.

We began the partnership because of our commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession.  In addition, we hope to keep students in school, encourage a college-going culture, and teach good citizenship. 

Typically, we have included the following activities and resources in the partnership mix: 

  • The Seniors attend mini-classes at the law school on criminal law in the fall and civil law in the spring.  Several Legal Practice professors have generously allowed us to modify their 1L memo packets for the high school students.  Law librarians teach library and research skills during each series while Mr. Trevino and I focus on the fact pattern and cases with the students.
  • The sophomores and juniors are invited to a short non-residential summer camp that focuses on criminal law.  We again use a modified 1L memo packet as the class materials.  Students participate in presentation of arguments at the end of the camp.
  • Law students help coach the LJMP mock trial team.  The team begins practice in October and competes in February in a regional competition.   
  • Library materials are donated to the high school after they are withdrawn from the collections.  The main law library provides advance copies of the reporters.  My OASP library provides study aid materials.
  • Invitations are extended to LJMP for various events at the law school.  For example, the students are VIP guests for the Sandra Day O'Connor Distinguished Lecture Series.  They get a group photograph with the visiting U.S. Supreme Court Justice and a certificate.

This year we began an exciting program in which 7 of our upper-division law students are Dean's Community Teaching Fellows (DCTFs) helping Mr. Trevino in the classroom.  The program has been a wonderful success. 

The students love having law students in the classroom.  The law students get to share their legal knowledge and present lessons.  The mock trial team is basking in the extra attention.  Mr. Trevino is delighted to have the extra help in the classroom.  Some of the DCTFs are ex-public school teachers who missed the classroom and are excited to be back. 

The DCTFs have the option of signing up for Independent Study Credit.  As part of that course credit, I have been reading their required journals.  Their enthusiasm is obvious in their entries.  As the first DCTFs, their comments are vital to the growth of the program. 

Although pipeline efforts add to an ASPer's already at-capacity load, the rewards for working with P-12 students are worth the extra time.  I encourage any ASP professionals who have a heart for diversity and  public education to get involved.  There is a national law school group called "Wingspread" that deals with P-20 issues.  If you want more information, just contact me.  (Amy Jarmon)  

    

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