Inner City High School Program Continues its Success

June 1, 2006
Nexus

LAWS was recently featured in the Spring/Summer 2006 edition of Nexus, the Faculty of Law’s alumni magazine:

This past spring, we reported the launch of Canada’s first law and justice-themed high school outreach program Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS) at two nearby high schools, Central Technical School and Harbord Collegiate Institute. The partnership between the U of T, Faculty of Law and the Toronto District School Board combines law-related studies with hands-on experiences for students who may face barriers to achieving their academic, career, or life goals. LAWS aims to help students develop the skills, knowledge and experience required to succeed in high school and achieve post-secondary education. At Central Tech, selected grade 10 students began their first year of a three-year program (grades 10 to 12) that integrates law and justice themes into their core classes. At Harbord Collegiate, nearly 250 grade 10 students are now experiencing a Civics/Careers class enhanced with LAWS workshops and activities.

Events throughout the school year have included a workshop facilitated by cast and producers of the CBC program, “This is Wonderland,” and a field trip to Old City Hall courthouse to observe how the criminal justice system works. In addition, law students have offered mentoring and academic support to the students through a weekly, after-school tutoring program at both schools. The response to the LAWS program has been overwhelmingly positive. “One of our students with a poor attendance record last year now comes to class every day because he is excited about what he is learning,” said one guidance counsellor. Teachers are also reporting a real “buzz” and excitement at the schools and the feeling that the experience will have a profoundly transformative impact on their students. Other successful events included a global citizenship conference held at the Faculty where law students facilitated workshops about human rights, a debate on Sharia law facilitated by faculty member Professor Anver Emon, and a workshop on environmental law and water quality. To build on their classroom experiences, this summer 25 LAWS high school students will participate in paid 3-week placements at law-related workplaces.

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