Start Planning Now for Summer Professional Development

Photo, Professional Development at Ford's Theatre
Sun 11 2011

Have you started thinking about the summer yet? It's never too early, especially if you're considering professional development opportunities. Many summer programs have spring application deadlines.

Check with local and state historical societies, libraries and archives, historic sites, national parks, and museums in your area—your never know what organizations may be offering workshops, institutes, or seminars.

Looking for something on the national level? These professional development programs are $200 or less:

  • American Red Cross:
    Offers a four-day institute introducing middle and high school teachers to its Exploring Humanitarian Law curriculum. The registration fee is $150, but scholarships of up to $600 are available to a limited number of applicants. The application deadline is May 4, 2012.
  • Civil War Trust:
    Offers two-day regional institutes and one four-day national institute. Institutes require a refundable registration deposit. Registration begins February 2012 for the national institute.
  • C-SPAN Classroom:
    Offers a four-week fellowship for middle and high school teachers. Participants will develop teaching materials using C-SPAN's resources. Fellows receive a $7,000 award. Registration ends February 10, 2012. Also offers a two-day summer educators' conference for grade 6–12 teachers. Participants must be C-Span Classroom members. Successful applicants receive stipends. The application deadline is April 13, 2012.
  • Dirksen Congressional Center:
    Offers a week-long workshop on teaching about Congress for middle and high school teachers. Requires a nonrefundable $125 registration fee.
  • Ford's Theatre:
    Offers week-long fellowships for all grade levels, on Abraham Lincoln and his times. Free for Washington, DC, public school teachers; others must pay a fee.
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon:
    Offers one-week summer residential teachers' institutes at Mount Vernon. Institutes are free, but only open to certain states each year. Applications will open in January or February.
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History:
    Offers one-week summer seminars throughout the country, on topics from early America to the present day. Successful applicants receive stipends. The application deadline is February 15, 2012.
  • Library of Congress:
    Offers summer teacher institutes. The application deadline is February 17, 2012.
  • National Archives and Records Administration:
    Offers one-week "Primarily Teaching" workshops in several locations nationally. Workshops focus on learning to use primary sources as part of classroom curriculum. Details on the 2012 workshops are not yet available—watch the URL!
  • National Endowment for the Humanities:
    Offers one-week Landmarks of American History and Culture workshops and Summer Seminars and Institutes throughout the country. Successful applicants receive stipends. The application deadline for workshops, seminars, and institutes is March 1, 2012.
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum:
    Offers the Clarice Smith National Teacher Institutes, week-long institutes for 6th–12th-grade teachers, exploring connections between 21st-century skills, American art, English, and social studies. Requires a nonrefundable $200 application fee, but a limited number of $500 scholarships are available. The application deadline is April 2, 2012.
  • United States Holocaust Museum:
    Offers Museum Teacher Fellowships, which include a one-week, expenses-paid summer institute in Washington, DC. Applications are due February 10, 2012.

About the Author

Lara Harmon is a Senior Research Associate for She received her BA from George Mason University.