Supreme Court Educating Students in Person and Afar
By Csaba Sukosd | May 11, 2022
The Supreme Court of Ohio has a mission to educate students across Ohio about the justice system. In certain instances, the Supreme Court brings that initiative directly to young Ohioans.
The Court's most visible example of this is its Off-Site Court Program. Once or twice a year, the justices travel to an Ohio high school for a special session of the Court and hear oral arguments in front of high schoolers and other community members.
Teacher Carole Pontious and her students at Fayette Christian School were among the nearly 400 people to attend the latest Off-Site Court recently at Miami Trace High School. Pontious was equipped with a unique skillset for the occasion as both an educator and a lawyer.
"If you're going to be a good attorney, you need the ability to communicate and [teach] your craft to the general public," Pontious said.
Right after receiving her law degree in 1999, she started practicing law and teaching it as an adjunct professor specializing in business and real estate law. She only started teaching high school students in 2020 when Fayette Christian needed a social studies and civics teacher in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the lead up to the Court's 80th presentation of the Off-Site program, Pontious utilized class time to prepare her students. The Supreme Court's Civic Education team provides materials for Off-Site Court about the appellate process and the specifics of each oral argument, but the staff also has developed separate lesson plans that other teachers can incorporate year-round into government studies about Ohio's judicial system. Under Advisement is a program that leads students through an in-depth study of an already-decided Supreme Court case utilizing original materials.