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Shaping American History: Conflict, Compromise and Consensus

Due to the emphasis on language arts and mathematics, this California district has not had a professional development program for history teachers in more than a decade. Each year of the project, teachers will participate in (1) a 7-day institute on content and differentiated instruction; (2) 10 after-school or Saturday learning meetings, including four quarterly reading groups; (3) extended learning opportunities through four professional learning community meetings; (4) field study trips; (5) content/pedagogy mentoring and demonstration lessons to address diverse student needs; (6) a week-long summer institute; and (7) expanded learning through technology. Thirty teachers will have the option of participating in a master's degree program. In addition, two facilitators and 24 teachers who have completed 85 percent of the required hours will be eligible for a week-long study trip to Philadelphia, Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. In the first three years, the project will offer grade-level professional development on history and pedagogy to three cohorts of U.S. history teachers: 50 elementary, 30 intermediate and 30 high school. In Years 4 and 5, the project will provide 4-day institutes to support continued learning. Through the Professional Learning Communities, the teachers and mentors will review student performance data with a data-analysis model from Response to Intervention. They also will review state standards and the district pacing guide, and create pretests and posttests for the next study unit. The teachers will collaboratively develop curricula with a special focus on document-based writing lessons.