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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.

This immersive teacher professional development is a five-day summer program in Washington, D.C hosted by the White House Historical Association. The Institute features discussions with historians, local site visits, inquiry-based learning activities, special speakers, exclusive access to resources, and networking with fellow educators from across the country.

For 2020, we will be offering two sessions:

  1. July 6-10, 2020
  2. July 13-17, 2020

I left with a complete picture of the importance of the White House to our country.

— 2019 WHHTI Participant

During WHHTI, the program will work 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 surrounding neighborhood reflect larger movements and changes in United States history?
  • Who has contributed to the White House over the centuries? What stories of individuals have gone untold in popular White House narratives?
  • How has the White House facilitated the role of the Executive Branch and the duties of the President of the United States?
  • How did the White House evolve to simultaneously act as a home, office, museum, and stage?

The program is open to all K-12 educators. In order to attend, you must apply as space is limited.

Applications open on December 1, 2019 and close February 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST.

Apply December 1

See below for more information in our Frequently Asked Questions or email us at education@whha.org. To receive news about the Association’s education programs and resources, sign-up here.

Frequently Asked Questions

APPLICATIONS

How do I attend the White House History Teacher Institute?

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 and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor.

When is the application deadline?

For summer 2020, applications will open on December 1, 2019 12:00 am EST and close February 1, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST. Late or incomplete entries will not be considered; this includes late submissions of your resume and/or letter of recommendation.

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

The Institute is open to any K-12 educator. This includes, but is not limited to, classroom teachers of history, government, 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).

Will you accept pre-service teachers?

Yes, the Institute will consider applications 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?

Yes, educators from other countries may apply if you teach content that is relevant to White House history. Also, please be aware that this program is facilitated in the English language. If accepted, you will receive the same stipend as those within the continental United States (exception for Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories).

Who can write the letter of recommendation for my application? 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 participant 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 that considers:

  1. Content Relation: teaching lessons, creating curriculum, or providing resources that can directly connect with White House history subjects.
  2. Teaching Style: uses inventive instruction methods; shows willingness to incorporate technology when applicable and integrate new content; consideration of multiple learning styles
  3. Collaboration: readiness to participate in program activities, openness to hearing different perspectives, and constructively contribute to discussions with fellow participants.
  4. Reach Potential: ability to widely share the content and experiences gained with students and other teachers.

Special consideration will be given to educators in states not reached by the Institute previously: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

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

The 2020 application period closes February 1st at 11:59 PM, and we need time to properly review all applications. Decisions will be made and every applicant will receive an email by March 1, 2020 indicating if they have been accepted, declined, or waitlisted.

All accepted applicants must confirm their spot within two weeks by completing an online form, paying the $50 registration fee, and agreeing to the participant responsibilities.

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 previously, you can not apply for the Institute again, but we are working on creating a companion program for a few alumni to come back as master teachers each summer. Please email education@whha.org for more information if you are interested.

Additionally, please stay in touch and provide us with updated contact info. We send alumni exclusive newsletters and emails where you can get early access to resources and new opportunities.

COSTS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

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 registration fee to confirm your spot. Through generous donations, we have been able to cut the registration fee in half to only $50 for our 2020 program. 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: For 2020, we will be providing shared hotel rooms at the Sofitel for FREE from Sunday to Saturday. Each room will house two participants with two beds and one bathroom.
  • Meals: We provide breakfast and lunch Monday to 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 Sofitel/Washington, D.C. However, we do provide a stipend (contingent on full attendance) to each participant to off-set these costs.

Are there stipends or scholarships available?

Yes, dependent on full attendance and participation, every participant will receive a $500 stipend check. In an effort to make our program more financially accessible, this amount equals to the average cost of transportation (airfare/train and metro), dinners, and other meals not provided during the Institute. No receipts are required. In previous years, the checks are provided after the end of the Institute.

  • For 2020, special consideration for those educators from Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Territories: You will receive an additional $250 on top of the regular stipend for a total of $750 to off-set your higher travel costs.

Can I request a single room for lodging?

We only provided shared housing for participants. Those who prefer a private room will be responsible for their own arrangements.

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

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. Past years, the schedule has been 9 am to 5 pm.

We hope to repeat many of the same experiences from previous years which have included activities at the Diplomacy Center and Diplomatic Reception Rooms within the U.S. Department of State, conversations with former White House staff members, and a tour of Lafayette Park.

Exact timing, sessions, speakers, and tours will not be set until spring 2020.

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 last minute due to circumstances outside of our control. Please also aware that even if we tour the mansion, we will not meet the president or first lady.

What are my responsibilities as a participant?

Prior to attending the Institute, we will send short readings for you to begin to immerse yourself in White House history.

During the week, your responsibility is to be a fully active participant in the activities and discussions.

Within the following school year, we ask you to complete at least one presentation about the Institute and/or White House Historical Association resources. This is a new requirement for 2020 participants.

This presentation is flexible in size and scope. Examples include but are not limited to a lesson for students or lecture for other educators at an in-service day. In order to fulfill this requirement, you will submit evidence (PowerPoint slides, photos, etc.) and write a short summary of your presentation.

OTHER

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 Institute, 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 D.C.? Should I drive?

We encourage traveling by plane or train if at all 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.

Testimonials

  • “I would highly recommend the White House History Teacher Institute to others. The organization of the program was effective -- I knew exactly what I would be doing each and every day. The information gained will be very helpful in the classroom. The activities could be integrated into the classroom very easily.” – 2018 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
  • “Everything was fantastic - the lecturers were great and certainly bolstered my knowledge of content and meeting the other educators around the country and sharing ideas will help my teaching practice. I consider it the best PD I have been to.” – 2018 WHHTI Participant
  • “Informative, professional, hands-on, content rich, and awesome! Full immersion in the history of the White House and how it impacts our country—it is a history teacher’s dream!” – 2017 WHHTI Participant

2017 White House History Teacher Institute Video

White House Historical Association

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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