This mixed-methods study seeks to understand the impact of an intensive professional development program on (mainly rural) teachers' skills at teaching history in ways that are inquiry driven and that are connected to the community and to students' lives beyond the classroom. The professional development project was driven by a focus on community in three ways--a community of facilitators with diverse areas of expertise, communities of practice among participants, and an investigation of the local community. Through analyses of pre- and postmeasures, we examine teachers' growth in subject matter knowledge for teaching history, their curriculum design skills (as part of pedagogical content knowledge), and their self-efficacy in designing curriculum and teaching historical inquiry. We found that participants demonstrated growth in almost every area under investigation. Teachers who demonstrated particularly strong growth in their skills at designing curriculum used primary sources effectively, connected their lessons to the world beyond the classroom, and attempted to engage students intellectually. We conclude with implications for policy and practice and with theoretical considerations.
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