Information for Teachers

NHD - OC 2020 has gone virtual


Dear NHD-OC Participants, Families, and Coaches,.jpg 


Schools across Orange County participate in the NHD program by using it as a means to provide highly engaging history instruction and to showcase student achievement.  NHD directly supports the History / Social Science Framework (content, inquiry, literacy, citizenship), Common Core standards (project based learning, interconnected learning, etc.), the 21st Century Skills Framework (critical thinking, problem solving, etc.) and College and Career Readiness.

NHD projects can be used at the school site for rich project-based learning experiences and/or entered into a series of competitions, from the local to the national level, where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators.


Spotlight Award

DEADLINE for submission: Monday, February 24, 2020

The Spotlight Award ($500 award) will be presented to a 12th grade student who has participated in NHD-OC for a minimum of three (3) years including senior year and is planning to attend college in the fall.

The student's NHD-OC coach must make nomination for the award. A Coach may only nominate one student.   Members of the NHD-OC Team will select the honoree, and the winner will be announced at the annual NHD-OC Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

The student nominated for this award should demonstrate academic excellence, outstanding leadership, persistence, and strong care and concern for others.  The nominee should also be someone committed to not only working hard individually but who also takes responsibility for motivating and leading others to achieve their personal best. Nomination form

2020 Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute

Applications are being accepted for the 2020 Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute, sponsored by the Pearl Harbor Historic Site partners. This program will provide an exceptional opportunity for 16 student/teacher teams to study World War II in the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawai’i, from June 24 – July 1, 2020.

Details and application forms can be found here: The application deadline is Monday, December 2.

Ask an NEH Expert

NHD has posted new videos in conjunction with the National Endowment, “Ask an NEH Expert” series, focused on skills that can apply to ANY NHD project category. They  just posted the first three videos in this new series – one on building a historical argument, one on validating sources, and one on writing and editing tips.
Please share this link with your students as they prepare for upcoming contests (or revise to advance to the next level).

Yosemite Award

The Yosemite Invitation allows each county to advance one project from up to three new schools to the NHD-CA state competition.

The qualifications are:

· Your school must not have a winning project advancing from the county competition.
· Your school must have not participated in NHD within the last five contest years.
· As the teacher, you must be new to NHD.
· Entries for consideration are in either the Junior (grades 6-8) or Senior (grades 9-12) divisions.
· Only one project per school is eligible.
· You as the teacher, must commit to attend and judge at NHD-CA.

Selected entries will compete on the same level as all other entries attending NHD-CA, including the opportunity to represent NHD-CA at the NHD contest in Maryland.
Invitations will be sent to new schools / coaches in February.


The NHD-OC 2020 contest will take place on Friday March 13, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Senior Historical Paper, Senior Documentary and Senior Performance only and on Saturday, March 14, 2020 (all other divisions and categories) at the Orange County Department of Education.  
Contest Address:
Orange County Department of Education
200 Kalmus Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92628-9050
The Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at Orange County Department of Education.  

New Website Category Platform: NHD WebCentral

The National office, affiliate and regional contests are using a new platform for the website category this contest year. Please have your students use the new link for NHD WebCentral to review the instructional guides, videos and FAQ's. You may also wish to familiarize yourself with the new platform.

If you or your students have questions regarding NHD WebCentral, please contact NHD-OC at

NHD-OC contest information

Teachers and coaches may prepare for this year’s program and competition by reviewing the following resources:
·         Resources
·         Online Registration
·         Judging
·         Awards


Complete NHD-OC Intent to Participate to help us keep you informed about NHD.  You will receive pertinent materials and informational updates as they occur.  Completing the survey does not obligate you to participate in NHD-OC.  Deadline for Intent to Participate submission is December 13, 2019.
 ·        NHD Webinar
·         Mentor Coaches

·         NHD-OC Teacher Training PowerPoint  

Your most important responsibility is to mentor and support your students and assist them as they create their entry projects.  Review and edit the written materials, making sure students follow the rules for their entry. In order to help students prepare for competition, review the NHD-CA Handbook and coach students for their interview.


Judging is a crucial part of the NHD competition.  Each participating school is required to provide at least 3 volunteer judges. Experienced judges describe the process as the best way to understand the NHD program, so coaches can benefit from the judging process.  Judging enables you to assist your students more effectively as they develop their entries for competition.  Having enough judges also provides students with well- rounded feedback- and smaller categories. 

Please consider judging -- complete the Judge Registration Form
Entries Per Category NEW FOR 2020

The number of entries per school that can advance to the NHD-OC competition are:

  1. Elementary Division (grades 4-5) may send up to *three (3) entries for each of the two categories.
  2. Junior Division (grades 6-8) may send up to
    •  two (2) entries in Historical Paper and Website categories.
    •  *three (3) entries in: Exhibit, Documentary, and Performance categories.
  3. Senior Division (grades 9-12) may send up to
  • two (2) entries in Historical Paper and Website categories.
  •  *three (3) entries in: Exhibit, Documentary, and Performance categories. 

     *We strongly recommend that schools only send two (2) entries per category.  
NOTE:  Junior and Senior Divisions do not refer to grade levels!
Entry Categories
1.  Individual Poster (grades 4-5 only)
2.  Group Poster (grades 4-5 only)
3.  Individual Historical Paper
4.  Individual Documentary
5.  Group Documentary
6.  Individual Exhibit
7.  Group Exhibit
8.  Individual Performance
9.  Group Performance
10.Individual Website
11.Group Website
Online Registration  is CLOSED!
 Interview times will be posted a week before the contest.