Meet Senator Becca Rausch: Champion for Civics Education in the Commonwealth

Senator Becca Rausch: 2024 Partner for Justice & Champion for Civic Education in the Commonwealth

When Massachusetts state legislators were on the path to cutting the Commonwealth’s investment in civics education, Senator Becca Rausch arrived at the floor of the State Senate chambers to not only stop the cuts, but also to increase support by 25%.

The vote passed 39-0, with both Democrats and Republicans unanimously lining up behind her amendment.

Through her passion for civic engagement and her persistence, Senator Rausch has emerged as a leader on Beacon Hill to bring robust civic education to every student in Massachusetts.

For her tireless and dedicated work at the State House, we are proud to honor Senator Rausch with our Discovering Justice 2024 Partner for Justice Award.

We hope you’ll join us at Discovering Justice’s Annual Gala 2024: Partners for Justice on June 26th as we celebrate Senator Rausch and the partners that make our impactful work possible.

Discovering Justice is proud to be a part of the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition (MCLC), a coalition of more than 50 civic education groups in Massachusetts who work with school districts and teachers to help bring civics into the classroom. MCLC was formed in 2017 and led the campaign to pass the groundbreaking Civics Education Law that prioritized civic education for Massachusetts students.

Since the passage of the law, Discovering Justice and MCLC have worked with Senator Rausch and many other Massachusetts legislators to increase the Commonwealth’s investment in civic education by 67%.

During the Senate debate last month, Senator Rausch spoke passionately from the Senate floor:

“Civic education is both profoundly important and a necessary equalizer. It empowers young people from all backgrounds and all communities to make their voices heard as they advocate for the issues and values that matter most to them. Civics teaches the power of the grassroots and delivers the experience of influencing law and policy even before our students are old enough to vote, so when the time comes for them to start casting their ballots, they know how much it matters to exercise that right and engage in our democracy.”

Senator Rausch also appreciates the role Discovering Justice plays in the education of Massachusetts citizens:

“From Mock Trials, to Courthouse Tours, to [Civic Learning] Weeks, Discovering Justice brings students of all ages into the rooms where policy is made, democracy lives, and equity advances. It is truly transformational for a student to enter these spaces; the experience inspires students in the moment and empowers them to envision themselves there in the future. Discovering Justice demystifies the world of government, opening it up to one and all.”

Thanks and congratulations to Senator Becca Rausch for her work and dedication to civic education.

First elected in an iconic 2018 victory, Massachusetts State Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham) represents the Norfolk, Worcester and Middlesex District. She is the first woman and first Jewish person to serve several of the district’s communities in the Senate. Re-elected in 2020 and 2022, Senator Rausch is currently serving her third term and is the only mother of children under 10 years old in the Massachusetts Senate. The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor and a published author on reproductive health and justice and body size and the law, Senator Rausch is a lifelong advocate for social justice, fairness, and equity for all.

Discovering Justice is grateful for Senator Rausch’s partnership as our champion for civics education in the Massachusetts legislature. We’re looking forward to presenting Senator Rausch’s award, as well as hearing from all our 2024 Partner for Awardees on the importance of doing work they believe in, at our Annual Gala on June 26th.

Read More

Meet Tracy Coutts & Christy Nelson: Classroom Partners & Ardent Early Childhood Student Advocates

Meet Tracy Coutts & Christy Nelson: Classroom Partners & Ardent Early Childhood Student Advocates

Tracy Coutts (left) and Christy Nelson (right)
"Christy and Tracy are early childhood champions and advocates for the rights of young children. They are deeply thoughtful about curriculum planning with a focus on making content accessible to all students. BPS is lucky to have such engaged and reflective educators teaching our youngest learners."
Marina Boni
Program Developer of Early Childhood, Boston Public Schools

Tracy Coutts and Christy Nelson are the embodiment of partnership. As co-leads of their kindergarten classroom for 15 years at Gardner Pilot Academy, a Boston Public School, they have always worked together to support their young students. 

Says Christy, “We’re always asking ourselves, ‘What are the barriers of to learning for our students, and what can we do to bring down those barriers?’”

In Tracy and Christy, Discovering Justice has been fortunate to find partners for our Children Discovering Justice (CDJ) curriculum. CDJ is a Massachusetts standards-based K-5 civics curriculum that engages 20,000 students every year in topics such as community, rules, leadership, and equity while answering the essential question, “What is justice, and how do I use my voice to advocate for it?”

Working with Discovering Justice Chief Program Officer Laura Brenner and K-5 Curriculum Developer Victoria Suri, Tracy and Christy have been crucial partners in refining lessons, piloting new modules, and assuring the CDJ curriculum is accessible for all early-childhood and English Language Learners, who represent 70% of their kindergarten students.

You can celebrate Tracy and Christy, and all of our 2024 Partners for Justice Awardees, at Discovering Justice’s Annual Gala 2024: Partners for Justice on June 26th.

