Welcome to Georgia's Court System Poster

Partnership between AOC and GDOE has posters flying off shelves

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) have partnered together to distribute the popular “Welcome to Georgia’s Court System” poster. For the first time since it’s initial publication in 2004, the poster has been reviewed and approved by the state’s education agency.  Ms. Shaun Owen, GDOE Social Studies Program Coordinator (K-12), reviewed the content to ensure it meets the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards established for eighth grade students’ studies of the judicial branch.
 
altMs. Ashley G. Stollar, Communications and Outreach Specialist II, researched, wrote, and designed the poster as a tool for students to learn about the court system during eighth grade Georgia history, a subject she taught at Villa Rica High School in the late 1990s.   

The 18”x24” fold-out poster highlights many aspects of the judicial system:

  • types of courts and the types of cases over which they have jurisdiction
  • common terms such as jurisdiction, circuit, nonpartisan, bench trial, etc.
  • the state's judicial circuits
  • judicial selection
  • the role of a judge
  • the various professionals working at the courthouse

Questions are posed throughout the poster to encourage students to better understand their local judicial landscape.  In "About Your Circuit" readers are asked to identify the judicial circuit in which they live and the number of counties in that circuit using the map of judicial circuits.

In just one week of availability, more than 2,000 copies of the poster have been distributed to judges, clerks, and administrators.  Chief Judge Ben Studdard, State Court of Henry County, gives the poster to school groups who come to the Henry County Courthouse for field trips. “The poster makes it easy to explain what the different courts do, and who are the various people who work in the courtroom." 
 
altAfter eight years, 25,000 copies, and three printings, why go to the Department of Education for approval? “It just made sense for us to partner with the DOE,” Ms. Stollar said.  “We have distributed it to schools directly in the past, but we did not have a pipeline to the teachers.  Now that the DOE has reviewed the poster, we can let teachers know that it meets certain requirements.”
 
On March 27, Ms. Stollar participated in a Social Studies Advisory Meeting to introduce the poster to teachers and curriculum directors.  In October, she will present the poster at the Georgia Council for the Social Studies’ fall conference in Athens, GA.
 
Ms. Andrea Dixon, a teacher at Pierce County Middle School in Blackshear, GA, was a participant at the Social Studies Advisory Meeting where the poster was reviewed. She took a copy of the poster back to her school.  After meeting with her colleagues, Ms. Dixon requested several copies saying, “this will really benefit the students and add to their curriculum.”
 
A website based on the poster is in development. To obtain copies of “Welcome to Georgia’s Court System,” contact Ashley Stollar at ashley.stollar@gaaoc.us

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