Since 2000 Andrea Sachs has taught high school juniors and seniors at St. Paul Academy and Summit School in Minnesota, offering American history courses ranging from the introductory survey to seminars on historiography, U.S. women's history, and U.S. social movements. Her interest in feminist social welfare history as well as the welfare reform debates of the 1990s informed her dissertation, "The Politics of Poverty: Race, Class, Motherhood, and the National Welfare Rights Organization, 1965–1975." From 2013 to 2016 Sachs served as the first K–12 teacher elected to the OAH executive board.
This lecture considers the challenges of crafting a coherent, engaging high school American history survey course. It pays particular attention to addressing pressing pedagogical and intellectual concerns in a political climate that has made high school survey courses a lightning rod in broader political debates. What role do survey courses play in students' emerging sense of themselves as citizens? How "celebratory" can and should such courses be? How do you turn information into knowledge in an era or smart phones?