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Understanding the Blessings of Liberty

This professional development initiative in traditional American history and "Constitutional Connections" includes regular classroom, special education, and ESOL teachers in a culturally diverse school system. Based on a survey of 900 teachers, the project features a component for primary teachers in Grades 1-to-3 and another for teachers in Grades 4, 6, 7, and 11. Partnering in the week-long summer institutes and four follow-up seminars are the National Council on History Education, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, the Gilder-Lehman Institute of American History, George Mason University, and Northern Virginia Community College. By working directly with historians using primary sources at museums, libraries, and historic sites, participants are expected to increase their application of History's Habits of the Mind, generate student interest in learning, and create new instructional materials. Content covers Founding the Nation, Westward Expansion, Civil War and Reconstruction, Urbanization, the Cold War, and Civil Rights. All these events will be studied as connections to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the pursuit of freedom and liberty.