Voices of a Nation
Newport News, near the Chesapeake Bay in southeastern Virginia, is a high-need district with achievement gaps across all school levels and between student subgroups. Voices of a Nation will focus on vertical aspects of teaching U.S. history with the aim of creating a more cohesive program. Cohort members will commit to participating in activities, most of which will also be open to other teachers who have a U.S. history teaching assignment. Activities will include lectures, seminars, and Professional Learning Team (PLT) meetings during the school year, supplemented by summer graduate courses and technology institutes. Annual cohorts will have 40 teachers in Grades 4 to 12. Each cohort will become a Professional Learning Community and will break into four vertical PLTs of teachers from schools that feed into each other. The theme of Voices of a Nation is embedded in its name. Although all topics and eras will be covered each year, activities will vary and involve different partners. PLTs will meet several times to chat with professional historians, share teaching ideas, review primary sources, create collections of resources, discuss differentiating instruction, or conduct other activities; all activities will be documented online. Each PLT will complete three products: a curriculum map of one U.S. history strand from the state standards, a digital resource such as a SMART board lesson or virtual field trip, and one product to be determined by the team.