Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon joined Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully in presenting graduates of the ROP (Regional Occupational Program) Youth Academy pilot class with official certificates of completion.
The District Attorney's Office, working in partnership with the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), launched the Youth Academy program as a pilot summer school for students across the SCUSD.
"The Youth Academy is a progressive approach to teaching young people about the justice system while instilling in them a strong sense of community and commitment," said Superintendent Gordon. "The classes taken by these students will no doubt have an impact, especially on those young people who very much need positive influences and role models in their lives."
Derived from the District Attorney's Citizens Academy for adult community members, the Youth Academy provides high school students with an overview of the criminal justice system. Students study the roles, responsibilities, and challenges of law enforcement, district attorney, and judiciary, as well as address diversity and race issues within the framework of the criminal justice system.
"The Youth Academy is an example of proactive efforts being made to engage students in a positive relationship with educators, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system," said District Attorney Scully. "Our goal is to inform schools, parents, students, and our community about this important education program aimed at preventing criminal activity among at-risk students."
The course, held at McClatchy High School, was taught by Teresa Coatlalopeuh, a Luther Burbank High School educator and member of the District Attorney's Multi-Cultural Council. In response to tremendous positive student feedback, an expanded version of the Youth Academy curriculum is being offered in social justice classes at Burbank High.
There are approximately 120 students enrolled in the Youth Academy ranging from freshmen to senior grade levels.
Youth Academy students learn from a number of in-class speakers representing various public safety departments and agencies as well from experiencing real-life lessons through three scheduled field trips to sites including the District Attorney's Office, the Sacramento Superior Courthouse, and the Sacramento Police Department Communication Center and training facility.
For more information about the Youth Academy, call (916) 874-5834.