Innovations in the News
Teaching American History Program, West Morris, New Jersey
U.S. History is alive and well in West Morris, New Jersey. Superintendent Henry Kiernan has created a new program that immerses teachers in history content-through seminars, on-site mentoring sessions, research projects and web site interactivity. The West Morris district works in conjunction with two nearby districts to improve the knowledge and teaching skills of over 70 history teachers.
This program provides an opportunity for teachers to meet with eminent historians and discuss the craft of teaching history. Teachers use an interactive web site to conduct history research and distribute it to fellow educators. Teachers offer constructive critiques of the research and use these products in their own classrooms. A series of seminars brings in noted historians to go deeply into history content. The material presented by these historians is modified for the history classroom and brought back to the students in the local schools in the form of classroom instruction.
The summer seminars meet for four days in historically significant locations. Last summer, the focus of the seminar was on the American Revolution and was located at Princeton. The seminar featured Dr. Gordon Wood of Brown University and master teachers from the National Council of History Education. This summer the focus is on immigration and will be located in New York City under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Jackson of Columbia University and the New York State Historical Society.
West Morris High School and Superintendent Henry Kiernan received a grant to develop this program through the Teaching American History program administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement.
The notice inviting applications for the 2003 Public Charter Schools Program was published in the Federal Register on March 14. The grants will provide funds for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools as well as the dissemination of effective practice.http://www.ed.gov/programs/charter/applicant.html
The OII Web site has a new resource section with a list of foundations and organizations that support education innovation. http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/resources/index.html
The Deputy Secretary has issued a new memorandum with "Guidance on the Application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to Reporting under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act." http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/030130.html
Innovations in the News
As part of a push to create hundreds of small, personalized high schools across the country, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the launch of a five-year, $31 million, initiative to start 168 alternative schools geared to young people who would benefit from an education different from that provided in traditional high schools. [More-Education Week.com] (March 5)
Two school districts that reversed sagging student performance by enacting aggressive changes gave Detroit Public Schools officials a lesson in how to do the same. At a conference called Closing the Achievement Gap in Detroit, district leaders from Dallas and Sacramento, California, discussed how they helped low-income, minority students achieve at or above the level of wealthier, primarily white, suburban students. [More-The Detroit Free Press] (March 11)
In the fall of 2000, 98 percent of public schools had access to the Internet and one in five students in public schools had access to a computer. However, educators debate whether computer use for young students makes them better learners or not. [More-The Christian Science Monitor] (March 11)
Last Modified: 04/26/2011