America 250 NC Freedom Fellows (2024)
2024 FREEDOM FELLOWS ANNOUNCED
The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) and Carolina K-12 proudly announce the selection of the inaugural America 250 NC Freedom Fellows! Seventeen Fellows representing each region of North Carolina have been selected, representing diverse regions and disciplines.
“This fellowship will provide teachers with tools and resources to help students understand our state’s unique and diverse history and the important role it played in the American Revolution,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Throughout 2024, we are focused on connecting our department’s educational resources to as many North Carolina teachers and students as possible through our new initiative, Learning Happens Here.”
In a thematic approach to history education, the America 250 Freedom Fellowship will broaden its scope beyond just the years of the American Revolution, as Fellows study how inhabitants of North Carolina throughout the last three centuries have interacted with the nation’s most cherished ideal: freedom. Fellows will visit N.C. Historic Sites around the state and engage in virtual learning throughout the six-month fellowship to deepen their historical scholarship and enhance their teaching practices. This opportunity also aims to create a community of learning where educators can network with other historians, scholars, cultural institutions, and authors from around the state. The Fellows will also play a pivotal role in advising NCDNCR on meeting the evolving needs of K-12 students and teachers. Their insights will shape the implementation of North Carolina’s America 250 initiative and its accompanying resources in classrooms statewide.
Christie Norris, Director of Carolina K-12 noted: “This program stands as a testament to the commitment of NCDNCR and Carolina K-12 to our state’s talented teaching professionals. As we approach this significant milestone in American history, this collaborative fellowship will foster a deeper understanding of and interest in North Carolina’s diverse history and will support educators around the state in inspiring the next generation of engaged and informed leaders.”
To stay up to date on America 250 NC programs and events, visit their website.
The approaching 250th anniversary of the official founding of the United States offers an opportunity to reflect on our nation’s past, honor the contributions of all people across history, and consider the ongoing work democracy requires of us all. As part of the America 250 NC initiative, the NC Department of Natural & Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) and Carolina K-12 have launched the America 250 NC Freedom Fellows, a professional opportunity for K-12 educators to explore North Carolina’s diverse history and the various ways North Carolinians, across time, have engaged with one of our nation’s most valued ideals: freedom.
Throughout four in-person meetings and three virtual meetings, our programming will take a broad approach in its examination of how North Carolinians have continued to engage with the topics of freedom, civic responsibility, and the ideals of democracy throughout the last 250 years. Inclusive of but also well beyond the period of the American Revolution, we will consider everyone from enslaved people, tribal citizens and communities, women, and more, as we explore who, historically to present, has struggled for freedom. Who has resisted? Who has persisted? Who continues the fight today? (For additional details on this thematic approach, read more about the America 250 NC “When Are We Us?” strand.)
This unique opportunity is providing seventeen K-12 educators (representing each region of the state) the chance to deepen their historical scholarship of complex histories, while exploring best practices for engaging students in comprehensive and culturally responsive narratives of the past. The Fellowship will also provide an equally important pathway for K-12 educators to engage in a professional community of teaching and learning, network with other historians, scholars & authors from around the state, and engage their own expertise as they advise NCDNCR officials from NC Historic Sites, Archives, Museums, etc., regarding how to best meet the needs of today’s K-12 students. Fellows will also be instrumental in helping to shape how the America 250 NC initiative and resources are implemented in schools and classrooms around the state, as well as in shaping the creation of educator resources provided by the NCDNCR in general.
The Fellowship will center on educator development in the following four categories:
- Content Knowledge: Deepen your understanding of NC’s diverse history, people, and events (with a focus on the ongoing struggle for various freedoms) through: place-based engagements at Historic Sites across the state; interaction with historians and authors; experiential activities; tours; general exploration of the themes of freedom and ongoing freedom struggles; and more.
- Pedagogy: Share and further develop best practices that most effectively engage students in a comprehensive, effective, and culturally responsible history education (with a focus on categories such as local/place-based learning; primary sources; the integration of arts and cultural experiences; critical thinking; meaningful discussion; etc.)
- Serving as Expert Advisors: Provide your expertise to the State A250 Education Committee on how best to engage teachers and students around the state, as well as to various NCDNCR entities on how to make historic sites/spaces, exhibits, resources, etc. more effective and interactive for maximizing K-12 teaching and learning. Provide feedback on potential curriculum gaps and desired topics for lesson plans or classroom materials. Review and/or pilot newly created historical resources and classroom materials throughout the Fellowship.
- Networking & Collaboration: Cultivate relationships with educators from around the state, forming a collaborative cohort of resources and support; connect with various NCDNCR staff, as well as other scholars, authors, and history professionals, to grow your own professional network. Fellows will also receive special access to/notice of other A250 opportunities (such as classroom grants, potential classroom visitors, etc.)
The America 250 NC Freedom Fellowship offers a transformative opportunity for K-12 educators to reconnect with their own roles as scholars as they both dive into and discover diverse histories of North Carolina, as well as exercise their own expertise as Fellows liaise with and advise other scholars working both in and outside of the K-12 space. Ultimately, the A250 Freedom Fellowship will open doors into the past for K-12 teaching professionals from each region of the state, allowing Fellows (and in return, their students) to more fully understand the world we live in today as we help students step into their roles as the leaders of tomorrow.
This Fellowship is a six-month professional commitment (January 2024 – July 2024) with the following participation requirements:
- Attendance at 4 in-person engagements (as described in the timeline below); after attendance at each engagement, a $500 stipend will be issued ($2,000 total per Fellow by the end of the Fellowship)
- Participation in 3 Zoom engagements
- Throughout the program, Fellows are expected to complete assigned pre-readings; respond to emails, surveys and/or feedback requests in a timely manner; and be fully engaged in discussion and learning to the best of each person’s ability.
