Mary Hendra

As Program Director for Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation for Facing History and Ourselves, Mary leads workshops, seminars, and professional development in the greater Los Angeles area, works with individual teachers and faculty teams implementing Facing History in their classrooms, pilots new uses of digital tools and resources for education, and collaborates with formal and informal education organizations across Southern California.

Recent Posts

The 1619 Project

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 29, 2019

Facing History is proud to be partnering with The 1619 Project to get materials into the hands of teachers who wish to use this resource with their students.

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

If you are in the Southern California area, we invite you to come to a free, open house at the Facing History LA office in downtown Los Angeles to pick up magazines and broadsheets from The New York Times. We will hold this open house five times over the next 6 weeks to make it available for teachers on each day of the week.

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Topics: Slavery, In the news

Back to School - Telling a Story

Posted by Mary Hendra on August 15, 2019

As LA area schools go back to school, we want to feature the new "Back to School Toolkit" from Facing History. Each day this week, we will showcase one part of the toolkit.

In addition to establishing class norms and culture, the first week of school is a time to show students what the course will be like. I always loved introducing how my class would engage their curiosity and their voice through the activities we did early on. 

Lesson 5 of the Back-to-School Toolkit pulls back the curtain on the work of a historian, inviting students to engage more critically with historical narrative:

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Topics: Back-To-School

Special Speakers/Events Announced for 2019 Seminars

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 17, 2019

Summer is a special time for teachers. Non-educators often think of it as a time to relax or not work, but I always think of it as something far different - it is a time to recharge, to connect with other educators, to be more fully immersed in our own learning. It becomes the foundation for the work we do the rest of the year.  At Facing History, we love this opportunity to create spaces for learning and community for teachers.  This summer, we have some new seminars and exciting guests.  Please join us and share this with any educators you know who are looking to reinvigorate themselves and their teaching this summer. Scholarships are still available.

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Topics: Professional Development

What does "upstanding" look like to you?

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 15, 2019

As we've seen in our Upstander series this spring, "upstanding" takes many shapes.  We've shared stories that range from the very visible Nipsey Hussle to nameless "allies" making themselves visible in a march against hate, from individuals who have dedicated their work to shaping or re-shaping their community like Jessica Smith-Peterson and Arianne Edmonds to students just beginning to leverage their voices for change. What does "upstanding" look like to you?

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Topics: Upstanders, Upstander

Knock Down the House

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 29, 2019

Sometimes we think of learning how to be an upstander from those who have achieved amazing success.  I had the opportunity to see an early screening of Knock Down the House - releasing May 1, 2019 on Netflix - and it has me thinking instead of all we can learn from those who stand up, not knowing whether or not they will even succeed.  In this week's blog for our season of upstanding (#LAUpstander), I’d love to hear your thoughts on upstanding in film and what we learn from those upstanders whose success is by no means guaranteed.  

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Topics: Film, Upstanders, Upstander

What Opens YOUR World?

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 24, 2019

Jessica Smith-Peterson received the 2019 Los Angeles Upstander Award from Facing History this Spring. Jessica holds a special place in our hearts having been a student in one of our LA classrooms a dozen years ago! Since that first introduction to upstanding rather than bystanding and her first actions to challenge injustice on her own campus, Jessica has gone on to get her law degree, advance immigrant rights, and teach formerly convicted persons how to restore their voting rights. Upon receiving the award, she shared how Facing History “opened up a world wider than I could have imagined” and taught her how to walk in someone else’s shoes, a skill that is vital in her work today as a public defender.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Join Our #LAUpstander Campaign!

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 18, 2019

Have you been inspired by our #LAUpstander stories? Join us!

Become a social ambassador by sharing your #LAUpstander stories. Use the hashtag #LAUpstander, tag us at @FacingHistoryLA, and share short stories of your own upstanding or that of others.  Feel free to share our social media logo (below)!

Are you a teacher? check out this mini-unit based on 10 Questions for Young Changemakers developed by Harvard’s Professor Danielle Allen and the Youth Participatory Politics Network.

Are you a student or school leader? Or do you want to step up into leadership at your school? Get others thinking about upstanding at your next club, school, or faculty meeting with this 20-minute activity:

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Teaching the Holocaust with Listenwise & Facing History resources

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 11, 2019

In our last of three webinars with Listenwise, we explored the possibilities of pairing resources from Facing History and Ourselves and Listenwise to explore the history of the Holocaust. Due to technical difficulties recording the webinar, we weren't able to post it immediately afterwards, but in honor of the CUE Conference this week, we share it now.

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Topics: Holocaust and Human Behaviour, Listenwise

Museums Annual Free-for-All Day

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 31, 2019

February 2-3, 2019 are free days at museums across Southern CaliforniaWhere will you go?  We had some fun asking Facing History staff and teachers which museums they have in their sights.

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Topics: Los Angeles

Returning to Class Discussions after the LA Teachers Strike

Posted by Mary Hendra on January 22, 2019

Last week, the nation watched as LA teachers conducted the first work stoppage in LA Unified School District in 30 years. Despite a week of hard rain, teachers, students, parents, and community members were on picket lines. Why? And now that an agreement seems imminent, how can teachers and students in LA classrooms use this as a learning opportunity about education, as they transition back to school?

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Topics: Los Angeles, classroom lesson, Lesson Ideas

Welcome to Learn+Teach+Share

This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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