Inside The Center April 2024 – Behind the Scenes: K–12 Education Program

April’s Behind the Scenes spotlights The Center’s dynamic K–12 Education Program. Director of Education Nicole Moore shares insights on the upcoming digital NCCHR Learning Portal and offers a glimpse into her team’s ambitious goals for 2024 and beyond. 

What makes the Learning Portal such a valuable resource for our community? 

We developed the Portal, in part, to enrich visits to The Center for our K–12 audiences. Educators often lack sufficient time to thoroughly cover many subjects required by state standards. The Portal will enable teachers to enhance their units of study and offer additional content as they prepare for field trips to The Center or debrief students afterward. 

But we also seek to assist teachers across the country. Our new Portal will engage teachers wherever they are.   

How did you approach developing the Portal? 

The idea for the Portal began in 2017 when teachers and students, after visiting The Center, contacted our team for more information about individuals and moments highlighted in the museum. Recognizing this need, we initially envisioned the project as an encyclopedia anchored by The Center’s content. However, as we delved deeper, the concept evolved into a comprehensive digital extension of the museum, offering educational resources online.  

It’s important to note that these resources encompass diverse primary sources, such as newspaper articles, photographs, speeches, and books. We prioritize objective facts in our content, ensuring the materials provided are informative and reliable for educators and students. 

How will the Portal work?  

We’ve invested considerable effort into making the Portal user-friendly and interactive. Upon launch, it will feature an online hub offering free curricular materials that educators can easily download and integrate into their lessons. In the coming year, we will introduce a community space where educators can share resources, continue professional development, and connect with peers. Looking ahead, we aim to incorporate virtual experiences to enhance accessibility to the museum, particularly for students who may face barriers to physical visits. 

What are the near- and long-term goals for the Education Program?  

Our near-term goal is to complete Phase One of the Portal with a soft launch planned for this spring for a limited audience. This approach will enable us to gather feedback, collect user experience data, and fine-tune our content before the full launch to everyone in November. 

Our long-term goals include growing our team by hiring an Education Coordinator to support the department, particularly our Affiliate Partner program. Through this program, we provide educational and professional development resources to students and faculty, such as in-school visits, that extend the impact of our Center experience. 

Additionally, as our museum expands, we look forward to opening our Civil Rights Teaching Fellowship to a national audience—to build community among teachers nationwide and provide them access to resources and scholars specializing in civil and human rights histories. 

We strive to be the “go-to” resource for authentic historical materials that promote the truth of history, encourage civic engagement, and foster a deeper understanding of how our past influences our present and future.

How do you see the Education Department’s role at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights?  

We’re the people who bring history alive for students and provide teachers with tools to teach civil rights history by provoking critical thinking about democratic practice and civic participation. We provide context, information, and a space for thoughtful conversations and deliberative dialogue around historical events. As Director of Education, I also see our role going beyond the schools and serving everyone who wants to learn and know more.  

How can people support the mission of the Education Department?  

They can utilize our resources, spread the word about our professional development opportunities for educators, and, of course, help fund our efforts. Financial support is vital to continue developing the Portal and its curricular materials.