Discovering Justice Educational Programs
At Discovering Justice we believe civics is an essential component of every student’s education, starting as early as kindergarten. Our in-school, after-school, and in-courthouse programs provide opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of the justice system and prepare for civic engagement by practicing key civic skills, such as perspective taking, empathy, public speaking and advocacy. By introducing K-12 students to the inner workings of the justice system we offer the chance to critically examine the concept of justice, both in our local communities and in our broader institutions and democracy. Additionally, Discovering Justice’s public programs invite both students and adults to experience the pursuit of justice through events and tours of the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse, home to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
We connect Massachusetts students with the legal community to explore the judicial system, learn case analysis and development, and practice the civic skills needed to persuasively convey their views and engage in our democracy as active citizens. Guided by legal partners and volunteer attorneys in our Mock Trial and Mock Appeal Programs, students engage in legal analysis, grapple with real constitutional issues, and practice developing legal arguments.
Discovering Justice in-school programs provide the curriculum, resources, and guides necessary for teachers to expand civic education opportunities into their classrooms. With curricula designed to support and enhance instruction, our programs focus on Massachusetts civic practice standards and provide students with the foundational knowledge, skills, dispositions, and language needed to be engaged, critical, compassionate, and active leaders of our democracy. Students explore topics of fairness, community, equity, and other themes of democracy and justice, while answering the essential question: what is justice and how do I use my voice to advocate for it?
Through field trips, students explore the workings of the courthouse as well as the themes and ideals of justice and democracy through viewing, analyzing, and discussing key on-site features. Public courthouse tours provide the greater community with a unique look at the history and structure of this award-winning landmark, central to the judicial landscape of Boston. Finally, as part of Discovering Justice’s ongoing Courthouse Events Series, legal professionals and educators alike gather on a regular basis to discuss questions of democracy, justice, and civic education.