- Fellows will independently work on a related activity/project (to be submitted at the end of the Fellowship) throughout the six months.
STIPENDS FOR FELLOWS
In our commitment to valuing teachers as professional scholars themselves, stipends will be provided throughout this opportunity to help defer travel costs and compensate Fellows for their time learning and providing consultation. Fellows will receive $2,000 dispersed in increments as noted in the Fellowship Timeline below.
In addition to stipends, Fellows will also receive meals, classroom resources, special access to Historic Sites, connection to a network of historians & collaborators, access to America 250 NC grant funds (application required), and special surprises along the way!
***Fellows who require accommodations will be responsible for booking lodging on their own, unless otherwise noted. While each $500 stipend is to help with travel costs, additional travel funds can be requested by any Fellow who has a significant distance to travel (i.e., over 130 miles one-way) between their home and the meeting site & require accommodations. Details will be shared at the Fellowship kick-off meeting.***
-Nov. 15, 2023 Applications Open
-Dec. 10, 2023 Application Deadline
-Jan. 12, 2024 Selected Fellows Notified
-Thurs. Jan. 18, 2024 | Welcome Zoom for Selected Fellows (5:30 pm – 6:30 pm)
-Sat. Feb. 10, 2024 | The Fire of Freedom: Fellowship Kick-Off at the NC Department of Natural & Cultural Resources (Raleigh)
- In this opening session, Fellows will begin exploring the A250 and Fellowship themes in terms of how North Carolinians have continued to engage with the topics of freedom, civic responsibility, and the ideals of democracy throughout the last 250 years. Our day will include a private tour of the State Archives of NC, the State Library of NC, & the newly opened NC Freedom Park.
**$500 stipend issued post-attendance & submission of any requested feedback**
-March 2024 TBD | *Virtual Session
-Fri. April 12 – Sat. April 13 | Prelude to Revolution: Historic Halifax (Halifax, NC)
- Located on the Roanoke River, the town of Halifax developed into a commercial and political center around the time of the American Revolution. It was here that North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress met on April 12, 1776 and adopted the “Halifax Resolves,” the first official action by an entire colony recommending independence from England. The town and, more importantly, the nearby Roanoke River also played a vital role in the Maritime Underground Railroad and serves as a perfect location for learning about the resistance and resilience of those seeking freedom. Equally important is the rich indigenous history of the area, including the Haliwa-Saponi and their preservation of Magazine Spring as a sacred site. Fellows will explore Historic Halifax during its largest celebration of the year, as it commemorates the 248th anniversary of the Halifax Resolves with living history activities, military encampments & demonstrations, and other special events and exclusive activities/surprises!
**$500 stipend issued post-attendance submission of any requested feedback; sub reimbursement will be provided for any Fellow’s school who cannot cover the cost**
–May 2024 TBD | *Virtual Session
-Sat. June 1, 2024 | Uncovering Hidden Histories: Historic Bath
**$500 stipend issued post-attendance submission of any requested feedback**
-Mon. July 22, 2024 | One History, Many Voices: Tryon Palace & Fellows Closing Celebration
- Tryon Palace was originally built between 1767 and 1770 as the first permanent capitol of the Colony of North Carolina and a home for the Royal Governor and his family. However, the history of the grounds and the local area spans the Revolutionary Era into the Civil War, with many important links to our state’s rich African American history. Fellows will tour the Palace, engage with the 35th USCT re-enactors, and close out the Fellowship with celebration and (hopefully) plans for future collaboration.
**$500 stipend issued post-attendance submission of activity**
*Virtual Sessions: Two virtual touch-points will be held (as noted above, one in March and one in May; dates TBD.) These will largely be learner-directed, designed based on Fellow feedback. Fellows will be asked what questions and interests they have based on program themes, as well as what information/skills they may feel they are missing. Thus, they will have the opportunity to direct their own learning and guide the program. Virtual sessions may also include engagement with scholars, pedagogical discussions, working groups as Fellows complete deliverables, and more.
**Flexible Dates: Fellows will receive notice of various events hosted across NCDNCR’s Historic Sites throughout the Fellowship, and will ideally attend at least one local event of your choice.
In addition to the requirements of attending the programming provided, Fellows will be expected to:
- Share the knowledge, resources, site-based information, and materials gained throughout the Fellowship with colleagues and teachers in your school and/or district (i.e., presentations at in-service PD days, staff meetings, local conferences, etc.)
- Brainstorm and provide ideas and advice to NCDNCR leaders regarding the America 250 NC initiative in general, and how to best serve teachers and communities around the state with events and resources.
- As experts from the field, provide insight at each of the 4 sites visited, and to NCDNCR in general, regarding how to engage K-12 students in diverse histories in hands-on, culturally responsive ways.
- Pilot and guide revisions on NCDNCR classroom materials, providing constructive feedback. Identify potential curriculum gaps, needs and desired topics for lesson plans and classroom materials.
- Fellows will independently work on a related activity/project throughout the six months (i.e., create an activity for use on-site at a NC Historic Site of your choice; develop a teacher workshop; plan/host an America 250 NC event; etc.)
- (OPTIONAL) Several Fellows will be invited to present at the NC Council for the Social Studies state conference, the NC Middle Level Educators conference, or another state conference of your choice to expand knowledge and reach of the Fellowship and related America 250 NC resources.
- (OPTIONAL) As the program continues in future years, past Fellows will be offered the opportunity to participate in events of interest, assist in mentoring new A250 Fellows, help shape and/or facilitate future years of programming, etc.
Contact Christie Norris, Director of Carolina K-12, at email@example.com.
Funding for this Fellowship is provided by the America 250 NC Commemoration and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.