Dialogue: Visit a Classroom

Operation Protect & Defend, also known as OPD, is a non-profit civics organization that was founded by now retired U.S. District Court Judge Frank Damrell (E.D. Cal.) in the wake of 9/11 to create a dialogue with high school students about the U.S. Constitution and our civic duty to participate in our democracy. OPD’s success is due in part to an important federal-state collaboration by bringing federal and state court judges together with members of the federal and state court bars. After students complete the curriculum, which focuses on an important constitutional issue, local judges and attorneys volunteer to visit participating classrooms in pairs to engage the students in a discussion on the issue they just learned about. A training session is provided for both new and returning volunteers to help prepare them for their classroom visit. New: If you are interested in visiting a classroom or would like more information, contact us at opd@opdcivics.org.

2023 Training was held: Friday, January 27, 2023 from 12-1:30 pm
(combined with the MCLE Luncheon)

A quick reminder that we are still looking for people to sign up to visit the classroom to facilitate a discussion about our topic.  A judge and a lawyer team up to get the class to discuss the topic – not to teach the topic.  Signing up is easy!

  1. Use this link to see our Sign-up: https://signup.com/go/zXvrHGb
  2. Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.  Judges, ALJs, Temporary Judges, and Justices sign up in judge spots – attorneys sign up in attorney spots.
  3. Click on the spot you want and then click on Assign. The top right hand box will drop down with participants who have already participated previously or choose “Add a New Participant” to enter your name and contact information.  If you want, sign up for a couple of spots!
USA flag t-shirt

Note: Sign-up does not share your contact information, except with your co-volunteer and the teacher of the classroom you choose to visit.

Visiting a classroom may be the most rewarding experience you will have all year!  AND participating takes very little time – probably less than 2 hours to review the materials, drive to and from the school, and attend the class, which are normally about an hour long.  A little more than 3 hours if you sign up for two classroom visits.

We will send you the student packet and the teacher lesson plan we give to classes, and the essay contest and art contests prompts so you know what the teacher and students have received.  We will also send you a checklist developed by Magistrate Claire about how to prepare to attend the class and how to engage the students to get the students participating in the dialogue.