New professional development program in partnership with Library of Congress
Harrisburg, Pa. — Center for Schools and Communities today announced a new program that will train Pennsylvania teachers how to engage English learners in democratic discussions through the authoring of social justice-oriented essential questions.
“The Power of Perspectives: Using Primary Sources to Design Dynamic Substantive Democratic Discussions to Facilitate English Learner’s Academic Language Development in Social Studies” is a collaborative 18-month statewide professional development initiative to develop capacity among teams of teachers to design and deliver rigorous grade-level content instruction and assessment that is accessible to English learners at all proficiency levels.
Launching January 24, 2019, the program will use Teaching Tolerance’s Social Justice Standards as a guiding framework and primary sources – the raw materials of history such as original documents – from the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources digital collection. Educators will explore ways to engage English learners in critical inquiry, democratic perspective taking and argumentative writing through primary source analysis.
“This program is a powerful collaboration of national experts and educators with the aim of making equitable, high quality educational programs available for English learners,” said Center for Schools and Communities director Shileste Overton Morris. “The Center is proud to be partners in this work.”
Upon completion of the program, Pennsylvania teachers will have designed and implemented four inquiry units throughout the course of one academic year. The program’s impact on teachers’ learning and student engagement and achievement in content mastery and language development will be measured throughout the grant project with support from Penn State University.
The formal workshop series begins with a presentation by Richard Cairn, Director of the Emerging America program, followed by Maryland Humanities’ presentation of inquiry-kits. The series concludes with former School District of Philadelphia teacher Dr. Charles Paslay’s “Highly Effective Writing” workshop.
Following the formal workshop series, teachers will receive ongoing coaching from content experts and instructional designers from the Center for Schools and Communities as they create and implement their unit plans. Eight Pennsylvania school districts are participating in the inaugural cohort. The program concludes in June 2020. Learn more at ESL Portal.
This program is sponsored, in part, by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University. Other partners include Maryland Humanities Council, Pennsylvania Department of Education and a national writing project consultant.
About Center for Schools and Communities
Center for Schools and Communities is a statewide consulting and training organization that offers a continuum of services for education leadership, social and emotional learning, positive youth development, cultural competence, school safety and youth violence prevention, equity, family support and community service integration, and early childhood care and development. Learn more at www.Center-School.org.