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21st Century Scholars of American History

Located in southeastern California, these districts serve a population that is more than half Hispanic. Nearly one-fourth of students are English language learners, 60 percent qualify for reduced-price meals and nine percent receive special education services. Each year, teachers will participate in nine full-day workshops, six evening book discussions, lesson study training sessions and field study at a local historic site. They will have two summer institute opportunities: (1) 20 teachers will attend a 5-day trip to historic sites; and (2) all teachers can apply to attend a workshop sponsored by an external provider, such as Gilder Lehrman or the National Endowment for the Humanities, and have their costs covered. In addition, networking and discussions will be supported by an online professional learning community. Two separate cohorts of 75 teachers (25 from each grade) will participate in an intensive 2-year program. From each cohort, 30 will be selected to receive another year of history coaching training; these 60 content leaders will provide on-site support to colleagues to sustain the project's impact. Training from historians and education specialists will deepen content knowledge and content-related teaching skills (e.g., using primary sources, thinking maps, source analysis, historiography). In addition, teachers will learn to develop digital documentaries and use student assessment data to guide instruction. This combination of skills and knowledge will enhance capacity to think like historians and to teach American history in engaging, interactive ways. Best practices, lessons and materials will be shared through conference presentations and on three Web sites to reach local, state and national teacher audiences.