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July 15, 2003, Extra Credit
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July 15, 2003
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No Child Left Behind's Teaching American History Program Helps Teachers "Bring History Alive"
The Teaching American History grant program, part of the No Child Left Behind Act, supports three-year projects to improve teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for traditional American history through intensive, ongoing professional development. Following are excerpts from an article in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer about teachers who benefit from the program:

"[Teachers] are participating in the first stage of a three-year district project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to give educators a new perspective on whetting students' interest in American history. For four months, the teachers attended lectures and toured historical sites, including the USS New Jersey in Camden and the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. They were learning how to incorporate history into lesson plans and make the subject relevant by focusing on events and places significant to the region."

"Teachers need more training, experts say, and the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching American History program is awarding grants to help. Last year, Gloucester City was the only South Jersey district to receive one, getting $400,000. The Philadelphia School District received $900,000, also last year, for a project in collaboration with the newly opened National Constitution Center. This year, the federal program has $93 million available for grants."

"In the three years, 75 teachers are expected to participate. ??? The teachers also learned how to conduct oral-history interviews and genealogical research, skills they can teach students to use with their families. Historians and political scientists advised them how to use technology better, and distributed CD-ROMs to develop interactive lesson plans."

"The first phase of the history-education project will end in the fall, and [John L. Pesda, a Camden County College professor and one of the Gloucester City project's coordinators] said he hoped teachers would prepare lesson plans that could be shared. A new group will begin training in the spring. 'It's important to bring history alive,' first-grade teacher Kathy Davi said. 'Just reading about it isn't enough.'"

The article was originally published by Philadelphia Inquirer July 15, 2003 is no longer available online.

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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