In partnership with Bard High School Early College, a public school with campuses in Manhattan and Queens and operated in partnership with Bard College, we have worked to develop a curriculum for Bardís after school program for middle school students, the Bard Early College Academy. Aimed at teaching students about the role of courts in a civil society, the importance of the New York State and federal constitutions, the operation of the Rule of Law, and how the courts, judges, and lawyers contribute to the administration of justice, this tool provides educators with a set of resources that develops critical thinking and judgment about these important themes. In support of this curriculum, the Society plans to continue to work to bring judges and lawyers into the classroom and to bring students to our courthouses.

Developed through a pilot program taught at BHSEC's Manhattan campus in the Spring of 2012, the curriculum is made available here. Targeted at grades 7 and 8, it covers 10 themes and addresses several standards, specifically Standards 1 and 5 of the New York State Social Studies Standards and the English Language Arts Standards for History and Social Studies for grades 6-8 of the Common Core. Also included here is the reading anthology utilized in the program, which contains many challenging texts that may be useful at the high school level as well, and lesson plans for each of the themes.

We hope you find this to be an interesting way of presenting these ideas in the classroom. If you are an educator interested in implementing this program at your school, we encourage you to contact the Society with any questions.

The Role of Courts in a Democratic Society: Middle School (7th-8th Grade) Social Studies Unit
The Role of Courts in a Democratic Society: Reading Materials
Bard High School Early College

A video was produced by Bard during the showing of the teaching of this curriculum in Spring 2012 at their Manhattan campus.

The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York        140 Grand Street, Suite 701 White Plains, N.Y. 10601        914.824.5717