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American Dream: A Teaching American History Grant for Elementary and Middle Schools in Need of Improvement

Through the American Dream program, the New York City Department of Education (the largest school district in the country) will engage American history teachers in the city's 461 struggling elementary and middle schools. Only 30 percent of the city's eighth graders passed the state's latest social studies assessment. American Dream will seek to reach all 461 schools, with every teacher invited to participate in one or more program layers. Up to 150 teachers will participate in an intensive teacher leadership program, 90 of whom will attend an inaugural conference in Year 1. In each subsequent year, these and additional teacher-leaders will complete 72 hours of leadership development training, original research, curriculum development, and vertical team planning projects, run an American history conference for 100 teachers from around the city, and establish and maintain school-based American history resource rooms. Rigorous, but less intensive, instruction will be offered to the rest of the schools' history teachers through the Becoming Historians lecture series (Year 1), a quarterly evening lecture series, a quarterly workshop series at historical houses, a quarterly book club, and a film club. Through the lens of the American Dream, the program will explore defining moments in American history, from the time before European colonization through modern times. Teacher-leaders will be trained to provide professional development on innovative, developmentally appropriate teaching strategies that integrate technology and develop students' research, analysis, and presentation skills. Successful strategies and curricular units developed through the program will be disseminated citywide. In addition, teacher leaders will maintain American history resource rooms in their schools.