Democracy. Diversity. Opportunity. Innovation. Collaboration. America’s story started here. Join with educators across Virginia to honor the legacy of 1619 by becoming a 2019 Commemoration School.


Choose from innovative project ideas included in the 2019 Schools toolkit below or connect 2019 Schools to existing school, library, and class initiatives related to the themes of democracy, diversity, opportunity, innovation, and collaboration. How you participate is up to you. Be sure to share your 2019 spirit projects all year long by using #2019Schools!

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What is American Evolution?

The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution, honors the 400th anniversary of key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. The year 1619 was a pivotal year in the establishment of the first permanent English Colony in North America. It was the year of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Virginia colony.

What is 2019 Schools?

The 2019 Commemoration Schools program is a yearlong challenge for school communities in Virginia to demonstrate their 2019 spirit through participation in contests, projects, and activities that are sponsored by the 2019 Commemoration and partners or are unique to communities, schools, and divisions.

Is this limited to history teachers?

No! Faculty and staff from all disciplines are encouraged to sign up.

Can private schools/ homeschool students participate?

Yes! Public, private, and homeschools can participate in 2019 Schools.

How do I sign up?

Register your school for 2019 Schools by signing up below.

Why should I participate?

  • Increase your students’ understanding of Virginia’s history and future!
  • Receive official recognition by the Commonwealth of Virginia, including a letter of recognition from the Governor of Virginia
  • Use of an exclusive banner to show your 2019 Pride

Becoming a 2019 Commemoration School is easy.

Consider forming a 2019 Commemoration Schools project team at your school to engage multiple grade levels and content areas.
Sign up to be a 2019 Commemoration School and check out the online toolkit for project ideas and inspiration!
Infuse your school and learning communities with the spirit of 2019 with ideas from the 2019 Commemoration Schools online toolkit or by creating your own #2019Schools initiatives.
Share your #2019Schools journey using the program hashtag, and send us photos and examples of student work here.


Register today to receive your free 2019 Commemoration Schools project box!

*Please note: The 2019 Schools project box contains resources for an entire content team/grade level. Only one box will be mailed per grade level/content area per school.

Once schools have officially registered, they are included on our official map by location and project type. Check out which schools are involved near you!




Whether you’re a teacher, librarian, or school or division leader, there’s a #2019Schools project perfect for your learning community!


Virginia History Trails App

Use the Virginia History Trails app with your students to explore significant stories, people, and places in your community and around the Commonwealth! Students can create their own collaborative history trails using Google Maps, or explore and analyze the app’s themed trails to better comprehend Virginia’s significance to the American story. Learn more here.

Video and Audio Resources

Check out our video and audio resources page for relevant and innovative digital resources you can use with your students all year long.

  • Guardians of Jamestown, 1619 is an innovative educational video series that brings the historic events of 1619 to life for elementary students.
  • Our Virginia to America video series highlights important stories from contemporary Virginians on how the past continues to impact their local communities, including videos on the Students Civil Rights Movement, Suffragists in Virginia History, and the Evolution of Democracy and Freedom in Virginia.

Our American Story: A Student Contest

“Our American Story” is a digital student contest for 8th-12th grades designed to foster cooperative learning and critical thinking among our nation’s emerging leaders. Students create their own teams, choose one of three video prompts (Democracy, Diversity, and Opportunity) as inspiration for the project, and unleash their creativity. The contest is open from August – November 2018. Find more information on the contest and how to enter here.

Teach Media Literacy with the First Freedom Wall

Improve your students’ media literacy with the first of its kind digital First Freedom Wall, a collaboration between the 2019 Commemoration and UVA’s Youth Leadership Initiative. Intended to mirror the stationary First Amendment Wall in downtown Charlottesville, the curated virtual wall will encourage secondary students across the country to communicate online on a variety of contemporary civics topics, and is a great resource for teaching students the importance of civil dialogue and talking across the political divide.

Virginia Changemakers and Virginia History Day 2019

Participating in Virginia History Day with your students, or just looking for Virginia research topics? We have you covered. Visit our National History Day page for project topic ideas and be sure to register for our webinar with the Virginia Museum of History and Culture on October 11th here.

Digital Learning Day 2019

Engage your students with Digital Learning Day and #2019Schools. Learn more about Digital Learning Day here and check back for project ideas.

