Demonstrated Need for Kids’ Court

This fall, Kids’ Court is going into its fourth year at Rose Park.  Rose Park Elementary, located in Salt Lake’s west side, is comprised of 83% minority students.  Hispanic students account for 71% of the entire school population.[1] At Rose Park, 99% of students are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program, underscoring the fact that the school population is undeserved within the city and state. [2] In addition, Rose Park feeds into Northwest Middle School which feeds into West High School.  In 2008, only 78% of Hispanics graduated from West High compared to 89% Caucasians.[3] In 2009, 6% of Hispanics dropped out of West High compared to only 3% of Caucasians.[4] Even more staggering is the number of Hispanic students who pursue higher education.  For example, as of Fall Semester 2009 at the University of Utah, only 5% of enrolled students were Hispanic while 76% were Caucasian.

The data indicates that very few Hispanics and other minorities pursue higher education.  Most of the students in Kids Court are Hispanic.  One of Kids Court’s most important roles is to inspire these children at a young age to pursue higher education.  Law student teachers and community members become role models who show them that no matter what obstacle, higher education is a very real possibility.  In addition, Kids Court teaches skills needed to pursue higher education.

Rose Park Kids’ Court runs on Wednesday afternoons from 2:15 to 4:00, if you would like to volunteer your time, or come and check it out please sign up using the “Calendar”.

Thank you to the extremely dedicated teachers, administration and staff who have made Rose Park Kids’ Court such a success; and a very special thank you to all of the Rose Park students who have provided us with energy, excitement and motivation to ensure that Kids’ Court becomes a sustainable and expandable program.


[1] Salt Lake City School District Ethnicity 2009.xls Ethnicity 10/22/2009 available at http://www.slc.k12.ut.us/insights/PDFs/09-10Demographics.pdf.

[2] National Center for Education Statistics, 2007-2008 cited in http://www.greatschools.org/cgi-bin/ut/other/605#students

[3] Utah State Office of Education, Data, Assessment & Accountability 2008 Graduation Rate.

[4] Utah State Office of Education, Data, Assessment & Accountability 2009 Single-Year Dropout Rate.

 

This Fall, Kids’ Court maintained our partnership with with Holy Cross Ministries, a non-profit community service organization run by sisters of the Order of the Holy Cross.  Holy Cross Ministries runs several after school and summer programs for the low-income populations in Park City and Wendover.  According to their website, Holy Cross Ministries have devoted their time and resources to these programs because “Developing talents and learning to use time constructively are important to the ten million children at risk of school failure due to social, emotional and health issues.[1] Half of all teachers cite isolation during after school hours as a primary reason for children’s academic struggles.  Low-income children are three times more likely than other children to miss out on afterschool activities because they did not have transportation or there were no activities available.[2]”  Although Park City is a bit of hike from Kids’ Court headquarters at the SJQ College of Law, we could not resist teaming up with an organization like Holy Cross Ministries last year, and the partnership was too good to lose!

This year, we have a small group of 4th and 5th grade students but each kid brings something incredible to our program.  These kids are so bright and engaged and the small number has given the law student teachers the opportunity to create a close bond with all of the kids.  I look forward to bringing you stories and pictures from their lessons as we move throughout the year.

Park City Kids’ Court runs on Thursday afternoons from 3:45 to 5:00, if you would like to volunteer your time, or come and check it out please email me and we’ll get you involved!

Thank you to Holy Cross Ministries for working so hard to serve our community, and laying such a beautiful foundation for Park City Kids’ Court to build upon.


[1]National Institute on Out-of-School Time 2003.

[2] Annie E. Casey, Kids Count Data Book 2000.