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Several cultural organizations have come together to launch the D.C. Declaration of Learning (DOL) program. This immersive teacher professional development program seeks to bring history to life and share the importance of civic engagement through object-based learning.

This program is exclusive for educators in the D.C. metro area* who work in 3rd-12th grade social studies, language art, fine/performing arts, ESL, ELL, SPED and GT classrooms as well as those who teach as school librarians and media specialists. As a participant, you will gain digital access to historic art, objects, and resources from the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms, the White House Historical Association, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

D.C. DOL begins with a five-day summer workshop (July 20-24, 2020) where participants will work with representatives from the partner organizations to develop innovative units and lesson plans tied to a student-led, teacher-directed civic engagement project that addresses an issue in their community, state, nation, or world. The workshop will also feature special site visits, inquiry-based learning activities, and mentoring from other teachers.

Throughout the following school year, teachers will test and refine their unit and daily lesson plans and execute the civic engagement project. Finally, there will be a culminating celebration event in the summer.

In order to attend, you must apply as space is limited. Applications open on December 1, 2019 and close February 2, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST.

*For this program, the D.C. metro area is defined as teaching within the District of Columbia, Montgomery County (MD), Prince George’s County (MD), Arlington County (VA), Fairfax County (VA), and the City of Alexandria (VA) and the City of Falls Church (VA).

See below for more information in the our Frequently Asked Questions or email us at

If you are not teaching in the Washington, D.C. metro area, please check out our national program, White House History Teacher Institute with two sessions in July 2020.

Apply Here

U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Reception Rooms

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I attend the D.C. Declaration of Learning program?

Participants are selected through an application review process. To apply, you must complete an online application that details how this program will enhance your teaching along with the submission of your current resume.

When is the application deadline?

For 2020, applications will open on December 1, 2019 12:00 am EST and close February 2, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST. Late or incomplete entries will not be considered.

Who is eligible to apply? Do I have to be a history teacher?

This local program is open to D.C. metro area 3rd-12th grade teachers of social studies/history, English language arts, any fine/performing arts, and library/media specialists. Gifted & talented, special education, and ESL/ELL educators will also be considered. There are no limitations based on school type (i.e. public, private, or charter).

For this program, the D.C. metro area is defined as teaching within the District of Columbia, Montgomery County (MD), Prince George’s County (MD), Arlington County (VA), Fairfax County (VA), and the City of Alexandria (VA) and the City of Falls Church (VA).

Can multiple teachers from the same school apply?

Yes, teachers from the same school can apply to the program; however, educators applying from the same school will be assessed on their individual merit and not as a team.

How are participant selected? How many spaces are available each session?

The 2020 D.C. DOL program has space for approximately 20-30 participants. Each applicant is individually assessed by a review panel composed of partner organization representatives using a rubric that looks at teaching methods, growth mindset, civic engagement interest, writing, and diversity of content areas represented in the cohort (mix between social studies, language arts, art, librarians, ESL, ELL, SPED and GT).

When will I be notified if I have or have not been accepted?

The 2020 application period closes February 2nd at 11:59 PM, and we need time to properly review all applications. Applicants will be notified of their selection by March 9, 2020.

All accepted applicants must confirm their spot and agree to the participant responsibilities within the time indicated on their acceptance email (typically one week).

I am on the waitlist. How will I know if a spot becomes available?

Applicants put on the waitlist will be informed individually via email. There is no set time frame – we fill spots from our waitlist as they open and until the session is at max capacity.


Is there a fee to attend the D.C. Declaration of Learning program?

There are no payments or fee to participate. In fact, you will earn a stipend for your participation and work building a unit and accompanying lesson plans.

What expenses does the program cover (meals, travel, lodging)?

  • Meals: We provide breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday for the summer workshop.
  • Travel: We do not cover travel costs initially. Each individual participant must make their own arrangements to get to and from our downtown location. But we will reimburse your parking or metro fees up to $100 with documentation.
  • Lodging: Since this is a local program, we will not be providing housing to participants.

Are there stipends available?

Yes, dependent on full workshop attendance, participation, and creations of unit plans and a civic engagement project – every participant will receive a $500 stipend.

I have food allergies/restrictions/am a vegetarian or vegan. What kinds of meals will be served at the summer workshop?

Once accepted, we reach out to all participants to ask about dietary restrictions and food allergies. We will work with our caterer to provide meals that can accommodate your needs. If your diet is highly restrictive, you may want to pack supplementary food. If concerned, please contact us to discuss further.

I have a need for a mobility accommodation. Are the accommodations and program accessible?

We are glad to work with you to ensure accessibility for the on-site programming and off-site trips. The program may include short walks (5-10 minutes) to nearby sites. For any location visits further than a 15-minute walk, we will provide a shuttle bus for the group. If concerned, please contact us to discuss further.


What can I expect at the workshop? How long are the days?

The D.C. Declaration of Learning summer workshop is structured to provide a mix of activities including lectures, classroom activities, and site visits. Participants will be expected to attend all sessions Monday through Friday (approximately 9 am to 5 pm). Exact timing, sessions, speakers, and tours will not be set until spring 2020.

Has this program been done before?

This will be the inaugural year for the Declaration of Learning in the D.C. area, but it is a proven program in the state of Arkansas. In 2015, Arkansas became the first in the country to participate in the DOL led by the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Clinton Foundation, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Both teachers and students enthusiastically embraced the process, lessons, and experience.

  • 100% of the educators reported that their teaching has been transformed through the program and that they plan to incorporate their learning into their future lessons.
  • 92% of students reported that the lessons had an impact on their understanding of the importance of civic engagement, and that they were personally motivated to become civically engaged.

What are my responsibilities as a participant?

  • At the summer workshop, your responsibility is to be a fully active participant in the activities and discussions. During this time, you will also begin crafting your unit and daily lesson plans connected with chosen objects from the partner collections.
  • Within the following school year, you will teach and refine the lesson plans while working towards a civic engagement project with students.
  • This will all be assisted by teacher mentors from Arkansas and meetings with partner organization staff.

Will my unit or lesson plan be placed on a website?

There is an opportunity for website publication on one of the partner sites, but this is not a guarantee.


Do you offer graduate credits or state certificated PD credits?

We currently do not offer any graduate credits or official professional development credits. Upon completion of the summer workshop, you will receive a letter acknowledging approximately 35 hours of participation in this program that can be used however you see fit within your district or school.

I am thinking about travel options. What’s the best way to get to the workshop location?

We encourage traveling by metro rail or bus if at all possible. Our home base will be located at the White House Historical Association at 1610 H Street NW – near metro stops Farragut West (Blue, Orange, Silver) and Farragut North (Red). If you drive, there are several parking garage options nearby that range from $15-$25 daily.


When you give students the chance to address real issues in history and in their community today, and you give them the historical art and artifacts to analyze, and the skills to think their way to their own conclusions, your students will rise to the challenge. They want to think about things that matter and say what matters to them.

— – Arkansas DOL participant and Bryant High School librarian Marcia Lanier

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