Criminal Justice Course Description

Introduction to Criminal Justice introduces students to the U.S. legal system, including constitutional, criminal, and civil law. Students learn about legal concepts, historical foundations, and principles and procedures of law, experiencing law and justice as dynamic forces, shaped by people and events over time. Students understand the role of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, learning why and how laws are created, enforced, interpreted, and changed. They look at the relationship between law, public policy, and advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels of government. They learn the foundations of criminal law with a focus on crimes against the person and the foundations of civil law with a focus on strict product liability and negligence. Finally, students explore civil and human rights issues and the role of advocacy and civics in reforming our legal system. At the center of each unit in the course is a Key Assignment that involves substantial reading, critical
thinking, collaborating, writing, listening, and speaking.  Students will participate in simulations, mock trials, multimedia presentations, Socratic seminars*, and debates.  In addition, throughout the year, students explore legal, public services, and criminal justice career pathways through interaction with
industry professionals.  

Forensic Science Course Description

Introduction to Forensic Science is a class that serves as an introduction to the analysis of crime scenes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence.  This course is designed to give students both theory and hands-on experience with the skills and knowledge required of a forensic science/criminalist. This multidisciplinary approach highlights topics in DNA, genetics, anatomy, chemistry, physics, entomology, botany, and investigative techniques with the supplemental subject matter through case studies, earth science, mathematics, medicine, technology, and sociology. In addition, the ethical, legal, and social concerns surrounding the forensic scientist will be discussed. Sample evidence for analysis will include but is not limited to fingerprints, DNA, projectiles, hair, fibers, blood splatter patterns, ballistics, chromatography, entomology, soil samples, and impression evidence. Students develop skills such as comparative analysis, critical thinking, deductive reasoning, interviewing, observation, organization, problem-solving, research, communication, evidence collection, lab safety, technical writing, and technical reading. Project-based learning through laboratory investigations and class lectures, along with case studies involving experiments will serve as the main method of content delivery.