Media Releases

LAWS program advances at-risk students to the ‘head of the class’

May 31, 2010

TORONTO, ON — A men­tor­ship pro­gram match­ing Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to law stu­dents with mar­gin­al­ized teens in down­town Toron­to high schools cel­e­brates five years of suc­cess­ful­ly improv­ing the school atten­dance, grades, engage­ment and future out­look of its par­tic­i­pants.

The Law in Action With­in Schools is a part­ner­ship with the Fac­ul­ty of Law and the Toron­to Dis­trict School Board, specif­i­cal­ly with Cen­tral Tech­ni­cal School, Har­bord Col­le­giate Insti­tute, and since 2008, Monarch Park Col­le­giate. The pro­gram uses law-themed edu­ca­tion and real-world expe­ri­ences to pro­vide stu­dents with the skills, knowl­edge and con­fi­dence to suc­ceed in school, and mean­ing­ful­ly con­sid­er post-sec­ondary edu­ca­tion.

LAWS was eval­u­at­ed annu­al­ly at CTS and HCI by the Toron­to Dis­trict School Board since its launch in fall 2005, and the out­stand­ing results are in:
• Impact on atten­dance: Since Year 1, CTS LAWS stu­dents have missed approx­i­mate­ly 30 per cent few­er days, or 8–9 few­er days of school than oth­er stu­dents at CTS in sim­i­lar grades
• Impact on grades: Stu­dents were increas­ing­ly more suc­cess­ful in their LAWS cours­es in each suc­ces­sive year, earn­ing high­er pro­por­tions of their LAWS cred­its, and obtain­ing high­er-than-aver­age grades than in the pre­vi­ous year. For each of the cours­es adapt­ed for LAWS in Grades 10–12, the aver­age marks of LAWS stu­dents exceed­ed those of oth­er stu­dents in par­al­lel cours­es.
• Impact on post-sec­ondary edu­ca­tion out­look: The pro­por­tion of LAWS stu­dents that enrolled in post-sec­ondary insti­tu­tions in Ontario was 74 per cent, exceed­ing the total of the CTS stu­dent body at 49 per cent, and the total of the TDSB at 58 per cent.
• Impact on atti­tudes: The major­i­ty of LAWS stu­dents rat­ed their expe­ri­ences as good or excel­lent — 87 per cent at CTS and 86 per cent at HCI. Stu­dents indi­cat­ed LAWS had a great impact on their hope for future suc­cess, their ana­lyt­i­cal skills, abil­i­ty for team­work, pub­lic speak­ing and pre­sen­ta­tion skills.
Vol­un­teer law stu­dents and law pro­fes­sors, and mem­bers of the jus­tice sec­tor deliv­er inter­ac­tive class­room work­shops on legal issues. Oth­er activ­i­ties include tutor­ing pro­grams, vis­its to law-relat­ed work­places and post-sec­ondary insti­tu­tions, job shad­ow­ing in cour­t­hous­es, law firm men­tor­ing pro­grams, paid sum­mer jobs in the jus­tice sec­tor, and net­work­ing with a vari­ety of law-relat­ed pro­fes­sion­als at career fairs .
“UofT Fac­ul­ty of Law has a proud tra­di­tion of work­ing close­ly with our local com­mu­ni­ty to cre­ate pos­i­tive social change,” says Alex­is Arch­bold, LAWS’ first pro­gram direc­tor. “The LAWS pro­gram is a won­der­ful exam­ple of the impact of col­lab­o­rat­ing with high schools to encour­age stu­dents from tra­di­tion­al­ly mar­gin­al­ized groups to con­sid­er careers in law and to pur­sue uni­ver­si­ty edu­ca­tion.”
LAWS is pleased to present its third grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mo­ny for CTS stu­dents on June 4, 2010 at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Fac­ul­ty of Law.
“This year’s grad­u­at­ing LAWS class is made up of tal­ent­ed and engaged stu­dents from very diverse back­grounds, many of whom are going on to uni­ver­si­ty and col­lege as the first mem­bers of their fam­i­lies to pur­sue post- sec­ondary edu­ca­tion” says Sarah Pole, the cur­rent LAWS direc­tor.
To find out more about the pro­gram, or to book inter­views with law and high school stu­dents, con­tact Sarah Pole, or 416–978-5841.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Lucian­na Cic­co­ciop­po