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Liberty, Equality and Justice for All in American History

Cobb County is northwest of Atlanta, near the borders of Tennessee and Alabama. Student performance on the history portion of state graduation tests has fallen in recent years, and district history teachers have had access to little or no professional development. Each semester, this project will deliver three symposia and two field trips, a book study, and workshops for developing curriculum materials. Each year, leading historians will present a 5-day summer seminar that will include lectures and materials, historian guidance during a field study, and opportunities for teachers to confer with experts in the field. The project will serve an annual cadre of 30 high school teachers; Year 1 participants will be encouraged to stay on, and any who leave will be replaced by new teachers. Applicants will be screened to select those who have the greatest need. By providing a cutting-edge professional development experience, the district aims to develop a cadre of lead teachers and mentors who can work across the district and the state. Symposia will be led by guest historians, and primary source materials will be reviewed for historical interpretation, point of view and analysis. Field studies will be designed to include history content and exploration of primary sources. Strategies will include use of History Habits of Mind, document-based questioning and the Understanding by Design process. Every teacher will design at least one lesson per year, and these resources will be available on the district and project Web sites. Participants will present at local and state conferences and will be encouraged to apply to national conferences.