Today’s assignment: 📝Learn about NCSC’s essay contest!



NCSC provides an educational opportunity for teachers and students

Amid the pandemic, teachers across the country had to quickly adapt and perform their jobs virtually – and to find assignments that complement the new learning environment.

NCSC’s 2021 Civics Education Essay Contest is one such assignment. It promotes a thought-provoking virtual discussion and allows students to complete the assignment individually. The contest is open to 3rd - 12th grade students.

This year’s question: “What does the rule of law mean to you?” NCSC’s annual contest is conducted in conjunction with Law Day, celebrated on May 1 each year to recognize the role that law plays in society.

Teachers are encouraged to assign the contest as homework or for extra credit. Students can submit their essays here. Winners representing the three categories of elementary, middle, and high school will receive a total of $3,000 in cash prizes.

The contest has grown significantly over the past eight years. “In our first year, we had fewer than 200 entries. Last year we had nearly 1,800,” said Deirdre Roesch, NCSC’s senior social media coordinator and contest manager. “I truly believe our growth is based on word-of-mouth. Courts across the country also help to spread the word about the contest to students in their state. The reward money doesn’t hurt either.”

The contest closes at 11:59 pm EST on February 26, 2021. A committee of NCSC staff members conducts the first-round of eliminations, and the winners are selected by the president of the Conference of Chief Justices and a past recipient of NCSC’s Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Excellence in Civics education.

“My colleagues and I look forward to reading (and judging) the essays every year. We enjoy seeing the different perspectives students bring to the table,” Roesch said. “It’s very clear when someone puts thought into their answer and if they did their homework. Good luck!”

Grants Matrix shows which funds can advance civil justice in the courts

With support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, American University's Justice in Government Project's Grants Matrix features a list of high-level summaries of federal block, formula, open-end reimbursement funds (AKA pass-through funds) administered by state (and sometimes local) agency decision makers that can include court recipients. These state-administered federal funds can support a range of court-based services, including supported self-help (e.g., court navigators, online legal information, and plain language fillable forms), as well as court partnerships with civil legal aid organizations to develop technology tools, and to provide brief counsel and advice, limited, and/or full representation. Most of the featured funds can also be used for technology that improve remote access to the courts and the delivery of civil legal assistance or legal information. For more information about the Grants Matrix and preparing to seek federal pass-through funds, watch the Tiny Chat about this topic here.