The 2024 White House History Teacher Institute is open to all K-12 educators and will be offered as an in-person program in Washington, D.C. Continue reading for more information, including how to participate.
The White House is an enduring
symbol of the United States. The structure serves multiple roles as a home,
office, museum, and stage. For over 200 years, many individuals have influenced
the space including first families, enslaved individuals, foreign visitors,
curators, and the American public. At the White House History Teacher Institute
(WHHTI), you will discover the wider history of this iconic building and
explore how you can use these stories to enhance your classroom.
The in-person Institute is a five-day immersive teacher professional development program hosted by the White House Historical Association in Washington, D.C. and features discussions with historians, local site visits, inquiry-based learning activities, sessions facilitated by master teachers, guest speakers, and the opportunity to network with fellow educators from across the country.
“The instructional strategies presented at the White House History Teacher Institute hooked me from start to finish. The lesson activators, hands-on primary source document activities, incredible site visits, expert historians, and collaborative group reflections were inspiring. Every element of this immersive workshop was relevant and engaging. This experience will have a lasting impact on how I teach my students.”
The Teacher Institute works to address these essential questions:
- Why does the White House matter? How has the structure and symbolism of the building changed over time?
- How did the White House and the surrounding neighborhood reflect larger movements and changes in United States history?
- Who has contributed to the White House over time? What lesser-known stories of individuals are significant to our understanding of White House history?
- How did the White House evolve to simultaneously act as a home, office, museum, and stage?
The 2024 Institute
Two weeks of the in-person Teacher Institute will be held in July 2024. Week 1 will be hosted July 8-12, and Week 2 will be hosted July 15-19. To participate, educators must be selected through an application review process. Applications for the 2024 in-person WHHTI will open on January 8, 2024, and close on February 19, 2024 at 11:59pm EST. Applications are reviewed using a rubric that considers 4 factors:
- Content Relation
- Teaching Style
- Reach Potential
The application also requires a submission of your current resumé and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor.
All applicants, regardless of acceptance status, will be contacted by March 29, 2024.
The White House Historical Association will not offer a live, virtual Teacher Institute in Summer 2024. However, educators interested in learning more about the White House asynchronously will be able to do so starting in June. More information, including the link to register to participate asynchronously, will be posted here soon.
David M. Rubenstein Master Teachers
Our master teachers work as a team, spanning K-12 grade levels and different content areas, to lead interactive sessions, mentor participants, and share insights and strategies throughout the course of the Institute.
2024 Master Teachers
Week 1, Elementary Grades Master Teacher
Krystal is a 3rd grade teacher, in East Brunswick New Jersey. She has been teaching for six years, and she has experience as a Special Education Teacher in grades 4-5 and 8-9. Krystal has two Master's Degrees, one in Special Education and one in Reading, Literacy, and Coaching. She loves History and helping students see the value of it in their lives today. Krystal has piloted civics programs at her school, and she has loved creating spaces where elementary students learn the value of reflection and advocacy.
Week 1, Middle School Master Teacher
Jeff teaches 8th grade U.S. History at Mt. Vernon Middle School in Fortville, Indiana, which is just outside of Indianapolis. He has just completed his 17th year as an educator and has also taught 7th & 8th grade Language Arts. Jeff and his wife, Julie, recently celebrated their 20th anniversary in Europe. They watched their daughter march with her high school band in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin along with a trip to London. This summer Jeff also traveled with his daughter on a mission trip to Guatemala to build housing for people in Panajachel - west of Guatemala City.
Week 1, High School Master Teacher
An educator of 20 years, Rebecca Smart earned her BA in Government and Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master's Degree in Blended and Personalized Learning from Texas Tech University. She is honored and proud to serve as an AP US History teacher and Social Studies Instructional Coach at Dripping Springs High School in Dripping Springs, Texas. She currently serves as a civics educator, consultant, and trainer for Texas Law-Related Education, a mentor for the We the People program (Center for Civil Education) and is a member of the National Constitution Center Teacher Advisory Council and iCivics Educator Network. The mom of a 2023 DSHS graduate, Rebecca lives with her husband Scott and daughter Caroline in Dripping Springs, Texas.
Week 2, Elementary Grades Master Teacher
Janet Key teaches first and second grade in Milwaukee Public Schools, and select classes in third through fifth grades. Social Studies is her passion, and teaching in an authorized IB Primary Years Programme provides many opportunities to integrate history and government into all content areas. Her husband and three children are also all teachers. They have visited 49 states and are planning a cruise to Alaska. Washington DC is one of her favorite places, so please feel free to touch base if there is anything she can assist with.
