Nov. 14, 2018 -- All politics is local. Fourth graders in Ms. Hamilton’s and Mr. Cohen’s classes at Fairfax School took that truism to heart recently when they visited Cleveland Heights City Hall.
Students had the opportunity to tour the building and meet with important players in many city departments, thus reinforcing their study of the three branches of government. They met Judge James Costello in the courtroom as an example of the judicial branch and even got to sit in on some sentencing hearings, a favorite part of the day. They also met with Chief Annette Mecklenburg of the Police Department, who represented the executive branch, and Officer Harris with his trusty police dog, K9 Jax. They enjoyed an engaging lunchtime conversation with Mayor Carol Roe, who was representing the legislative branch. (In some cities, the mayor would be considered part of the executive branch, but in Cleveland Heights, the mayor is a member of City Council, elected to propose, review and pass local laws, called ordinances.)
The 4th graders had just recently been introduced to these new social studies concepts, so they had many questions about each branch’s roles, responsibilities and limits, along with some tough conversations around gun safety. Mr. Cohen said he felt that the trip was a great introduction to local government and gave the students the chance to put a face to the otherwise dry paragraphs they read in their textbooks.
The 4th grade social studies curriculum focuses heavily on the role of state government, so the entire grade will follow up this initial trip with an in-school visit by State Representative Janine Boyd and a culminating field trip to Columbus in May, an annual highlight of the 4th grade.