Jill Cross, dean of curriculum and instruction at TMI Episcopal, spent part of her summer vacation as a master teacher at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, a program of summer sessions that demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach to teaching social studies.
Partnered with employees of the living-history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, master teachers facilitate a weeklong immersion in American history that provides participants with interactive teaching techniques to become mentors to other educators in developing active-learning classrooms that make history exciting to students.
During her session, Cross worked with 24 teachers from around the country. Throughout each day, participants work with Colonial Williamsburg staff and a master teacher to learn interactive techniques and to develop instructional materials intended to enhance thinking skills and to bring history to life in the classroom.
“Serving as a Master Teacher allows me to hone my facilitation skills and learn more about working with adult learners,” Cross said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for history and my love of teaching/learning with educators each summer through this program.”
Since the program began in 1990, nearly 10,000 teachers from all 50 states, two U.S. territories and five foreign countries have participated.
Recognized as an Influence Leader by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Cross is a nationally board certified teacher who was formerly the curriculum integration specialist at a museum magnet school. She has coordinated development of standards and curriculum for both public and private schools and is a frequent presenter at national conferences on 21st-century learning skills, arts integration and project-based learning. Cross also is the author of a section of the book “Fueled by Coffee and Love: A Brew Perspective,” edited by Mari Venturino, in which Cross writes about her early year of teaching in urban schools, the students who inspired her and the educators who supported her.
Colonial Williamsburg is a community returned to its 18 th -century appearance as a center for history and citizenship, encouraging the study, interpretation and teaching of America’s founding democratic principles.