Initiative Overview

Facing History and Ourselves supports teachers as they engage students in historical inquiry using primary sources. Through this Teacher Practice Networks grant, Facing History is improving Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned instruction in social studies, humanities, and English language arts classrooms. Facing History works with teachers to integrate its unique curricula and pedagogical approach with tools from the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC). Teacher leaders across nine states mentor peers to access and use LDC tools to develop new CCSS-aligned mini-tasks and modules using Facing History’s curricula.

Strategies for Advancing Common Core

Teacher Leaders

Facing History is working with 26 teacher leaders, experienced with its unique pedagogical approach, as experts in using the LDC tools to create and implement mini-tasks and modules based on the Facing History curricula. All of these teacher leaders (who are based in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New York) use their classroom experience and curriculum-development expertise to teach their colleagues about implementing effective CCSS-aligned instruction. They lead face-to-face workshops and mentor teachers.

All teacher leaders will use technology to expand and sustain teacher learning beyond the learning communities hosted by Facing History and by individual schools. Teacher leaders will facilitate online learning events, in which they share their experiences teaching Facing History curricula in CCSS-aligned ways and using LDC tools to develop new mini-tasks and modules. To reach a large number of educators, teacher leaders plan to blog, use social media outlets, and present at conferences. All teacher-created mini tasks and modules will be shared through these channels and through the Facing History and LDC websites.

Teacher Leadership Capacity

Facing History’s program associates (PAs)—experienced teachers who are currently not in the classrooms—are in regular contact with teacher leaders to provide instructional support, discuss outreach strategies, and collaborate on learning activities. All PAs and teacher leaders attend training led by the LDC on using tools to align curriculum to the CCSS as well as training on leveraging social media to engage with a wider audience of educators.


Facing History’s existing partnerships with schools and districts in California, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the other regions where the organization is working, will support the teacher leaders at their respective sites. The partners will also support teacher-to-teacher professional learning opportunities to improve teachers’ CCSS-aligned practices and help recruit participants for Facing History’s related workshops and seminars.

General Information

Facing History and Ourselves
16 Hurd Road
Brookline, MA 02445

Rachel Ross, Director, Foundation Relations
(617) 735-1636

2013 – 2015 Initiative of Facing History and Ourselves

Primary Grant Focus

To enable secondary teachers to make the shifts in literacy instruction called for by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Facing History and Ourselves supports a cadre of twelve teacher leaders to develop CCSS-aligned instructional modules based on Facing History content and methodology. Facing History and Ourselves plans to disseminate the high-quality resources to secondary teachers through both face-to-face and online professional learning opportunities.

Strategies for Supporting Common Core Success

With BMGF funding, Facing History and Ourselves aims to develop and share new teacher-generated instructional resources that integrate CCSS with its long-standing pedagogical approach to understanding history through inquiry and interrogation.

  • Twelve teacher leaders experienced with Facing History have participated in workshops to learn how to integrate the CCSS-aligned Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) framework using Facing History content. This pilot training has led to the development of new LDC/Facing History modules. These same teacher leaders who developed and piloted the modules are now sharing best practices and disseminating these resources in workshops in eight regions across the country.
  • Facing History also provides in-person professional learning on the LDC/Facing History modules to whole districts, such as with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where more than 600 K-12 CPS principals participated in a train-the-trainer session. Administrators learned how to implement CCSS strategies while supporting social-emotional learning using Facing History content and returned to their school sites to deliver professional learning to their staff.
  • The Facing History website has been redesigned to offer a digital collection of the new teacher-generated modules and other supporting resources. Website features still in the works include building an online community for discussion, sharing, and problem solving, as well as tools that allow educators to create user-generated playlists, or personalized collections.