Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye is committed to a broad and far-reaching effort to improve civic awareness, learning, and engagement in California. Learn the latest here about this campaign and the many efforts and partnerships undertaken in the judicial branch to help revitalize democracy in California.
Civic Learning and Engagement Efforts
The Chief Justice, a statewide judicial branch leadership group, and all three levels of the California courts are involved.
Chief Justice and Statewide
• Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Award: This new award, in collaboration with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, recognizes high schools for implementing proven practices in civic education.
• Law Day: This annual event is commemorated during the first week in May. Courts, in partnership with local bar associations, host local events. (View photo gallery)
• Civic Learning Presentations: The Chief Justice and members of the leadership group frequently speak about the civic learning and present at conferences such as the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, and the California Council for the Social Studies conferences.
• Courts in the Classroom: The judicial branch partners with the Constitutional Rights Foundation to host this animated online resource about the courts for middle and high school students. The two organizations also co-sponsor the annual Bill of Rights Cartoon Contest with the California PTA.
• Online Civic Education resources: features online civic learning resources for teachers and students, including a free searchable collection of K-12 lesson plans created for teachers by teachers.
• Hundreds of California high school, college, and law school students attend the student outreach sessions of the California Supreme Court. The program includes instructional materials for teachers, online legal briefs, and a live statewide broadcast of the court’s oral arguments on important legal issues.
• The Appellate Court Experience (ACE) is a program designed to deepen high school students’ understanding of the judicial system. The program includes a classroom curriculum, followed by a visit to a Court of Appeal to observe oral arguments in the case previously studied in the classroom.
Watch this video about how one appellate court collaborated with the local school district to develop artwork depicting famous court cases for its new courthouse.
• Youth courts in California have been growing at a phenomenal rate over the last 15 years. In 1991, there were only two youth courts in California. Now there are now over 80 in California and over 1,400 nationwide.
• Courts host competitive mock trial competitions with their County Offices of Education.
• Students visit the courts, observe trials, and interact with judges and court staff.
Watch this video of New Technology High School's visit to the Superior Court of Sacramento County