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History Opening Paths to Excellence (Project HOPE)

Fort Worth is an ethnically diverse, urban, high-poverty area, and the schools targeted by Project HOPE have high percentages of limited English proficient and special education students; both groups need extra support to meet state achievement standards. Each year teachers will participate in four pull-out sessions, one field trip and four Super Saturdays of training; in Years 1, 3 and 5, teachers will attend 5-day summer institutes at historic sites. All events are designed to deepen American history content knowledge and help teachers learn how to think and share like historians. Teachers will be divided into two cadres, one of eleventh grade teachers and one of 5th- and 8th-grade teachers. The cadres will work separately on aligning content with grade-level standards and together to learn to use instructional strategies and tools, including those designed to support students with limited English proficiency and with special needs. Project HOPE aims to develop teachers' and students' critical thinking and analytical skills and to educate all students to become active citizens. Teachers will receive training in historiography and historical strategies, including the use of primary sources; will use the Institute for Learning protocol to conduct investigations of student work; and will learn to employ inquiry-based learning methods. Lectures, guided reading discussions, book studies and field trips will contribute to deepening teachers' content knowledge. The project will develop an online database and Web site that highlight teacher-developed units of study and provide access to resources; it will also establish and maintain ongoing collaboration among district teachers and project partners to develop a professional learning community.