Civics 603! supplements middle to high-school (6-12th grade) students’ education on the Bill of Rights, the three branches of government, and civil discourse. Following are options from which to choose:
For grades 6 through 12, teachers may choose between two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases involving important issues that touch on the student's daily lives:
Teachers of 11th and 12th grade students may also choose:
Generally, students travel to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and meet with court officials, learn about one of the cases and, using worksheets provided to them and with the assistance of law clerks, develop mock appellate arguments that they then present to lawyers acting as judges.The in-court program is approximately 120 minutes. At the conclusion of the program, students generally meet with, and ask questions of, one of the judges of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. About a week prior to the courtroom component, a lawyer travels to the school to give the students a one-hour primer on the case and the Bill of Rights, and prepare them for the upcoming argument.
If the school is unable to travel to the Supreme Court, Civics 603! is generally able to have the program go to the school.
This program will also be available virtually should schools continue to be closed in 2020 due to the Coronavirus.
The program is free to participating schools and support for transportation costs is available to qualifying schools.
MASTERPIECE CAKE VS. COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION
Teachers of upper-level advanced students (for example, 12th grade students in an advanced government course) may also choose to work on the 2018 First Amendment case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which raised the question of whether a bakeshop could decline to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. This exercise fully engages students who are excited to discuss the many complex issues that the case raises.
Civics 603! is now offering a practical law class for upper-level high school students. Through the use of a fictitious criminal case, retired NH Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert J. Lynn and former federal prosecutor Dina Michael Chaitowitz will take your students through multiple stages of the criminal process: pretrial release, suppression, trial, and sentencing. The program is designed for three 50-minute classes but may be modified depending on the needs of your school. While the program was presented via Zoom in the spring of 2020, it can be presented live should regular school programming resume in the fall of 2020.
Civics603! administrator Dina Michael Chaitowitz worked with University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce Law School student Michael Fazi to create materials for the Civics603! Masterpiece Cakeshop problem available to upper-level high school students, and together tested the problem, successfully, with students at Nashua’s Academy for Science and Design. In July 2020, Ms. Chaitowitz and Mr. Fazi chatted about the experience on the University’s podcast, Inside Law Admissions.
Civics 603! is administered by attorney Dina Michael Chaitowitz. Attorney Chaitowitz was a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts for approximately 30 years. In addition to working on federal cases in trial court, she was the Chief of the Appeals Unit from 1994 to 2018, and handled hundreds of appellate matters before the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The cases involved, among other crimes, charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, racketeering, and terrorism. Prior to her employment with the United States Attorney's Office, Attorney Chaitowitz worked as an Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting state crimes in state court, and as a defense attorney. She created Civics 603! because of her deep respect for the justice system and civic engagement.
Please contact us with any questions you may have about any of our programs or would like additional information.