Week of Thanks 2018

Join with other Virginia educators to “Take Back the Spirit of Thanksgiving” by participating in a Week of Thanks November 12-16, 2018. Check out the Week of Thanks programming ideas (giving drives, school-wide art projects, storytelling, postcard campaigns, and more) Here, or connect 2019 Schools to what you’re already doing in your school and classroom communities to mark the Thanksgiving season.


2019 Schools Multicultural Book Displays

Libraries are for everyone. Celebrate diverse storytelling by creating book displays in your school’s media center that feature diverse voices and relevant themes like heritage, history, civics, identity, social justice, acceptance, and more. Choose from books in the 2019 Schools Reading List or recommended titles from the American Library Association. Additionally, consider creating a themed display around the themes of the Commemoration (democracy, diversity, and opportunity) or relevant heritage months. See examples of how schools are honoring diverse storytelling here.

2019 Schools Reading Challenge

Align your school and division reading challenges to the themes of democracy, diversity, or opportunity, or design a reading challenge that features titles from the 2019 Schools Reading List.

Read Across America

Celebrate diverse readers by planning a March 2019 Read Across America celebration at your school that highlights books with diverse storytellers and characters. Check back here for more ideas.

Makerspace Project Ideas

Libraries are for creating. Set up a makerspace that combines social studies and history with making. Encourage students to create a project inspired by a “changemaker” in Virginia or American history that changed the world for the better, using tools and materials in your library’s makerspace. Find project examples here and here .To learn more about encouraging creativity through making, check out the Renovated Learning blog.

Digital Book Reviews with QR Codes

Encourage your students to think critically and creatively by completing digital book reviews with QR codes. Challenge students to assess the diversity of your library’s collection with their reviews, or write plot summaries that can be shared digitally with their fellow students. Read about how Mr. Hart in Henrico County uses QR codes to review books with his students here. For more information on using QR codes in your school community, visit


Student Elections

Use student elections as a means to showcase the legacy of 1619—democracy in action!

Multiculturalism in Your School Community

Take your 2019 Schools spirit outside of the classroom. Align school events—assemblies, concerts, plays, family nights—with the themes of the Commemoration or honor 1619 by celebrating the diversity of your student population.

  • Host a multicultural night for students and their families to learn more about other cultures. Gain inspiration from Walt Disney Elementary in Indiana and plan a multicultural celebration at your school.
  • Encourage students to tell their own stories with classroom or school-wide interactive bulletin boards and murals. Check out school and class mural projects here and here for inspiration!

Student Clubs and Organizations

Encourage student clubs and organizations to get involved. Service learning, book and food drives, and school-wide interactive art displays are just a few of the ways that student groups can lead their schools in commemorating 1619.

2019 Schools Facebook Group

2019 Schools Facebook Group


National Mock Election with UVA's Youth Leadership Initiative

Each year, YLI conducts the largest secure, student-only, online mock election in the nation, using electronic ballots tailored to each student’s home legislative district. Find out more here.

Library of Virginia Strong Men and Women in History Contest 2018

High school students in Virginia are invited to honor outstanding African Americans by participating in Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia’s Strong Men & Women in Virginia History student writing contest. Four winning essays will be chosen, one from each of the four regions in the state. Visit the Library of Virginia’s website to learn more. 

Visit Montpelier

What’s a field trip to Montpelier like? All students receive a guided tour of the Madisons’ beloved home led by one of our specially trained educators. House tours are tailored to fit any grade-level and cover many historical topics.

Visit Jamestown Settlement

Near the site of the original colony, Jamestown Settlement tells the story of 17th-century Virginia; from the arrival of English colonists in Jamestown in 1607 to the cultural encounters and events that planted the seeds of a new nation. The world of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English colony, comes to life through film, gallery exhibits, and outdoor living history.

Youth of the Blue Ridge Contest

Virginia Kids Trail is excited to announce our first ever platform to highlight youth in our surrounding communities! Not just any youth, though. These kids, who can be nominated by others or themselves, have done extraordinary things ranging from community betterment, high achieving academics, unique moments that they overcame, or perhaps they helped save a turtle from the middle of the road. It’s the story that matters. There will be a total of 4 winners over the course of the program that will end in 2019.

Click HERE for more information.