Primary Source is a nonprofit organization based in the Boston area that works to advance global education in schools.

Our Founders

In the late 1980s, teacher and historian Anna Roelofs was searching for a way to make history more exciting for students. She knew that the key to inspiring children was to get rich content and primary sources into the hands of educators. She met a receptive audience in school administrator Anne Watt, whom she met when they co-led a workshop at Harvard. Together, our co-founders soon discovered they shared a passion for cultural diversity and a vision for how adults learn.

Struck by a lack of global learning in the curriculum, they became committed to making sure K-12 teachers had a deep knowledge of a variety of cultures, including those within the U.S. The following summer, their shared vision launched Primary Source, with an inaugural summer institute that attracted sixteen teachers to study world cultures.

Our Educational Model

Our programs bring together university-based scholars and expert teachers who have already translated scholarly material into classroom lessons. By fostering a climate of intellectual exchange between university scholars and teachers, we acknowledge the pivotal role teachers play in the creation of a more aware American public. Teachers are able to obtain professional development points after completing all of our programs and graduate credit after completing our full-day school year seminar series and summer institutes. The strategies and educational components of our programs vary and address different needs, including those of elementary, middle, and high school teachers, principals, superintendents, and policy makers.

Our Future

Since its founding in 1989, Primary Source has grown significantly in programmatic depth and geographic reach. Our engaging and accessible face-to-face and online programs, curriculum resources, and international study tours help thousands of teachers every year bring the wider world to their students.