Joplin Teacher Selected for National History Day Summer Webinar Series

(Washington, D.C.) – Mrs. Heather Van Otterloo, a teacher at South Middle School in Joplin, Missouri, is one of only 98 teachers selected for a National History Day® (NHD) summer professional development program. This new course focuses on using online Library of Congress resources to develop and support historical arguments and is a feature of NHD’s membership in the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Consortium. Over the course of the series, Mrs. Van Otterloo has explored digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress, engaged in four live webinar programs and discussions with fellow educators from across the country, and developed resources to use with students in her classroom. 

The National History Day program in Missouri selected Mrs. Van Otterloo. NHD affiliates include all 50 states and the District or Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and international school programs in China, South Asia, and South Korea.

“As a TPS Consortium member, we are thrilled to utilize the vast array of digitized primary sources made available online by the Library of Congress,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Garn. “At the conclusion of this course, Mrs. Van Otterloo will be able to share with students the key strategies for researching, supporting, and presenting historical arguments backed up by these primary sources. This is a crucial skill in teaching and learning good history, and is especially valuable now when so many students and teachers across the country are engaged in remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

As one of the selected teachers, Mrs. Van Otterloo receives free tuition, graduate credits, and materials for the online program.

About National History Day® (NHD):

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, The Better Angels Society, Jacqueline B. Mars, and BBVA. For more information, visit

About National History Day in Missouri:

Launched in 1980, National History Day in Missouri is the state affiliate of the National History Day educational program, which has half a million participants annually. Over 5,000 students compete in the Missouri program, with 600 advancing to the state competition held on the University of Missouri campus. National History Day in Missouri is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Missouri. Visit:

About The State Historical Society of Missouri:

Founded in 1898 and established as a trustee of the state a year later, SHSMO is the premier center for the study of Missouri state and local history. Through its education program, the Center for Missouri Studies, SHSMO collects, preserves, and publishes materials that enhance research and support learning opportunities in the study of the Midwest at six research centers around the state, with headquarters on the University of Missouri campus. Visit:


Justin Crawford, Director of Educational Support and Human Resources
Joplin Schools

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