Christy and Tracy recognize that CDJ meets an underserved need for civics programming in early-childhood classrooms like theirs, with lessons designed to help the Commonwealth’s youngest learners engage with the concepts of justice and fairness and explore school and community issues. 

And their kindergartners are hungry for it! According to Gardner Pilot Academy colleague Gaby Haywood, “Through CDJ, Christy and Tracy provide their students with a strong foundation of the understanding of what is justice and injustice in the world, and their students learn to use the language from the lessons in everyday conversations.”

Gaby adds, “These rich conversations are thanks to the hard work and dedication from Christy and Tracy!”


Tracy and Christy’s partnership with each other and with Discovering Justice means that our CDJ curriculum helps a growing number of young students jumpstart their justice journey as they begin to explore and engage with civic education and action. As Tracy puts it, “Partnership makes us successful.”

Discovering Justice is grateful for Tracy and Christy’s partnership over the years. We’re looking forward to hearing from Tracy and Christy on the importance of making civic education accessible to our youngest learners at our Annual Gala on June 26th.

Read More

Director of Programs and Partnerships

Director of Programs and Partnerships

June 2024


About Discovering Justice

For over two decades, Discovering Justice has been bringing students and communities together to examine the workings of the justice system, explore the ideals of justice, and prepare them to engage as active citizens. We believe in the power of the next generation to sustain our democracy. We value the belief that the justice system can and should work for everyone.

The Programs and the Role

Discovering Justice’s Director of Programs and Partnership will play a critical leadership role in working with staff to ensure development and implementation of high quality, culturally responsive, timely and innovative civic education programs for K-12 students and community members across Massachusetts. These programs include our courthouse programs (K-12 field trips, college+adult tours, and events), in-school K-5 curriculum, teacher professional development, and after-school mock trial and appeal program for middle school students.

The organization serves more than 30,000 students across 40 cities/towns in Massachusetts. Each year through our programs we bring 3,000 students and adults into the Moakley courthouse, maintain a network of over 300 legal professional volunteers, engage 600 middle schoolers in our afterschool program, provide professional development to 300 teachers, and create curriculum for 20,000 students. You’ll not just be directing this work; you’ll be ensuring the programs are in alignment with our core values, centered around students and community needs, and prioritizing that every step we take resonates with our mission and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As the Director of Programs and Partnerships, you’ll be the driving force behind building the capacity of our programs and staff by leveraging research and best practices to ensure our work and impact is responsive to current needs and aligned with the programmatic vision, building and maintaining our volunteer network, and supporting program implementation on the ground level. The Director of Programs and Partnerships will help develop and operationalize the strategic vision and goals across programs as well as supervise, collaborate with, and support the program staff. As Discovering Justice is a small team, you will have the opportunity to work directly with our programs – leading field trips and tours, recruiting judges, and hosting volunteer events. As a strong relationship builder, you will lead the identification, cultivation, and stewardship of Discovering Justice’s program partners including schools, district leaders, teachers, judges, and lawyers (legal volunteers), and non profit partners. 


Program Strategic Planning and Development

  • Collaborate with executive leadership to develop and maintain vision and strategy for programs including goal setting, program development, growth and evaluation.
  • Build and support meaningful connections across programs through alignment and fostering a community of practice among team members.
  • Ensure all programs promote DEI principles and align to culturally responsive and trauma informed practices/standards, reflecting a commitment to cultural competence and equity in operations, training, and program content.
  • Contribute to development and piloting of new curriculums, structures, and program components, which may include conducting observations, feedback analysis, and refining materials based on results.
  • Coordinate data collection for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) including:
    • Create instruments for gathering data, conducting focus groups or observations, analyzing data, and action planning.
    • Collect and examine qualitative and quantitative data to monitor effectiveness and impact and report findings to stakeholders
    • Lead staff in continuous improvement of program through conducting strategic cycles of planning, monitoring, evaluating (PME)
  • Keep up to date on trends in research, theory, and practice and coordinate with program staff to ensure approach and point of view are integrated across all aspects of program: evaluation, content, delivery, and staff development

Staff Supervision & Development

  • Supervise program managers
  • Support program managers to ensure effective development and implementation of programs (including mock trials/appeal, field trips, tours, special events, and curriculum) and ensure effective relationships with school and legal partners and volunteers and management of fellows
  • Help lead program team meetings and staff onboarding, training, and development 

Direct Program Support

  • Actively participate in programs by leading K-12 field trips, college and adult tours, events, volunteer orientations, and supporting teacher professional development. 
  • Support program event planning and implementation, such as end of semester culminating mock trials in courthouses across the state.

Identifying & Stewarding Partnerships 

  • Oversee and support recruitment, stewardship, and training of program volunteers (legal mentors, judges, docents).
  • Recruit and build partnerships with schools and districts (admin and teachers) for in school curriculum and afterschool programs, work with the Chief Program Officer on cultivating and stewarding district relationships.
  • Work with program managers and our partners to secure funding for programs including grants and earned revenue. 
  • Build and maintain strong partnerships with courthouse staff. 
  • Develop and maintain external partnerships and collaborations with leaders and organizations in the civic education field, including participating in Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition and DESE
  • Oversee requests for Discovering Justice in-school and afterschool services. 

