Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 7: Controversial Public Policy Issues  
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Workshop 7

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Lesson Plan: Context

JoEllen Ambrose, who has taught social studies for 23 years, currently teaches the ninth-grade U.S. Government course and the senior-level Law course at Champlin Park High School in Champlin, Minnesota. While at Champlin Park, she has been a department chair, worked on several curriculum committees, supervised student teachers, and developed a mock trial team. Previously, she taught political science and geography at a local junior high school and was co-director of the Minnesota Center for Community Legal Education at the Hamline University School of Law. JoEllen Ambrose holds a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in secondary social studies education from the College of Education at the University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota.

The school district that includes Champlin Park High School is one of the most rapidly growing areas in the nation with a population that has an average age of 29.9 years. It is primarily a working-class population with the lowest per capita income in the metropolitan area. The school enrolled 3,028 students in 2001-2002 and is among the largest high schools in the state; 16 percent of its students are people of color. Its four-period day schedule (also called a block or extended-day schedule) allows students to take the equivalent of 16 full courses each year. The school has won many state and national awards and has an extremely low student drop-out rate (roughly 3.5 percent).

The Law course covers both constitutional and criminal law and is taught daily over a nine-week period in 85-minute periods. The course text is Street Law: A Course in Practical Law, Sixth Edition, by Lee P. Arbetman and Edward L. O’Brien (West Educational Publishing, 1999).


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