Week 2, Middle School Master Teacher
Nicole Rose-Peadick currently serves as a 7th grade Civics and Government teacher in Central Florida. A native Floridian, Nicole attended the University of Central Florida, where she earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership. Now a fifth-year educator, Nicole has taught social studies at all three middle school grade levels, including U.S. History, World History, and Civics and Government. Nicole is a strong proponent of student-led learning and classroom culture that emphasizes student voice, choice, and empowerment. Nicole's special interests include Supreme Court culture and constitutional law.
Week 2, High School Master Teacher
Kelly Graber, who is from Newburgh, Indiana, has over 15 years of experience teaching 11th-grade Advanced Placement U.S. History. Kelly’s teaching methods are guided by a student-centered teaching philosophy that emphasizes the importance of personalized learning experiences. Kelly believes that history is not a static collection of facts but a dynamic narrative that empowers students to connect to historical ideas on a personal level; consequently, her classes extend beyond the confines of textbooks as Kelly is a firm advocate for an interactive, hands-on approach to history. By challenging her students to think like historians, she encourages a deeper engagement with the subject matter, critical thinking, and decision-making skills that help prepare her students to be productive and informed citizens. When not at school, Kelly enjoys reading historical fiction books, relaxing by the pool, and traveling with her family, especially going on trips to Disney World.
Weeks 1 and 2, Professional Development Specialist Master Teacher
Tomika L. Courtney-McClinton is the current District Specialist for Elementary Social Studies for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System in the beautiful port city of Savannah, Georgia. In her 27 years of teaching Tomika has earned multiple degrees and endorsements in the fields of Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Grades History and Social Science, Middle Grades Language Arts, Gifted Education, Reading, Coaching, Teacher Support and Coaching, and Personalized Learning. As a graduate and alumni of "THEE" Jackson State University, Tomika has continued her family legacy of membership in the illustrious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. which is the first historical intercollegiate African American sorority founded at Howard University in 1908. Tomika is enthusiastic about the teaching and learning of History and Social Studies and she finds joy in learning and experiencing different cultures, places, and people which has led her to an amazing love for travel, photography, writing, food, and music. She enjoys making loving memories with Anthony, her family, extended family, God children, and friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I attend the White House History Teacher Institute?
Participants are selected for the in-person WHHTI through an application review process. To apply, you must complete an online application that details how this program will enhance your teaching and submit your current resumé and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor.
When is the application deadline?
Applications for the in-person program will open on January 8, 2024, and will close on February 19, 2024. Acceptances will be sent by March 29, 2024.
Who is eligible to apply? Do I have to be a history teacher?
The Institute is open to any pre-service or current K-12 educator. This includes, but is not limited to, classroom teachers of history, government, civics, social studies, language arts, and fine arts, as well as librarians, media specialists, and curriculum coordinators. There are no limitations based on school type (i.e., public, private, charter, or homeschool).
Unfortunately, retired teachers, those who have already attended an in-person Institute, and educators outside of the United States are not eligible for the in-person program at this time.
Will you accept pre-service teachers?
Yes, the Institute will consider applications for the in-person Institute from those studying to become classroom teachers. However, pre-service teachers should have experience in the classroom or be currently student teaching at the time of their application.
Can multiple teachers from the same school apply?
Yes, teachers from the same school or district can apply to the program; however, educators applying from the same school will be assessed on their individual merit and not as a team.
I teach outside the United States. Can I still apply?
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept teachers from other countries at the in-person Teacher Institute. Teachers from the United States (including US territories) and teachers from DoDEA schools on US military bases overseas are welcome to apply. Please direct any questions you have about participation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can write the letter of recommendation for my application to the in-person Institute? What should it include?
Your letter of recommendation should come from someone that holds a supervisorial role and oversees your teaching to some degree. Examples include, but are not limited to, a principal, vice principal, superintendent, school administrator, or department chair. The letter should show support for your participation in the White House History Teacher Institute and speak generally of you as an educator.
How are participants for the in-person Institute selected? How many spaces are available each session?
