Welcome, experienced AP teachers seeking deeper content knowledge and greater understanding of important topics of US history! The academy features content sessions led by six excellent university historians. In topical presentations, the historians share their research and the newest developments in ways relevant to teachers of the college-level survey in US history. Building on the history offered by the professors, sessions by James Sabathne, the academy facilitator, offer successful strategies for teaching AP students. Special pedagogical focus will address the challenge areas of teaching students to perform contextualization and complexity in their writing.


  • Content sessions by leading historians. In recent years topics have included:
    • Thomas Jefferson and the Early Republic
    • 20th-century culture and politics
    • Gender
    • American Indians
    • Diplomacy and foreign policy
    • Latinx Americans
    • The Southwest
    • African Americans
    • 19th-century politics
  • Pedagogical strategies for teaching students to contextualize topics and sources
  • Pedagogical approaches teaching students to write complex historical essays
  • Lessons aimed at developing historical thinking skills
  • Tactics to integrate secondary sources in the AP US History course

What participants should bring:

  • a laptop or tablet with a Wi-Fi capability
  • traditional supplies including some paper and a writing utensil.

Significant workshop materials will be distributed digitally via Dropbox.

Lead Instructor Biography:

James Sabathne (MA, NBCT) teaches AP US History and AP World History at Hononegah High School in Rockton, Illinois. He has served as an AP US History Reader, Table Leader and Exam Leader since 2001. He sat on the SAT II US History Subject Test Development Committee from 2008 to 2011 and the AP US History Test Development Committee from 2012 to 2017, including terms as co-chair. He has presented at numerous conferences including five AP annual meetings, the American Historical Association annual meeting, Best Practices Night at the AP US History Reading and the Organization of American Historians. His publications include “Past Forward: Articles from the Journal of American History,” volumes I and II (Oxford University Press, 2016); “Course Planning and Pacing Guide” resource for Eric Foner’s “Give Me Liberty,” third edition (W. W. Norton, 2014) and “Strive for a 5: Preparing for the AP World History Examination” (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013).

Speaker Schedule:

Thursday: Michelle Kuhl, PhD, University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh

Was the early 20th century a Progressive Era for African Americans?

Most US History textbooks have a section on the Progressive Era. Most African American history textbooks do not. Instead, history that centers African Americans periodizes the late 19th and early 20th century as the rise of the Jim Crow Era and pinpoints the beginning of progress with the Great Migration. Participants will draw on their own knowledge of this time period and engage with sources to determine the best way to characterize this era. Areas of investigation with qualitative primary documents include leadership strategies, criminal justice, education, politics, and labor. We will also have census data on life expectancy, literacy rates, school attendance, farm ownership, and other quantitative measures.


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