The National Center works with both classroom educators and community-based mentors, such as scout leaders and after-school youth center directors and counselors, who are so influential in the lives of young people. Through workshops, seminars, and symposia nationally, the National Center work with these educators to prepare youth to tackle the tough issues in their lives and communities, and to live in a democracy that is constantly a work in progress.
Professional development programs at the National Center are integrated educational activities designed to challenge conventional assumptions about democracy in the United States. In addition to delivering primary content, each program facilitates critical thinking, activates dialogue, and inspires active participation.
Professional Development Workshops
The National Center’s free Professional Development Workshops orient educators to Fighting for Democracy, an experiential exhibition based on the lives, actions, and decisions of a diverse group of individuals who sought equal rights for their families and communities during World War II.
The National Diversity Education Program is a multi-year, grant-funded project that will expand diversity education for teachers and students by exploring how diversity has shaped, and continues to shape American democracy.
The Program asks the question, “Why and how is diversity the foundational and functional basis for American democracy?"
In collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum, the National Center sponsors an annual educator institute exploring the connections between diversity and democracy. Learning standards and multidisciplinary methodology are interwoven to ensure that the experiences and contributions of diverse people in the United States are integrated into classrooms across the nation.
Educators-in-residence – either a single teacher, or classroom and community educators working in tandem – receive training to become master teachers in democracy education. They then work with students, implementing an evolving curriculum that teaches “democracy skills” – collaboration, critical thinking, research, and participation.
In conjunction with school district-mandated service learning requirements, the educators lead youth in applying their new skills to tackle real-life issues they have identified to be of importance within their communities.