Court with Class
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in cooperation with the State Bar of Wisconsin, invites high-school teachers from across the state to bring students to Madison for the award-winning Court with Class program. Since 1996, thousands of public, private and home-schooled students have benefited from this educational program, which runs from September to April each year.
Students learn about the Supreme Court by witnessing an oral argument live in the Supreme Court Hearing Room and meeting with a Supreme Court justice.
- Before visiting, teachers receive plain-language case summaries to help students understand the issues at stake in a particular case.
- During oral argument, students hear lawyers on each side make their strongest arguments while being questioned by justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
- After oral argument, students meet with a justice – not to discuss the case, but to discuss the role of a justice and how a case is decided.
Students come away from Court with Class with a better understanding of the Supreme Court, the judicial branch of government and the legal issues involved in a case before the state Supreme Court. They learn that judges must resolve disputes according to the law and the facts of a case in a fair, neutral, impartial and non-partisan manner.
To apply for Court with Class, download and complete a registration form from the State Bar's website (external links) and submit by email to Lexi Werle, Lexi.Werle@wicourts.gov. For more information, visit the State Bar's Court with Class website. Space is limited.
Teachers who are unable to bring students to Madison also should be aware that oral arguments of the Supreme Court are streamed live and available on archives of www.wiseye.org and this site (audio only). Additional teaching resources are available on the Wisconsin court system's website. Synopses of past cases can be found at: http://www.wicourts.gov/supreme/sc_oralargs.jsp.
This trip to court was supreme...
Quotes taken from program evaluations and newspaper clippings:
- "It is quite unusual to ask students to evaluate a field trip and have every student say it was 'awesome.' That is exactly what happened after our field trip to the Supreme Court last week." —Roncalli High School teacher
- "I was gratified that our students were not intimidated. For some people, just coming to this [court] room has a chilling effect." —Oregon High School teacher
- "The justices explained the details of court many of us were dying to know." —Eisenhower High School student
- "This was one of the best field trips I ever got involved in. Would I participate again? Definitely yes!" —Iowa-Grant High School teacher
- "Our class took a straw vote on how they thought the case should go and we will be awaiting the Supreme Court's decision with great anticipation. We hope this fine experience will continue to be available in the years to come." —Wisconsin Heights High School teacher