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(K-12) Engaging Students in Academic Discussions is a Course

(K-12) Engaging Students in Academic Discussions

Ended Jun 30, 2018

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Full course description

Course Date:

Sept 25 - Dec 4, 2017


10 weeks


1 hr/week


See below

Course Type:



Certificate (free)


This course will provide middle and high school ELA and social studies teachers with the tools they need to facilitate meaningful academic discussions in their classrooms - even around controversial issues. Through a combination of tried-and-tested methodology, timely and standards-aligned curriculum materials, and support and feedback from fellow educators, participants in this course can expect to grow as practitioners and provide positive outcomes for their students.


Participants will be able to:

  • Use civil conversations as a small group conversation strategy to build students’ academic reading, writing, critical thinking, and discussion skills.
  • Increase the amount of small group conversations in their everyday classroom practices.
  • Use role plays and simulations with their students as a strategy to engage students in academic discussions.
  • Build a network of innovative, proactive, and risk-taking educators proficient in collaborating and sharing their results.

Requirement: The only requirement is that participants be middle and/or high school ELA or social studies teachers.

Target Audience: Middle and high school ELA and social studies teachers.

Course is offered by The Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Course Instructors

Dr. Scott M. Petri

Dr. Scott M. Petri


Scott has taught social studies at the middle and high school level since 2003. He has also served as a coordinator and small school principal in LAUSD. Read More.

He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Masters in Educational Administration from California State University Northridge, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of San Diego. Dr. Petri is President-Elect of the Southern California Social Science Association and is a Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) Teacher Leader.

Laura Wesley

Laura Wesley


Laura assists in overseeing the Constitutional Rights Foundation's (CRF) programs for elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers. Read More.

Laura has extensive experience with program design and implementation and teacher professional development. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior, and criminology law and society from University of California, Irvine, and her law degree from University of Colorado, Boulder. She is licensed to practice in Colorado and California and spent time in the classroom as a middle school teacher.

Keri Doggett

Keri Doggett


At the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF), Keri oversees their programs and participates in their design and dissemination for elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers. Read More.

She develops curriculum materials, provides leadership in the design and delivery of CRF teacher professional development, works directly with researchers to evaluate CRF programs, and works with Marshall Croddy and the Board of Directors on fundraising, making new partnerships, and outreach. In her tenure at CRF she has directed national, state, and local programs including History Day, over a dozen Teaching American History projects, and Civic Action Project. Prior to joining CRF, Keri taught for ten years in Jefferson County Public Schools in Colorado.

Sarah Badawi

Sarah Badawi


Sarah is an experienced educator who worked as a middle and high school social studies teacher and school administrator for 14 years in the United States, Colombia, and Jordan. Read More.

She is certified as a social studies and special education teacher in the District of Columbia and has extensive experience working with English Language Learners and students with learning disabilities. Sarah earned her M.A.T. in History from Boston College and her B.A. in International Studies from American University.