For Schools

backwards planning and skills mappingExperience

UCBHSSP has experience leading many different forms of professional development, from a workshop series for a single department to whole district reform across grades and disciplines. We work with the needs of students, teachers, and administrators to help increase student achievement and address required skills within the context of a particular district or site.


We begin our work with teachers after a general needs assessment with stakeholders. Our explicit planning model encourages teachers to make conscious choices about how and what they teach. We introduce the use of concept maps that can serve to visually assist in the develoment of inquiry-driven units, which embed discrete lessons on disciplinary literacy (reading, writing, and thinking). For the last ten years we have developed a suite of learning strategies to address the literacy demands in history classrooms. More recently, we have begun piloting strategies for the explicit instruction of historical thinking.

The H-SS Framework

The History-Social Science framework, adopted in July 2016, parallels the UCBHSSP approach, asking teachers to develop inquiry-driven courses of instruction that integrate the content standards, Common Core Standards for Literacy in History, and integrate ELD instructional models. UCBHSSP can work alongside teachers in devising inquiry questions, identifying content to prioritize, selecting supplemental materials, and designing learning strategies. Learn more about our support of H-SS Framework implementation and  changes to instruction

The Common Core

The Common Core standards recognize that reading and writing are not simply the domain of English teachers and that there are distinct ways of reading and writing with specific disciplines. UCBHSSP's work on academic literacy serves as a bedrock for its work with teachers, offering select literacy strategies that can drive learning in history classrooms.

English Language Development

Building on the academic literacy now expected in all H-SS classrooms, UCBHSSP understands that English learners may require additional instructional supports to ensure both comprehension and deeper thinking. UCBHSSP guides teachers in the thoughtful excerpting of texts for a range of literacy levels and the design of learning strategies that can empower students and amplify their learning. 


The UCBHSSP’s approach of content, historical thinking, and academic literacy strategies has been formally evaluated through its Teaching American History Grant with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. In a quasi-experimental evaluation, the CST scores among students of participating teachers showed statistically significant growth compared with students taught by a non-TAH Grant teacher. In 2011, the evaluation showed this same statistically significant growth for TAH Grant students on the 8th grade ELA test.

Read more about these evaluation results and other growth at schools as well as samples of curriculum we have developed  with partner organizations.

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