PRESS RELEASE: Chicago Students Take Law Into Their Own Hands

CONTACT:  Stacey Nee, Citizen Schools

        Cell: 617-309-7133

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Chicago Middle School Students Take Law Into Their Own Hands

 Expanded School Day Pairs Students with Prominent Chicago Lawyers to Increase Student Achievement

December 6, 2012 – Chicago, IL – On Tuesday, December 11th, about twenty middle school students in the Citizen Schools expanded learning time program at Cesar Chavez School in Chicago will go to trial, serving as “lawyers” in a hypothetical attempted murder case. As part of a longer school day partnership between Citizen Schools and Cesar Chavez School, since September, the students have participated in a law apprenticeship learning about the legal profession in weekly working sessions with lawyers from Jacob Meister & Associates.

The apprenticeship will culminate in a mock trial where students will argue a case in front of Associate Judge Mary Trew. The jury will be made up of civic and community members, including lawyers and court personnel.

Citizen Schools is a nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low income children across the country. Two Chicago Public Schools, Cesar Chavez School and Walsh School, launched expanded learning time partnerships with Citizen Schools this fall, lengthening the school day for students. As part of a longer school day, the organization mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers nationwide to help improve student achievement by teaching skill-building apprenticeships.

“Middle school is a critical time to engage students and Citizen Schools’ school-based partnerships within Chicago Public Schools allow schools to add additional learning opportunities, like apprenticeships where kids work on hands-on projects that they can get excited about,” said Bryce Bowman, Executive Director of Citizen Schools Illinois. “The apprenticeship model that our volunteers make possible helps our students make the vital connection between school and potential careers. We are thrilled that our students have had the opportunity to work with professionals from a wide variety of companies and firms, including our tremendous partners at the law firm of Jacob Meister & Associates.”

As part of the Chicago law apprenticeship organized by Citizen Schools, three Jacob Meister & Associates attorneys, including former Senate candidate Jacob Meister, volunteered to work with the middle school students to help them understand the judicial system and what it means to litigate.  They’ve shared insight into the career of law, how a courtroom work, what it takes to become a lawyer, and how the real practice of law differs from what is portrayed on television.

“Jacob Meister & Associates attorneys are very pleased to be making a difference in our community by working directly with Chicago students,” said Jacob Meister, founding Partner at Jacob Meister & Associates. “Our partnership with Citizen Schools has brought just as much to our employees as it has to the students.”

**********************************************************************************************

You are invited: Citizen Schools Mock Trial

Where: Richard Daley Center (Courthouse), 50 West Washington Street, Chicago

When: Tuesday, December 11th (4pm – 6:30pm)

**********************************************************************************************

 About Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low income children across the country. Citizen Schools uniquely mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers to help improve student achievement by teaching skill-building apprenticeships. The organization’s programs blend these real-world learning projects with rigorous academic and leadership development activities, preparing students in the middle grades for success in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life.

Founded in Boston in 1995, Citizen Schools has grown into a national network of thirty-one partner schools serving over 5,300 students in low-income communities across eight states.  The organization partners with two schools in Chicago, serving almost 400 students and engaging approximately 75 volunteers.

###