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January 22, 2016

Summer Programs and Seminars for Teachers

By John DePasquale
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    The post-holiday blues are now beginning to settle in. The weeks after winter break always feel to me like the longest and hardest weeks of the school year. However, these seemingly endless winter days are made a little bit brighter because it is also the time my thoughts shift to the different opportunities I might take advantage of during the sunny and warm months of summer vacation.

    I was amazed when I first learned about all of the summer opportunities that exist for teachers looking for unique professional development experiences. These opportunities include a number of different summer programs and seminars held throughout the United States and abroad that are specifically designed for classroom teachers. Since many of the organizations that sponsor these programs offer participants monetary stipends that can be used to cover travel expenses, most teachers are able to participate at no cost. I participated in quite a few of these programs over the years, and I highly recommend you consider them this summer.

    The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher Seminars

    The Gilder Lehrman Institute offers dozens of weeklong teacher seminars each summer. These seminars are typically held at universities and bring together classroom teachers and leading academics and scholars of American history. I twice participated in these seminars, and both times I was impressed by their quality and rigor. Since the themes of these seminars cover different periods and topics related to American history, you’ll likely to find one that interests you. 

    Eligibility: All full time K–12 teachers and librarians are eligible to apply. Despite the focus on American history, these seminars are open to teachers of all subjects.

    Application Deadline: Online application due February 29, 2016 

    National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Programs

    Each summer, NEH provides no-cost opportunities for teachers to study various humanities themed topics at locations throughout the country. These one- to five-week programs are notable because of the wide range of topics that are offered. From a four-week intensive on Shakespeare to a weeklong investigation of immigration in the Northwest, the breadth of the topics covered by these programs is sure to attract many teachers.  

    I particularly like the series of programs offered as part of the Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops. These workshops offer teachers the chance to travel to the actual locations and landmarks that relate to the workshop’s theme. I had the opportunity recently to travel to California to study the impact of World War II on the Bay Area home front. We studied the repercussions of the internment of Japanese Americans by walking the streets of Japantown in San Francisco, and met women who worked as real life Rosie the Riveters on the site of a former military shipyard. The experience of physically being in the places where these events occurred truly transformed my understanding of this historically significant time period.      

    Eligibility: All full-time and part-time K–12 teachers and librarians are eligible to apply to the NEH Summer Programs.

    Application Deadline: Applications due March 1, 2016

    Other Summer Opportunities

    Although I have not participated in these other programs, you may consider exploring them as you search to find an opportunity that meets your interests and needs. 

    The post-holiday blues are now beginning to settle in. The weeks after winter break always feel to me like the longest and hardest weeks of the school year. However, these seemingly endless winter days are made a little bit brighter because it is also the time my thoughts shift to the different opportunities I might take advantage of during the sunny and warm months of summer vacation.

    I was amazed when I first learned about all of the summer opportunities that exist for teachers looking for unique professional development experiences. These opportunities include a number of different summer programs and seminars held throughout the United States and abroad that are specifically designed for classroom teachers. Since many of the organizations that sponsor these programs offer participants monetary stipends that can be used to cover travel expenses, most teachers are able to participate at no cost. I participated in quite a few of these programs over the years, and I highly recommend you consider them this summer.

    The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Teacher Seminars

    The Gilder Lehrman Institute offers dozens of weeklong teacher seminars each summer. These seminars are typically held at universities and bring together classroom teachers and leading academics and scholars of American history. I twice participated in these seminars, and both times I was impressed by their quality and rigor. Since the themes of these seminars cover different periods and topics related to American history, you’ll likely to find one that interests you. 

    Eligibility: All full time K–12 teachers and librarians are eligible to apply. Despite the focus on American history, these seminars are open to teachers of all subjects.

    Application Deadline: Online application due February 29, 2016 

    National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Programs

    Each summer, NEH provides no-cost opportunities for teachers to study various humanities themed topics at locations throughout the country. These one- to five-week programs are notable because of the wide range of topics that are offered. From a four-week intensive on Shakespeare to a weeklong investigation of immigration in the Northwest, the breadth of the topics covered by these programs is sure to attract many teachers.  

    I particularly like the series of programs offered as part of the Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops. These workshops offer teachers the chance to travel to the actual locations and landmarks that relate to the workshop’s theme. I had the opportunity recently to travel to California to study the impact of World War II on the Bay Area home front. We studied the repercussions of the internment of Japanese Americans by walking the streets of Japantown in San Francisco, and met women who worked as real life Rosie the Riveters on the site of a former military shipyard. The experience of physically being in the places where these events occurred truly transformed my understanding of this historically significant time period.      

    Eligibility: All full-time and part-time K–12 teachers and librarians are eligible to apply to the NEH Summer Programs.

    Application Deadline: Applications due March 1, 2016

    Other Summer Opportunities

    Although I have not participated in these other programs, you may consider exploring them as you search to find an opportunity that meets your interests and needs. 

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