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Minnesota River Valley: Rich in American History

The South Central Service Cooperative is a consortium of districts in mostly rural south central Minnesota, where 73 percent of the schools have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress at the district or building level. Each year of the Minnesota River Valley program will include a kick-off celebration, seven Professional Learning Community meetings throughout the academic year to discuss a historical work that corresponds with that year's National History Day theme, three topical school-year seminars that emphasize Minnesota connections within the national narrative, and an 8- to 10-day summer institute that concludes with a travel immersion experience. Participating teachers will also receive school and classroom support for involving their students in History Day, a program that requires students to select, research, analyze and present on a historical topic using primary and secondary sources. Additionally, each year, 10 teachers will attend a Summer Teaching Institute for Advanced Placement U.S. History. The Minnesota River Valley program will engage a new cohort of 35 teachers annually. A supplemental emphasis on southern Minnesota history will be embedded in each year's theme. To help teachers address the learning needs of the district's English language learners and children with special needs, professional development will incorporate differentiated instruction and evidence-based practices for teaching history. Enduring benefits will include a Professional Learning Community among teachers working in small, rural schools and increased participation in National History Day.