Published February 3, 2023

Last year we debuted our K-12 Educator Fellowships, a unique opportunity designed to support educators across the Commonwealth who are committed to teaching the humanities—encompassing teachers, media specialists, librarians, after-school specialists, and more. Over the course of nine months, Fellows create two learning experiences with lesson plans, shaped around the current Virginia Standards of Learning.

As we bid farewell to our inaugural cohort of Educator Fellows, we’re excited to announce the launch of a new website that hosts our Fellows’ completed work: Virginia Humanities Education. Our goal is for the website to serve as a hub for humanities instructors looking to strengthen their classroom learning experiences. In an effort to ensure our resources are widely accessible, much of the site’s content can be used in both virtual and physical settings and is adaptable to a variety of learning styles and age ranges.

Virginia Humanities Education

Free, reliable learning experiences created by educators in Virginia

2021–22 K-12 Educator Fellow Catherine Breese attends a professional development workshop hosted in Danville.

Lorraine Dresch, who teaches English, Journalism, and Africana Studies at Waynesboro High School, used the fellowship to refine and expand a civics unit Dresch had taught once before, making it more in-depth and interactive. The final learning experience, titled Counter-Narratives for Resistance, is now available for use by educators across the state. Each lesson in the unit includes questions, objectives, exercises and key vocabulary, among other essential learning components. 

“Access to quality Black history education is life-affirming and world-changing, and I felt proud to contribute to this intellectual tradition by sharing my expanded unit with other educators through the new Virginia Humanities Education site,” Dresch shared.

For many of our Educator Fellows, the opportunity to dedicate the better part of a year to designing robust, engaging curriculum—and be paid for it—is rare but much-needed. Catherine Breese, another member of our inaugural cohort, emphasized the importance of having the time, space, and support to create quality instruction.

2021–22 K-12 Educator Fellow Lynn Moore listens to past Virginia Humanities Fellow Kim O’Connell on a walking tour in Arlington, VA.

“The K-12 Educators Fellowship helped me complete some of the most gratifying work I have done during my career—work that I could not, would not, have done without Virginia Humanities,” said Breese, who currently serves as the lead technology resource teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools. Breese’s learning experience, It Can Hardly Be Denied: Corbin v Pulaski County School Board, is among those currently available for use.

Our Director of Education Emma Ito, who leads the program, shared: “We are incredibly excited to share our new site and the amazing work our Fellows have created. We want educators to have access to creative, inclusive, and reliable resources put together by fellow educators and we’re blown away by the outstanding learning experiences that are now available for classrooms across the country for free.”

The deadline to apply for a K-12 Educator Fellowship is March 3, 2023. This year’s program will kick off in April and end in December. We strongly encourage applicants to focus lessons on historically excluded populations and peoples. For more information, contact Emma Ito at eito@virginia.edu.

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