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Flushing’s John Bowne High School becomes first school in New York to offer certified CTE Legal Studies program

Jun. 15, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

The John Bowne High School community in Flushing held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 18 for their Legal Studies CTE (Career and Technical Education) program which exposes students to hands-on experiences bringing classroom teachings to life. 

John Bowne High School, located at 63-25 Main St., is the first school in New York City, as well as New York state, to be CTE-certified in legal studies.  

“Our Legal Studies program provides incredible opportunities for our students, from studying civil and criminal law to being immersed in internship experiences,” said Dr. Laura Iannelli, principal of John Bowne High School. “I am honored to be principal of the school with the first CTE Legal Studies program in New York state. It took many years of thoughtful planning and developing, and we are finally able to offer this opportunity to our students.” 

Students in the program will have the opportunity to participate in mock trials, engage in debates, and hone their public speaking skills. In addition, this new curriculum includes components of collaboration with peers, teamwork, and mastering both career and leadership skills. 

These experiences will not only deepen their understanding of the legal system but also nurture essential life skills that will benefit them in any career they choose. Students in the Legal Studies program who successfully complete the course sequence and work-based learning hours will graduate with the CTE endorsement on their diploma. 

Kira Repetto, an attorney, teaches Legal Research & Writing, Intro to Civil Law I & II, Law Enforcement, Family & Juvenile law and Mock Trial/Legal Studies. 

She teaches ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students, whom she says are all “very unique, kind, intelligent, strong, talented and hardworking in their own ways.”

Repetto’s students work on projects including actual legal writing (complaints, contracts and legal briefs). All students participate in mock trial roles as either a lawyer, witness or juror. 

Monet Nelson, assistant principal of the Bowne Law Institute, said she’s proud of the work being done at the school. 

“Allowing our students to be afforded the opportunity to partake in the chancellor’s career and technical education initiative will surely aid them in achieving academic and career success in the future,” Nelson said. 

The John Bowne Law Institute is a wide-ranging four-year program that prepares students with the exposure and skills needed to succeed in their post-secondary goals, according to the website. The primary goal of the law institute is to promote civic competence for each and every student as well as produce educated, well-rounded young adults.  

Berky, a law teacher, said she is proud to see all of the hard work of the law team come to fruition. 

 “I am excited to see our law students take advantage of the many excellent opportunities to further their law education with this CTE program,” Berky said. 

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