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Journey: The Diverse Journey of All Americans From Reconstruction to the 21st Century

These adjoining northwestern South Carolina districts share the challenge of students who are unprepared in history; the majority of middle and high school students fail to achieve proficiency on standardized and end-of-course history exams. During the school year, teachers will establish school-based professional learning teams, conduct book studies and attend several 1-day and 5-day workshops; in the summer, teachers will participate in a 5-day summer symposium and a 4- to 5-day traveling history institute. All events will deliver content and pedagogy, and the summer institutes will include activities focused on developing classroom curriculum. All middle and high school teachers of American history in the two districts will participate in this project with the goals of learning to think like historians and translating this skill to their students. As the learning moves from Reconstruction to the present, content will emphasize the struggles and perspectives of women and cultural minorities and their contributions to shaping American history. Instructional strategies will focus on using primary sources, aligning instruction to standards, developing critical thinking skills and thinking like a historian. Professional learning teams will also develop teachers' skills around using student data and analyzing student work. A project Web site will house all teacher-created materials and links to relevant sites, making them available to all teachers.