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Building Connections

The two metro-Atlanta districts participating in this project include several schools identified as in need of improvement, and one district has not made Adequate Yearly Progress for four years: student scores on state and other standardized tests have been below state averages. Building Connections teachers will interact with historians and colleagues from different grade levels as they attend summer institutes and evening lectures and visit national and local historic sites and archival facilities. Small cohorts will meet during the school year to discuss content and instruction and to collaborate on assignments. Stipends and a competitive application process will be used to recruit 250 Tier 1 teachers (50 per cohort, with one cohort in Year 1, two cohorts in Year 2, and two cohorts in Year 3) and 50 Tier 2 teachers (one cohort for three years, starting in Year 1), with preference given to those from low-performing schools. Throughout the project, themes will center on placing significant individuals, events, and issues into the context of our nation's foundation and civic ideals. Around this content, Building Connections will help teachers learn to integrate several instructional approaches into their practice, such as using nonfiction materials and primary source documents, conducting research, using technology, and incorporating history into reading and writing. During the 5-year project, each Tier 1 teacher will compile a portfolio that includes lesson plans, primary sources, visuals, portraits, and objects. Tier 2 teachers will produce learning packages that include lesson plans, artifacts, and primary documents. All lesson plans will be compiled and shared with other teachers.

 
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