NPT offers free virtual ‘American Portrait’ storytelling workshops for educators

American Portrait Educator Series

NPT is offering a free virtual professional development series for educators working with students 13 and older. NPT’s American Portrait Educator Series features resources and free access to the PBS LearningMedia American Portrait collection to support participants in building their own storytelling curriculum. The two-part, four-hour workshop takes place Tuesday and Thursday, Feb. 2 and 4, and will be held over the Zoom meeting platform. Professional development credits are available to participants, who will also receive a mailed pack of educational resources to help extend this storytelling opportunity in their community or classroom.

Descriptions of the workshops follow. Information is also available at

Part 1: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2 – 3 p.m.

NPT’s American Portrait workshops begin with an overview of the storytelling project’s PBS LearningMedia collection along with information on accessing and navigating this educational portal. This introductory session also features a panel including Caroline Bauman (Chalkbeat); Alexza Barajas Clark, Ph.D. (The Education Trust of Tennessee); Shawn Anfinson (producer of NPT’s Next Door Neighbors documentaries); and students Ruby Aguilar (Lipscomb University) and Monserrat Escobar Arteaga (Southern Word). WPLN’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán will moderate a discussion about making personal stories public, the power of doing so and the necessary precautions that should be taken. This dialogue will aid local educators working with diverse youth and/or adult learners to provide their own honest and multicultural reflection on: What does it really means to be an American today?

Part 2: Thursday, Feb. 4, 1 – 3 p.m.

This virtual workshop will offer presentations highlighting two local storytelling projects to give educators further insights in how to publish their own stories. During the first half, participants will meet with Alexza Barajas Clark, Ph.D., assistant director of The Education Trust in Tennessee, for an in-depth look into EmpowerED. The Ed Trust’s virtual storytelling space was developed with students across the state. Participants will also receive tips on how to develop their own prospectus.

In the second part of the workshop, Southern Word mentors will host a virtual writing studio to foster artistic expression and create a space for participants to share real life experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to publish these stories using the PBS American Portrait platform.

PBS American Portrait is a four-part crowdsourced series that considers the question: What does it really mean to be an American today? The series airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NPT through Jan. 26 and is also available to stream at

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