Regardless of where we grew up, it’s entirely too easy to miss significant historical events and circumstances that happened virtually in our own backyards. That’s the message that Dr. Rosalyn Washington and Jim Ekrut shared at the annual National Conference for Social Studies held recently in Philadelphia. 

Rosalyn and Jim are Professional Learning Specialists for NCCE, a national non-profit training source for educators that is showcasing its new online course, “Crossroads of History.” The course is co-sponsored by the Library of Congress and the Metropolitan University of Denver and is completely free to educators and community leaders in the Library’s Western Region (course access information here). 

The goal of the course includes guiding participants to develop lesson activities that take advantage of the Library of Congress’ vast collection of primary sources while highlighting the stories of minorities nearby, their history of challenges and progress.  

At the conference, the pair led a poster session that shared news of the course with helpful resources linked to this course and other offerings from NCCE. They enjoyed meeting a host of educators both from the Western Region and beyond, including leaders from the sponsoring organizations.   

Jim and Roslyn Presenting

Responses to the course have been overwhelmingly positive, such as this quote from Jennifer Johns, whose project studied the effects of Indian Boarding Schools:  

“Thank you very much for the wonderful experience in Crossroads of History. During my research I learned so much that will make me a better facilitator for teachers on the subject of addressing social justice in the classroom. My work coincided with NA Heritage month, and I was able to watch many OBS offerings, a Smithsonian film festival, and read a book all of which fit right into what I was doing. Boarding schools came up in every one of these programs or readings. Very powerful.” 

Jennifer Johns 

 Shannon Davenport, Director of Professional Learning for NCCE, is looking forward to this course becoming freely available nationwide, hopefully later this year. In the meantime, educators beyond the Library’s Western Region can offer course access to their educational institutions on a fee basis or inquire personally to NCCE by writing 

The annual conference demonstrated that a host of educators are interested in promoting better understanding and support by studying original artifacts of those in our communities’ history whose struggles may not be immediately obvious and teaching principles such as diversity, justice, and advocacy. Crossroads of History is dedicated to this end. 

NCCE’s Crossroads of History Project is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Western Region Program, coordinated by the Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

JimJim Ekrut 


 Educational Technologist  

Fort Worth, Texas 

NCCE Professional Learning Specialist 




RosalynRosalyn Washington 


 Assistant Professor  

Wilmington, DE 

NCCE Professional Learning Specialist

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