Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice
The Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice (SLJ) believes that the success of each student is a community responsibility. Staff, families and partners work together to challenge and support students with a curriculum that respects their right to learn at high levels and with enrichment services that every student deserves. SLJ delivers personal attention in an empowering environment that fosters intellectual independence and civic engagement. Equipped with an understanding of law and social justice, SLJ's students, most of whom come from the city's historically least served communities, graduate ready to succeed in college and effect change in society.
How We Began
On February 26, 2004, under the leadership of Elana Karopkin, who would become the school's principal, an initial planning team of teachers, students and partners—including Fathiyyah Abdullah, Math teacher, Harry Van Arsdale High School; Meisha Ross, Assistant Principal, Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice (BLGJ); Richard Kahan, Founder and President, The Urban Assembly; Jonathan Ortiz, student, BLGJ; Yvette Crespo, Parent Coordinator (BLJG); and Jeffrey Smith, Managing Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP—delivered a powerful grant proposal to New Visions for an unknown but decidedly different kind of high school.
The Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice was conceived to immerse students in a rigorous curriculum that exposes law and justice as the fundamental building blocks of society and trains them to be far-thinking, contributive adults.
Among them the planners shared a vision for a small but flourishing community of active learners and an uncompromising dedication to the principle that students are foremost participants in - not recipients of - their education, and will thrive when their curiosity is stoked and their natural talents nurtured.
The planning team was mandated to create SLJ with these ideals ever in mind when their proposal was accepted by New Visions and supported with a grant of $400, 000.00.