The national crisis in civics education has been widely recognized, as has the link between active citizen engagement and an understanding of the Constitution and the structure of government. High school students desperately need, but sometimes have limited access to, rich and engaging civics education. At the same time, law schools have recognized that students will learn the law better, and will be more engaged and prepared as lawyers, if they integrate experiential opportunities into their years in law school. This outreach program addresses both of these needs, offering two distinct opportunities for interactive constitutional education to high school students while giving law students the chance to put their classroom knowledge to work as they go into different communities and teach the Constitution.
This project, Constitutional Literacy in Colorado High Schools, includes two primary components that work together to offer a combination of depth and breadth. In the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, CU Boulder students develop semester-long teaching relationships in local high schools. The deeper relationship developed by the sustained interaction requires geographic limitations on this piece of the project. The Colorado Law Constitution Day Project by contrast offers a one-time interaction but sends law students into high schools all over Colorado.
The first component, the Colorado Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, is a partnership between CU Law School and area high schools that brings law students into high school classrooms once a week throughout the fall semester to teach constitutional law. In addition to their weekly lessons, law students coach the high students to participate in a moot court competition. Students who wish to participate in the Colorado round of the competition (in 2017 we hosted more than 100 students) come to CU Law School for a day and argue an issue of constitutional law to lawyers and judges. The top students from that day of argument are chosen to come to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Marshall-Brennan competition. In 2017, one Colorado student made it into the national semi-finals.
In 2017-18, the program is partnering with three schools in the Mapleton School District (Academy, North Valley, Mapleton Early College), Pomona High School, and Rangeview High School (Aurora). We are exploring additional partnerships for the year.
The second component of this project is the state-wide Colorado Law Constitution Day Project, through which law students and lawyers travel around the state for a one-day interactive presentation to high school students on a constitutional topic. Colorado Law Constitution Day reaches into a diverse population in the metro area, and also sends students around the state. In past years, law students visited high schools in Buena Vista, Glenwood Springs, Colorado Springs, Grand County, Wray, Greeley, Eagle, Avon, and Ft. Collins as well as all over the Denver-Boulder metro area.
This is a private program by request only, or for a specific audience or group.
For more information, please visit the program website.