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The Search for Order and the Quest for Freedom

In this diverse Philadelphia district, 72 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, and none of the targeted high schools has met its annual yearly progress goals. Teachers in this project will participate in (1) 10 day-long symposia at Saint Joseph's University, focusing on historical research through technology, student evaluations and core content-related teaching practices; (2) an annual 5-day summer institute, featuring historical content, teaching strategies, review standards, and the development of lesson plans and classroom-ready resources and materials; (3) a program of regular student pre- and post testing, in which teachers will meet in teams after school to review state standards and the district’s pacing guide, prepare monthly or unit pre- and posttests, and give the tests to their students; and (4) a teacher network, which will offer follow-up support between monthly meetings. The project will involve four overlapping cohorts of 30: Cohort A (Years 1-2), Cohort B (Years 2-3), Cohort C (Years 3-4) and Cohort D (Years 4-5). Each cohort will include two representatives from 15 schools. The most academically challenged schools will be targeted first for participation. The project will provide a standards-aligned study of American history from the crafting of the Constitution to recent times, examining the issues, themes, events and interpretations related to the question, "What did freedom mean?" Teachers will learn to use content-related teaching strategies, including primary documents, artifacts, first-hand accounts, illustrations and site visits to translate freshly mastered content into classroom lessons. Reviewed lessons and other resources generated by the teachers will be posted online.