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Foundations of Freedom Liberty Fellowship

The School District of Manatee County, located on Florida's west coast, includes 33 elementary schools, eight of which are Title I schools that have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for multiple years. Across the district, recent student performance in American history has been poor. The Foundations of Freedom Liberty Fellowship (Foundations) will give priority to teachers in low-performing elementary schools and provide 14 days of professional development each year: a 2-day fall colloquium, a 3-day winter colloquium, a 2-day study trip, four half-days of research and review, and a 5-day summer institute. A technology-enabled classroom coaching program will help participating teachers refine their lesson design and delivery. All 170 of the district’s teachers in Grades 3-5 will be encouraged to attend Talking History Webinars once a month and will have online access to CICERO teaching resources. Foundations will accommodate 40 fellows each year. Five experienced teachers from the initial cohort will be trained as teacher-leaders, and they will replicate portions of the fellowship training to help all district history teachers create engaging history lessons and activities. The thematic focus will be on how geography, economics, and political thought have contributed to events in traditional American history. Strong emphasize will be given to teachers and students reading and discussing American history issues, documents, events, and personalities. Teachers will be trained to use the American Institute for History Education's Signature Strategies, including the Binary Paideia approach, to promote historical thinking and enhance classroom instruction. Historical narratives, "virtual field tours," and other teacher-created resources will be posted on the project Web site.