Advanced Constitutional Law
Advanced constitutional law is a semester-long course that prepares a team to compete in the annual We The People competition. The We The People competition is not like most model programs in that it is not a simulation of the legislative process or a criminal trial. It is instead a guiding discussion/debate between a team of students and a community’s political elite.
The team is divided into six sub-teams that focus on some element of political philosophy, constitutional law, citizenship, American history, or international politics. After becoming well versed in these areas they will compete against other schools.
The competitions involve these sub-teams making a prepared statement and answering impromptu questions from a panel of judges. These judges are usually attorneys, college professors, judges, elected officials, lobbyists and educators. Because of the caliber of these judge panels, the We The People competitions are becoming increasingly prestigious for it offers students a conversation with the opinion leaders of the country.
Lake Oswego High School has run a We The People team for four years now and have both placed third in state the previous three years. Our main competition is Lincoln and Grant. Both schools do after-school practices, weekend retreats and have teams of attorneys as coaches. We do not. You can expect after-school practices and a weekend retreat as we get closer to the competition, but most work will be during the school day.
Expectations: Students need to understand that they will not be able to meet with Mr. Koepping every day. Students will need to be self-directed and motivated to answer all but the most challenging questions. When they do meet with Mr. Koepping or any other advisor (Thielen-Sager, Wolfe-Rocca, Peri, Paxson, Trompke, Ashton) they should have a clear idea what they need and listen carefully to the input they receive. They should also expect a daily discussion of current events and activities designed to foster poise and self confidence.
In addition, the AP Government curriculum has been designed, in part, to help meet the needs of the We The People program. As such, students are expected to pay close attention to that courses’ current-events discussions and Mr. Koepping’s lectures.
The district competition is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, January 13, here at Lake Oswego High School. Your attendance is mandatory.
The state competition is scheduled for Friday, January 22, In Salem. Your attendance is mandatory.
The assessments for this course
Summer assignment (10 points) Each student was given a worksheet to be done over the summer. That assignment will help the students prepare for the rigorous research and analysis needed to compete in the We The People competition. The assignment will be judged based on the depth of the research and the accuracy of the findings. (Due on the first day of class)
Individual prepared statements (10 points each) Each student will write a three-minute prepared statement to each of the three state-level questions. The assignment will be judged by the consistent use of theme, accuracy, clarity, and whether the student has answered all of the elements of the question presented. (Due on Oct 2, Nov 4, Dec 4)
Group prepared statements (5 points each) Each group will synthesize their members prepared statements into a single prepared statement that they will use for the district and state competitions. This will be a group grade. The assignment will be judged by the consistent use of theme, accuracy, clarity, and whether the students have answered all of the elements of the question presented. (Due on Oct 13, Nov 16, Dec 14)
Group presentations (5 points each) Each group will present its memorized prepared statement and then field six minutes of questions. This will be a group grade. Students will be graded on understanding, Constitutional application, reasoning, supporting evidence, responsiveness, and participation. (Due on Oct 13, Nov 16, Dec 14)
Miscellaneous (variable) Mr. Koepping reserves the right to add additional graded assessments as the semester progresses. These may include pop quizzes, impromptu speeches, current event discussions and other means.