Cleveland Magazine is featuring Padua’s MyTrack Law program in its Private Schools issue in September 2022.
MyTrack Law is Legal Learning
It’s a crime scene — a hypothetical one, anyway. The faux residence, constructed in a classroom, is being examined by students, who are collecting evidence such as a laptop loaded with crimes against children and interviewing “witnesses” on the scene. Members of the Internet Crimes Against Children team, a real life taskforce that investigates crimes across the country, are present to guide the fictional case and discuss students’ findings. These findings are presented to the Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor.
“We set up a classroom as the ‘house’ and students had to search it, interview suspects, identify the evidence, and develop all of this into a report they delivered to two actual prosecutors who review these types of cases,” says Lora Winger, who teaches MyTrack Law courses at Padua Franciscan High School. “I’m very proud to say they were able to get their indictment and prove their case.”
An elective course, MyTrack Law is designed to let students interested in legal careers, law enforcement or social work to dig deeper into the reality of those careers. The program includes Law I and II, Legal Ethics and competitions like Mock Trial and Moot Court, field trips to the state courthouse and quarterly speakers.
Similar MyTrack programs offered at Padua focus on medicine, engineering, art, business and computer sciences. These experiences let kids explore subjects before committing to college courses, Winger says.
But even if they don’t pursue careers in these fields, the projects students pursue in the courses, such as the crime scene simulation, offer experience in interviewing, shadowing professionals, public speaking and critical thinking.
“Even if they do not go into law, they will know the law as citizens,” she says. “And that is equally valuable.”