TEACHER PROFILE: Joe Cornett, David Douglas High School (Portland)
SUBJECTS: Grades 10-12, Global Studies and Psychology
EXPERIENCE: This is my second year as a Social Studies teacher at David Douglas High school.
As student teacher at David Douglas High School Joe started a Mock Trial program. He was familiar with Mock Trial and the Civics Learning Project, and wanted to bring some experience based civic learning to the classroom. In his second year, he coached the David Douglas Mock Trial team all the way to state!
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
This incredible program has offered my students invaluable opportunities for personal growth and learning. The administrators at DDHS and my professional colleagues also recognize the value of this program and have been hugely supportive of our work. The students who participate in Mock Trial feel valued and honored by the school and that appreciation has accelerated the growth of our program. This last season we qualified for the state tournament in the Multnomah County regionals. I’m so proud of what my students have learned and accomplished in Mock Trial, and I’m grateful to the Civics Learning Project for hosting this awesome program. I have also been fortunate to attend the Civics Learning Project yearly Oregon Civics Conference as a Civic Scholar and to meet state representatives and teachers from across Oregon.
The people at the Civics Learning Project are completely supportive of teachers and legal education. They have been available and happy to help make the Mock Trial experience at my High School the best that it can be with advice and feedback, access to resources, and attorney coaching for our team. When I started, I didn’t know any attorneys who could help with the program, but the Civics Learning Project connected us with several amazing attorney coaches who continue to volunteer their time and expertise. The Civics Learning Project’s classroom support materials, like their weekly current event, are a valuable resource that I use in discussions in my Global Studies classes and that I share with my colleagues in the Social Studies department.
My favorite thing about Mock Trial is what it teaches students about themselves. In addition to all they learn about law, students must persevere, cooperate and be courageous. The students who participate in this activity find these qualities in themselves. They grow in confidence and learn to believe in themselves and each other. This activity is transformative, and it’s a great deal of fun to coach.