Each week has space for approximately 30 participants. The number of overall applications for these spots varies per year. Each applicant is individually assessed by a review panel using a rubric. The rubric that will be used to evaluate applications in 2024 considers:
- Content Relation
- Teaching Style
- Reach Potential
When will I be notified if I have or have not been accepted?
All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by March 29, 2024.
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 sessions are at max capacity.
I attended the White House History Teacher Institute before. Can I apply again?
If you participated in an in-person WHHTI previously, you cannot apply for the in-person Institute again. However, if you have only previously participated in one of our virtual Teacher Institutes, you are welcome to apply to participate in the in-person program.
COSTS AND ACCOMMODATIONS for the in-person program
Is there a cost to attend the White House History Teacher Institute? When do I pay fees?
There is no application fee. Upon acceptance, we do require a $50 registration fee to confirm your spot. This payment covers administrative costs and is non-refundable. This is the only payment you will make to the White House Historical Association.
What expenses does the program cover (lodging, meals, and travel)?
- Lodging: We provide solo hotel rooms for FREE from Sunday to Saturday during each week of programming.
- Meals: The hotel provides complimentary breakfast each day and the Association covers full lunch Monday through Friday. Participants are responsible for their meals on Sunday and Saturday, along with dinners throughout the week.
- Travel: We do not cover travel costs initially. Each individual participant must make their own arrangements to get to and from Washington, D.C. However, we do provide a stipend (contingent on full attendance) to each participant to offset these costs.
Are there stipends/scholarships available?
Yes, dependent on full attendance and participation, in-person participants will receive a $1,000 stipend check after the Institute. Participants from Alaska, Hawai’i, and US military bases abroad will receive a $1,250 stipend to offset travel costs.
I have food allergies/restrictions/am a vegetarian or vegan. What kinds of meals will be served?
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 accommodations, on-site programing, and off-site visits during the session. The Institute does typically 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.
EXPECTATIONS for the in-person program
What can I expect at the Institute? How long are the days?
The White House History Teacher Institute days are structured to provide a mix of activities including historian lectures, classroom applications, and site visits. Participants will be expected to attend all sessions, all day Monday through Friday. In past years, the schedule has been approximately 8 am to 3 pm, with one night of evening programming.
We aim to provide a variety of experiences during the Institute. Previously, participants have visited St. John’s Church, participated in Ranger Talks on the National Mall and other National Park Service sites, had conversations with former White House staff members, and of course, have toured the White House with representatives from the Curator’s Office.
Exact timing, sessions, speakers, and tours for 2024 will be set at a later date.
Does the Institute include a visit to the White House? Will I meet the President or First Lady?
We plan to schedule a tour of the public spaces within the White House for each session, but this cannot be guaranteed and always has the possibility of being cancelled at the last minute due to circumstances outside of our control. Please also be aware that even if we tour the White House, we will not meet the president or first lady.
What are my responsibilities as a participant?
During the week, your responsibility is to be a fully active participant in the activities and discussions. During the school year, we ask that you keep us up to date about how you’re using what you learned at the Institute in your classroom and with your colleagues.
Do you offer graduate credits or state certified PD credits?
We currently do not offer any graduate credits or official professional development credits. Upon completion of the in-person Institute, you will receive a letter acknowledging approximately 40 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 D.C.? Should I drive?
For the in-person program, we encourage traveling by plane or train if possible. We do not recommend bringing a car, as our Institute’s lodging and location is in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. where parking is at a premium.
Can my spouse/child/friend participate?
Only educators accepted to the Institute may participate in the program’s activities and use the lodging provided. Using the provided hotel rooms to accommodate guests not accepted to the Institute is not permitted.
- This was one of the most well organized and engaging professional learning opportunities I've ever been to. Any teacher K-12 who teaches content related to U.S. history would find benefit for themselves and their students. – 2023 WHHTI Participant
- I would 100% recommend this to any educator looking to improve their knowledge of the White House or looking for the best professional development in Social Studies. – 2023 WHHTI Participant
- “My experience at the White House History Teacher Institute was everything I had hoped for and so much more. I had the opportunity to extend my learning as a student and as a teacher through collaboration and thought-provoking activities that I can bring back to my classroom.” – 2022 WHHTI Participant
- “This program is amazing. I loved it, it resparked my fire for teaching and made me so excited to go back to the classroom. I would highly recommend.” – 2019 WHHTI Participant
The White House Historical Association (WHHA) is a private non-profit educational organization with a mission to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the Executive Mansion.
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