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 American HITS In the Schools Starts With Professional Development for Teachers

​American history is alive and well in San Diego County classrooms, thanks in no small part to a great partnership between the SDCOE, California State University San Marcos, and the University of San Diego.

The American HITS program facilitated by SDCOE History Social Science Coordinator Laurie Mosier recently convened 57 teachers for a 10-day institute, featuring sessions at both universities before culminating at the San Diego Maritime Museum. A total of 18 local school districts were represented.

“The American HITS program goes beyond the traditional one-day workshop,” said Moiser. “Teachers are thrilled to be ‘back in school’ on the campuses of our partnering universities. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn from local historians, so that when they return to their classrooms they can engage and frame historical understanding for their students.”

The program was offered for free to 5th, 8th, and 11th grade history-social science teachers working at schools or districts identified for Program Improvement, Mosier said. It’s designed to increase teacher content knowledge and improve student achievement.

Over the next year participants will work with SDCOE Project Specialist Tracie Audifferen and Stacey Perez, a past teacher participant, as well as university faculty, to help teachers select resources and classroom strategies to enhance learning. “Through the work with our historians and experts we’ve helped teachers make interdisciplinary connections to support literacy, critical thinking, and 21st century learning,” said Mosier.

“Working with this group of teachers and professors from USD has been very dynamic and such a joy,” said CSUSM History Professor Jeff Charles. “Our goal as facilitators has been to give teachers new approaches on how to introduce subject-based standards to students, that might be more interesting and deepen their knowledge.”

The program is divided into two tiers designed for new and past teacher participants in the grant program. Tier 1 provides cross-grade-level support in lesson development, and the creation of standards-aligned classroom resources. Tier 2 will provide professional development during the school year for teachers, delivered by CSUSM and USD faculty historians. “We’ve been successful in building a collegial network of teachers and hope to continue to reach out to all history teachers to provide ongoing opportunities, extended learning, and access to resources,” said Mosier.

Raquel Tellez, SDCOE Director of Curriculum, attended the institute and said she appreciated its oral history aspect. “I believe that when teachers are delivering a lesson orally all students can participate in that,” said Tellez. “It doesn’t matter whether they are English learners or special education students, it’s something all students can connect with.”

“It’s exciting to work with teachers so interested in learning themselves, and so compelled to bring history to life for their students,” said Mosier.

Participating districts included Cajon Valley Union, Carlsbad Unified, Chula Vista Elementary, Coronado Unified, Escondido Union Elementary, Escondido Union High, Fallbrook Elementary, Mountain Empire Unified, National, Oceanside Unified, Poway Unified, Ramona Unified, San Diego Unified, San Dieguito Union High, San Marcos Unified, Santee, South Bay, and Vista Unified.

For more information on the American Hits Program go to