If you teach in a large enough district you likely have access to professional development in the social studies. If you teach in a smaller district, you may not have many opportunities outside the state social studies conference or training presented by one of our service centers. The good news for social studies educators is that what we may not be able to access during the school year can be found during the summer and quite often for free.
I have had the honor to participate in several summer programs and find that I come home invigorated from spending time with other outstanding educators. Not only do you expand your professional network, but you will get to see the places where history happened and be able to bring that back to your students in the most impactful ways.
Right now applications are available for any number of summer opportunities that last from a few days to three weeks. There are the ones you’re most likely to have heard of:
Gilder-Lehrman 2019 Teacher Seminars are taking applications through February 18th. These week-long seminars are, “Held at colleges and historic sites across the US and abroad, the weeklong workshops include daily programs with leading American historians, visits to local historic sites, and hands-on work with primary sources.” If you’re a Kansan but don’t want to go too far from home, you could apply for World War I and its Aftermath based at the National WWI Museum in Kansas City.
National Endowment for the Humanities (due to the partial government shutdown the website is not fully accessible, but the sites for the individual seminars are. Find a list on this PDF: 2019_summer-ed_01_k-12_0). Tuition-free summer programs can last for one to four weeks and are geared toward the social studies and ELA teacher K-12. To give you an example of an NEH offering for this summer is, “Forever Wild: The Adirondacks in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.” These applications are due March 1, but contact the director of the program that interests you as the shut down makes submitting the cover sheet just now a bit difficult.
Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) (okay, I’m a little biased here as a 2017 Fellow)Provides a two week experience in Germany with other educators from around the country. No two trips are exactly the same and your group will have the opportunity to go well off the beaten path as you learn about modern Germany.
James Madison Fellowship Have you finished your Masters yet? The James Madison Fellowship provides the opportunity to study the constitution in Virginia in the places our Founders lived and worked, and then return home to continue the work. One teacher is selected from each state, each year.
The Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA) and The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) can provide an opportunity that looks toward Asia for those with an interest/need outside the West. This summer they are offering an institute on Critical Issues in Contemporary China. Here’s their flyer/application: china_si17_application
The opportunities listed above didn’t even scratch the surface. Luckily, Stephanie Wagner with the Iowa Depatment of Education and National Council for the Social Studies Vice President, has compiled a Google Sheet Titled 2019 Summer Professional Development Opportunities in Social Studies that lists just about everything.
Start making your summer plans now!