Civic Education for Students

The San Joaquin County Bar Association offers many legal programs for grade school students including the First Impressions program and Judges in the Classroom.

First Impressions Program

Judge Barbara Kronlund and her committee have been presenting the First Impressions program to 5th grade students for over 20 years. This program consists of four in-class sessions where our volunteer attorneys and judges visit their assigned class on a weekday to educate kids about:

  • The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
  • The differences between civil and criminal law
  • How a judge or jury hears evidence
  • Assessing credibility of witnesses, and more

During these sessions, volunteers mentor the students as they prepare for their own mock trial - a murder trial based on the story of The Three Little Pigs. In the final, fifth session of the First Impressions program, the students take a field trip to the Stockton Courthouse, where they present their mock trial in a real courtroom.

Classes will be scheduled throughout the upcoming fall and winter semesters. Contact if you are interested in signing up your classroom for this valuable civic education, or to volunteer.

Alternatively, there is also a one-day program at the Courthouse which lasts a few hours.

Judges in the Classroom Program

Judges in the Classroom is a statewide program that provides a platform for teachers to connect with judges in order to organize classroom presentations by judges to students about the judiciary, the work of the courts, and the law more generally. It has a strong track record in a number of counties such as Sacramento and Fresno and is now being rolled out to other counties throughout the state. This program can be done online or in person.

More information and all program curriculum materials available online by visiting

Bringing the Courtroom to Fifth-Grade Classrooms – VIRTUALLY!

The San Joaquin County Office of Education and the Superior Court of San Joaquin County have collaborated to bring the First Impressions program to fifth-grade classrooms – VIRTUALLY!

First Impressions is a FREE PROGRAM that brings the courtroom to the classroom - introducing students to the legal profession while teaching them about the three branches of government, the importance of the separation of powers, important Constitutional rights, and the role of judicial independence to fair and impartial courts.

“Students get to learn how to think critically, how to respectfully engage in deliberations with others to convey their opinions, practice reading, and engage in a variety of exercises to demonstrate what they’ve learned in the program,” said Judge Barbara Kronlund. “We’ve woven a career day into the remote program as well,” she said. “This gives students a look at possible careers within the justice system which might interest them.”

Download the module worksheets and learn more about the program.

Download Worksheets

Watch accompanying videos on the SJCOE YouTube page.

Watch Videos