History and Social Studies

With a mission to engage all students–especially students with disabilities and English Learners–the Emerging America program at CES offers professional development, curriculum support, and online resources through EmergingAmerica.org, for K-12 teachers of civics, history and social studies.

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Our Approach

Students become energized to learn history when they understand how the past relates to their lives. Emerging America helps teachers develop lessons that speak to issues students care most about, including local communities, social justice, and civic engagement projects. Our approach features: 

  • Inquiry-based use of primary sources in the classroom.
  • Integration of literacy and practice standards (civic and historical thinking skills) that align with the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework. 
  • In-depth content from top scholars, including civic engagement and disability history topics in the forefront of state and national curricular innovation.
  • Practical strategies and guidance from veteran K-12 teachers.
  • Library of Congress resources that connect classrooms to national archives and networks.
  • Application of learning to develop and improve lessons, assessments, and activities for immediate use.


Based on the CES’ 40+ years of leadership in overcoming barriers for ALL learners, Emerging America emphasizes strategies to support struggling learners with a diversity of needs. 

painting of the Pioneer Valley Oxbow with Emerging  America logo

My participation in Emerging America courses on inquiry and accessibility for students with disabilities has changed how I teach. ALL of my students are more excited to participate in class.


High School Teacher 


On-site Consulting and Training

To discuss a range of possible services, including curriculum mapping, performance-based assessment, curriculum development, and training of trainers, contact Emerging America staff

Social Studies Professional Learning Community (PLC)

We coordinate a regional Western Mass Social Studies PLC, a supportive community of dynamic history and social studies school leaders. The PLC meets regularly, with no cost for participation.

Teaching with Primary Sources

Customized Professional Development

In collaboration with expert project teams and through partnerships with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program, National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture, and others, Emerging America offers educators a rich and diverse array of workshops, courses, and presentations. Most courses offer optional graduate credit in History or General Education through Westfield State University.

DisclaimerContent created and featured in partnership with the TPS program does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.

Featured Resources

Learn more about the resources available at Emerging America

Upcoming Offerings

The Collaborative for Educational Services provides professional development, continuing education, coaching and technical assistance online, in hybrid form, and in person. Our open enrollment courses, workshops, and other learning can also be brought on site to schools, districts and organizations, and customized to meet your organization’s needs. To the right are just a few of our open enrollment, active upcoming offerings. Please click the button below to see more.

Rich Cairn

Rich Cairn founded the Emerging America program in 2006. Emerging America’s Accessing Inquiry project focuses on inclusion of ALL learners in History, Civics, and Social Science classrooms, especially students with disabilities and English Learners. Emerging America played a vital role in advancing civics education at the heart of the 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework. Emerging America has been supported by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History Institutes, and Mass Humanities. A graduate of Yale University, Rich earned a Master of Public Affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. He is a recognized national leader in service-learning, civic engagement, performance assessment, environmental education, and history education. He has authored numerous books and multimedia, and has designed and led hundreds of teacher workshops. He is a lifelong social justice activist.

Position: Civics and Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction Specialist

Email: rcairn@collaborative.org

Phone: 413.586.4900 x5936

Alison Noyes

Alison leads the English Learner Collaborations project funded by a Library of Congress grant to the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies. She began her career as a teacher of English Language learners and high school history, and worked for many years with international students and college study abroad as a program director and assistant dean before returning to focus on engaging K-12 students. Alison is a graduate of Haverford College and received graduate training in methods of teaching English as a Second Language at Harvard University while teaching in their intensive English summer program. She received a Master of Arts in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and did graduate work in cultural psychology with field work in east and central Africa. She has worked on curriculum to engage students using theater arts techniques, and developed projects incorporating local and site-based history resources into teachers’ classrooms.

Position: Program Manager, Emerging America

Email: anoyes@collaborative.org

Phone: 413.586.4900 x5940

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