Organizational Leadership

  • Be a member of the Leadership Team.
  • Present Discovering Justice at conferences/events as needed.
  • Work with the team to support fundraising, grant writing, and our annual gala.
  • Work with executive leadership on program budgets.
Day-to-Day Experience

Your morning might start off by meeting with a group of attorneys who are interested in participating in our Mock Trial/Appeal Program and earning a commitment from them to volunteer next semester as legal mentors. Later you might support the Courthouse Programs Manager in welcoming a group of middle schoolers into the Moakley Courthouse by leading students on a tour and meeting with a federal judge. In the afternoon you will lead a Program Team Meeting on the core pillars of culturally responsive education / programming as you prepare the team to engage in a review of program logic models and SMART goals. You end the day working with a program manager to revise an evaluation tool to better collect program impact data to analyze the impact of our programs.

Team & Structure
    • Your Team: You will work with the Executive Director, Chief Program Officer, Director of Corporate and Foundations Relations and as a part of the Leadership Team.
    • Your Reports: You will supervise the Discovering Justice program managers – the Mock Trial and Mock Appeal Program Manager and the Courthouse Programs Manager. You may also supervise Fellows or interns.
  • Your Supervisor: You will be supervised by Laura Brenner, the Chief Program Officer.
Equity Statement

Discovering Justice values a diverse workforce and is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment where we strive to embed equity and inclusion into everything we do.

  • Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every single qualification. Even if you do not meet every qualification, we would love to still hear from you and encourage you to apply.
  • We strongly encourage applications from members of marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color; women; and the LGBTQIA+ and disabled communities.
  • Discovering Justice prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type and is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.
  • Passion for civic education, interest in research and practice with an enthusiastic vision for and commitment to civic education that meets the needs of a diverse population of learners and educators.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the civic education landscape and the key frameworks that support civic learning, including Massachusetts History & Social Science Frameworks, EAD, C3
  • Experience building strong, collaborative relationships with relevant external stakeholders and systems (ex: working directly in partnership with schools, teachers, school administrators, district leaders, legal community), as well as collaboratively with internal staff and board
  • Experience working directly in education / with students, specifically in civics or social studies education is ideal
  • 4+ years of leadership and supervisory experience
  • Data driven with experience developing and implementing tools to evaluate, measure and track program outcomes and impact
  • A demonstrated commitment to social justice, culturally responsive programming, and DEI
  • Exceptional written and oral communication, confident public speaker and presenter
  • Proficiency with google suite is a must. Have database and spreadsheet proficiency.
  • Flexibility, inclusiveness, and strong collaborative skills to work with and motivate staff, board members and other volunteers 
  • Time management and flexibility with job duties and can exhibit follow through on tasks and goals. 
  • Creative, self‐starter and goal driven individual who can also work well with teams and a small staff. 
  • Demonstrated project management skills with the ability to independently manage complex, multifaceted projects and meet deadlines. 

Our office is situated within the iconic John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston’s Seaport District. The location allows us to work closely with federal judges and other members of the Courthouse community to make the Courthouse a vibrant civic space. We embrace a hybrid work approach, combining the advantages of face-to-face interactions with the flexibility of remote work.

For this role, in-state travel to meet with foundation staff and corporate sponsors is required. You will typically work at the Moakley Courthouse two days a week and travel on average one day a week for program visits and partner stewarding. You will also help out the Mock Trial and Mock Appeal teams during their culminating events at the end of December and in May. You must have a valid driver’s license, and having a vehicle is preferred, but not necessary.

  • Salary $80 -100,000
  • Professional Development: $500 annually after a 90-day introductory period.
  • Health Benefits: 75% coverage on medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums; an FSA plan; and 75% reimbursement on medical insurance deductibles through the Health Reimbursement Arrangement.
  • Life Insurance: Provided.
  • Disability Insurance: Short and long-term coverage.
  • Retirement Plan: 5% salary contribution to a TIAA-CREF 403(b) account.
  • Leave: 15 vacation days (accruing at 1.25 days/month), 2 personal days, and 10 sick days (accruing at 0.83 days/month).
  • Holidays: Paid leave for major holidays, including an extended break between Christmas and New Year’s.
  • Social Mission:
    • Supporting the next generation with the skills, knowledge, and desire to build and sustain an equitable democracy
    • Engaging with a community of judges, attorneys, and educators, and non profit partners committed to civics education.
    • Strengthening your program management, recruitment, communications, event planning, and volunteer management skills.
Read More

Kayla Nordman

Kayla Nordman believes strongly in expanding access to comprehensive civic education to provide the next generation with the resources they need to uphold and expand upon the values of American democracy and create a more equitable future. Before joining Discovering Justice, she worked as a Legislative Intern at the Massachusetts State House and as a Program Manager for the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education. Kayla graduated from Suffolk University with a BA in International Relations.