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Northern Nevada Teaching American History Project

This northern Nevada district covers 6,600 square miles and includes extremely rural to truly urban areas. A population boom, growing ethnic diversity, a large transient population and lack of education funding all contribute to the need for teacher professional development. For this project, teachers will divide into three strands with different levels of participation. The vertical history team (20 teachers from Grades 5 to 12, full three years) will have quarterly full-day meetings plus quarterly school-level team meetings, a summer field study experience, and workshops in conjunction with the history cohort strand. Three history cohorts (20 teachers each year from Grades 7 to 12) will have two full-day meetings, two book club meetings, two primary source workshops and two Saturday dialogues. Other teachers will participate in 7-day summer institutes (25 teachers in Year 1 and 20 in Year 2, Grades 5 to 12). These events will help teachers examine how the principles of freedom and democracy have shaped the nation's struggles and achievements. Content studies will be based on recent scholarly work related to the theme of American freedom. Teachers in the vertical history strand will work on aligning the Grades 5 through 11 history curriculum to state standards and to broad history themes. Teachers will learn to use a data-driven dialogue model, in which they will conduct action research based on a collaborative and reflective process that requires analysis of student data to improve teaching practice. A project Web site will house teacher-created standards-based lessons, presentation materials, newsletters, a discussion forum, links to resources and project-related information. Project participants will provide professional development to schools in 11 rural districts and two Indian reservations.