Teaching for Black Lives Teacher Study Groups

The Zinn Education Project has received funding from a generous group of donors to support 25 Teaching for Black Lives Teacher Study Groups this school year as part of the Teach the Black Freedom Struggle campaign. This is a free professional learning opportunity. Each group will receive:

  • A copy of the book Teaching for Black Lives for each participant
  • A Rethinking Schools magazine subscription for each participant
  • Presentation, workshop, or discussion with one of the Teaching for Black Lives editors or contributors, or a “people’s historian” —an expert on one or more aspects of the Black freedom struggle
  • Public recognition
  • Access to a network of other teacher study groups across the United States

The structure and format can vary (see suggestions below) according to the goals of the group. 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. They are open to teachers from across the United States. We will give priority to applications from the state of Washington and from the South, but encourage groups everywhere to apply. We will also prioritize public schools.

Once selected, the teacher study groups will have a liaison from the Zinn Education Project who will facilitate the visit by the Teaching for Black Lives editor. The liaison will also collect stories from each of the groups to share among the network of teacher study groups.

Goals and Format Suggestions 

You might adapt and/or combine these ideas to create a plan that is right for your group. 

School- or District-Based Professional Learning Community (PLC) or Book Study

  • Regular meetings to discuss chapters and create individual and/or collective action plans around each of the book’s five sections.
  • Example: 10 teachers, representing a variety of different subject areas in a single school, agree to read the book over seven months, meeting monthly. For one of those sessions, they have a dialogue with one of the Teaching for Black Lives editors. At the end of the school year, they share an action plan with the larger school community. 

Curriculum Work

  • Convene a group of educators to work on designing a course, unit of study, or curricular framework that “teaches for Black lives.” Use the book as an analytic framework and some of its lessons as models for your own work. 
  • Bring a member of Zinn Education Project people’s historians network to share their expertise and deepen your foundation for curriculum writing. 
  • Example: A group of educators would like to better understand and write curriculum addressing environmental racism — and the fight against it — in their city. They meet multiple times over the course of a year to learn more about the issue, design and test lessons, and find ways to share the work with colleagues and the broader school community. 

Professional Development

  • Host a study group to plan professional development for your school. The guest presentation by a Teaching for Black Lives author or editor can be part of the professional development for educators in your school, district, or community.
  • Example: A study group of ELA/SS teachers meets to deepen instruction about the Reconstruction era in both English and social studies courses in their high school. The team invites a Zinn Education Project teacher to deliver a workshop on Teaching Reconstruction for educators across the district. Follow-up meetings focus on designing and implementing new Reconstruction curriculum.

Institutional Change


  • The ideas above are suggestions. We welcome proposals with other ideas and formats.


Please take your time with this application. We need detailed responses on which to base our selection. Note that the first round of groups has been selected. Your application will be held for consideration once funds are available to sponsor more groups.


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