Central High School Partnership

History of the Central High School Partnership

In fall 2001, the Brandeis School of Law entered into a partnership with Central High School. Through the Central Law and Government Magnet Program (established in 1986 by Jefferson County Public Schools), students at Central High School have been provided a variety of enrichment activities – attending moot court competitions and speaker events, law school visits, and participating in a writing competition. These activities primarily “spark the interest” of students in becoming lawyers.
Since fall 2006, when discussions began about enhancing the program, the Law School has been building on the existing partnership in consultation with Joe Gutmann (coordinator of the Law Magnet at Central). The goal of the enhanced activities is to sustain the interest and to build skills for success in college and law school. An overarching goal is that all students will become leaders and active citizens in their community, whether they decide to attend law school or not.


Learn more by downloading the Central High School Partnership brochure



The following are the primary curricular components of the partnership programs:

Street Law

The Street Law curriculum was developed at Georgetown University Law Center in the 1970s and teaches legal issues and critical thinking skills. The curriculum has been adopted at many schools nationwide. Through the program, approximately twelve to fifteen law students teach the curriculum to Central High Law Magnet sophomores. Law students receive public service hours for doing so.

Writing Skills & Mentorship Program

The Central High School Writing Mentor Program began in August 2008. The program provides a series of activities including writing skills and vocabulary development. About ten law students and several members of the legal community under the direction of Mary Jo Gleason (former director of the law school’s public service program) attend classes approximately twice a month. There have also been speakers on topics such as professionalism and job interviews. Law students receive public service credit through this program.

Substantive American Government Coursework

Each year faculty members present sessions on topics such as immigration, search and seizure, and housing discrimination. Law students are often involved in planning sessions. The classes are presented to the juniors in conjunction with their American Government textbook assignments.

Marshall-Brennan Civil Liberties Curriculum

American University Law School has developed a civil liberties curriculum used at several law schools throughout the country. Through this program four to five third year law students teach a civil liberties curriculum to Central High seniors. Law students receive academic credit for their participation, and are supervised by Professor Sam Marcosson.

Training Session for Law Students

Every August since 2007, a half day training session developed by faculty members from the UofL College of Education and Human Resources has been presented to about 25 to 40 law students and several law faculty and staff members. The training provides information on classroom management, lesson planning, assessment, teaching methodology and student privacy.

Harlan Scholars Program

The Harlan Scholars Program is an undergraduate program at the University of Louisville for students interested in law as a career. About twelve to fifteen high school seniors are selected from a group of Kentucky high school applicants. Upon admission, the students participate in an array of service, skills, and social activities throughout their undergraduate education. Upon successful completion of the program and achievement of an established grade point average and LSAT score, they are guaranteed admission to the Brandeis School of Law. Before 2009, no Central Law Magnet student had even applied for the program. In 2009, the Law Magnet teacher and the law school admissions office began encouraging Central students to apply. A Central student was selected in 2009, one in 2010, and two in 2011.

Related Activities

The Law and Government Magnet students are involved in several other related pipeline activities, although the Law School partnership does not have a direct role in them. These programs enhance the direct partnership activities by providing additional opportunities for related skills development and networking.
Introduction to Law 101 is a UofL college course offered to law magnet seniors in spring semester, taught by Joe Gutmann, for college credit on campus, funded by the UofL Signature Partnership Initiative (SPI).
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens—beginning in 2007, Dr. Tom Crawford, UofL Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, introduced the law magnet students to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Students receive instruction about critical thinking skills and a common sense approach to decision making and effective leadership skills. Initial funding for this program was provided by PNC Bank and the University of Louisville Signature Partnership.
Summer Law Institute is a one week residential skills training program for about 30 students from area high schools, which usually includes about 8-10 from Central, in partnership through the law school, Bellarmine University, and the Louisville Bar Association. The law school provides three scholarships to Central students and some of the funding to support the program.
LBA Summer Internship Program matches Central law magnet students at various law offices. They are paid by legal employers. Students develop workplace skills such as attendance, attire, conduct at work. The Brandeis School of Law funds an intern at Legal Aid.

How Can I Participate?

Law Student Involvement
Law students donate a total of 700 to 1500 hours of service time in teaching and mentoring programs each year. The program usually accepts 20 to 30 law students for participation each year.
Faculty and Staff Involvement
About 20 faculty and staff members of the law school, in the UofL College of Education and from the community, provided at least 800 hours of service for approximately 90 Central students each year. Additional time and other contributions are provided by at least 20 additional faculty and staff members in various ways.
Community Involvement
Community members support the program in many ways. They provide numerous hours as part of the Writing Skills program, as reviewers of essays in the McAnulty Essay competition, as panelists, at fundraising events, and through financial contributions.

To learn how to get involved, please contact Laura Rothstein.