Kinnick educator accepted to Supreme Court Summer Institute
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Kinnick High School teacher James Davis is going to spend part of his summer in court. But it’s a good thing.
Davis was one of 60 U.S. teachers accepted to the Supreme Court Summer Institute, a law and civic education program in Washington, D.C.
The teachers will become students again, learning from law professors, reporters who cover the court and the justices themselves.
“The most exciting day is going to be when we attend one of the court sessions,” Davis said. “After that, that evening one of the justices will come to the seminar and do a question-and-answer on what we just saw.”
The weeklong seminar is intended to help participants — young educators from across the country — increase their knowledge about the U.S. government, judicial proceedings and methods of passing those lessons on to their students.
The institute is co-sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society and Street Law Inc., a program on law, democracy and human rights founded 20 years ago at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Davis attended a similar seminar last year, which led him to apply for this summer’s institute. Like the other teachers selected, he will pay all expenses including airfare and hotels; the institute will foot none of the costs.
“It’s certainly not a boondoggle,” he said. “The people that are going to be there are going to be very serious about the program.”
Davis says he hopes to bring back new lessons and concepts for the Street Law class he teaches Kinnick juniors and seniors. He also is excited about witnessing the court in action at that particular time: Traditionally, the justices issue their most controversial or important decisions toward the end of the session, which finishes in the summer.
Kinnick officials say they aren’t surprised Davis was invited to the institute. “In the classroom, he is a teacher who relates well to his students, and he engages them in their learning,” said Tari Wright, Kinnick’s principal. “Mr. Davis is the kind of teacher who makes learning relevant and who makes learning come alive.”
Davis has long ties to Yokosuka and Kinnick High School. His father, a career Navy officer, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma City, which preceded the USS Blue Ridge as 7th Fleet flagship.
The younger Davis attended both Kinnick High School and The Sullivans Elementary at Yokosuka; he returned two years ago to start his teaching career in DODDS.