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East Meets Southwest: Traditional American History for Mesa Public School Teachers II

Mesa Unified School District, the largest school district in Arizona, serves students from Mesa, Salt River, Fort McDowell, and the Navaho and Hopi communities. East Meets Southwest will focus on 10 of the district's most disadvantaged/underachieving schools as it immerses teachers in substantive professional development. Annual activities will include a day-long Library of Congress training and a 2-day National Archives Training (Year 1), summer mentoring institutes (Years 1 and 2), a 5-day summer colloquium, two 1-day seminars, a 2-day workshop, two half-day curriculum mapping sessions, and travel-study field experiences. Lectures, peer discussions, independent study, research, and electronic field trips will be embedded in program activities. Under the mentorship of teachers with experience in another Teaching American History grant, participating teachers will meet in Professional Learning Communities to accomplish vertical articulation of content and teaching practices, to develop assessments, to review lesson plans, and to develop new content that can be incorporated by teachers throughout the district. Thirty teachers from six elementary schools and four junior high schools will participate throughout all three years of the program. East Meets Southwest will explore the country's traditions, founding principles, and ongoing struggles by connecting regional history to a meaningful narrative of traditional American history. Teachers will learn to incorporate historical thinking, primary source materials, biography, content-based teaching strategies, and strategies such as debate, role-play, and historical reenactment. Professional Learning Communities will be sustained beyond the life of the program, and a Web site will provide district-wide access to lesson plans, alternative assessments, primary source information, and other resources.