Teaching American History

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Virginia 2002 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee: Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax, VA
Project Name: Defining US: The American Experience
Project Director: Sara Shoob (703) 846-8447
Funding: $987,585
Number of Teachers Served: 120
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

The district will partner with National Council for History Education, George Mason University, George Washington University, and Northern Virginia Community College, with support from Smithsonian Institution, National Archives, Library of Congress and National Park Service, to conduct an extensive professional development program for regular classroom, special education and ESOL teachers of American history. Teachers in grades 4, 6, 7, and 11 from 20 targeted schools participate in colloquia, institutes, and monthly seminars focusing on historical themes and exemplifying a pedagogical model. Strategies include adaptations for using technology and primary sources and cultivating critical literacy. Additional district teachers will attend seminars. The content responds to knowledge needs identified by U.S. history teachers: Importance of History; Where Are We as Americans?; Foreign Policy: FDR and the U.S. since 1945; 20th Century U.S.; Expansion, Manifest Destiny and Closing the Frontier; Washington's Vision of the American Character; Jefferson's World View; Vietnam War; and World War II to the present.

Grantee: Rockbridge County Public Schools, Lexington, VA
Project Name: Project ALIVE: Bringing Documents of History to Life
Project Director: Alice M. Waddell (540) 463-7386
Funding: $797,927
Number of Teachers Served: 20-54
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

Project ALIVE links a rural school division in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley with George C. Marshall Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the History Department of James Madison University to provide staff development for American history teachers in grades 5, 6, and 11. Designed to strengthen teachers' content knowledge, raise student achievement, develop lead teachers, and create a model transferable to other divisions, the program features graduate classes, summer institutes, seminars, study groups, site visits, research, technology workshops, and follow-up sessions for participants. Many components are available to all American history teachers. The 3-year project is divided into 3 periods of U.S. history-pre-1776-1877, 1877-1949, and 1949-present-providing teachers with the opportunity to earn at least 18 graduate hours in American history and related course work.

Grantee: Newport News Public Schools, Newport News, VA
Project Name: Foundations of Freedom
Project Director: Brenda Winstead (757) 591-4575
Funding: $565,494
Number of Teachers Served: 84
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

Targeted at 12 low-performing schools with 72 4th and 5th grade history teachers and 12 administrators, the project intends to ensure delivery of high quality U.S. history education as a separate subject matter, raise student achievement by 25% and close the American history achievement gap of students by 50% over 3 years. Activities include a summer 3-day history colloquia and 7-day history academy and 124 contact hours in structured study groups. The National Council for History Education's leadership team will model collaboration needed among historians, learning specialists and teachers. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation provides education on early settlement through the American Revolution. Virginia War Museum concentrates on America's wars, 1775-present. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation specializes on the colonial period and American Revolution. Mariners' Museum examines mariners' impact on U.S. history; and Christopher Newport University' History and Education Departments provide additional content and pedagogy..

Grantee: Franklin County Public Schools, Rocky Mount, Virginia
Project Name: Virginia's CHILD (Children's Historical Investigations Leading to Discovery
Project Director: Jenny Flora
Funding: $457,450
Number of Teachers Served: Information not available.
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: 220

The focus of Virginia's CHILD is to provide opportunities that will increase teachers' knowledge and understand of historical topics and effective teaching and learning methodologies. Two learning models will underlie the project's design: Principles of Instruction Design and Brain-based Learning. The program will be designed to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities. In the 4th and 5th grades, 220 students receive special education services. In addition to preparing the teachers to instruct these students in American history, a project goal is to ensure that all students will be educated in learning environments that are safe, drug-free, and conducive to learning. Content topics include colonial Virginia, the American Revolution, Western expansion, the Civil War, and reconstruction and the 20th century.

Grantee: Russell County Schools
Project Name: The Foundations Project: Settlement, Conflict and Change in American History
Project Director: Barbara Willis (276) 328-0319
Funding: $1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served: 100
Number of School Districts Served: 16
Number of Students Served: 2,500

"The Foundations Project" partners two lead LEAs-Scott and Russell County Schools-with Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, a regional history museum, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in this professional development program for teachers in grades 4-11. Core content includes colonial and revolutionary America emphasizing settlements and national formation, 19th Century America emphasizing the Civil War and Reconstruction; and 20th Century America emphasizing the Cold War and civil rights. Summer seminars taught by expert historians and master teachers are combined with workshops, credit courses, conferences and a mentor program aimed at developing 50 master teachers in the region.

Grantee: Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach, VA
Project Name: You Gotta Have HEART (History Engages, Amazes, Remembers, and Teaches)
Project Director: Georgeanne C. Hribar (757) 427-4471
Funding: $984,161
Number of Teachers Served: 189
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

Addressing teacher education and student learning deficits in the largest school "division" in Virginia, the project offers course work in American history and pedagogy at Virginia Wesleyan College for 6th, 7th, and 11th grade history teachers. The program includes a history speakers' program, creation of American History Fellows serving as mentors/trainers, provision of primary source material in classrooms, exposure to best practices, historic site visits in Washington, DC, and research and teaching workshops and summer internships related to World War II at the MacArthur Memorial, Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and Children's Museum of Virginia. Participants earn at least 3 college credits and are encouraged to take additional courses resulting in a History Scholars Program Certificate. History Alive! training focuses on instructional strategies while content addresses themes of conflict, immigration and diversity, and social movements and reform.

Grantee: Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools, Williamsburg, VA
Project Name: Weaving the Fabric of American History
Project Director: Jeffrey O. Smith (757) 253-6781
Funding: $1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served: 600
Number of School Districts Served: 6
Number of Students Served: No information available

Weaving the Fabric of American History is a consortium established by the district with the College of William and Mary, Organization of American Historians, Okmulgee National Monument, First Landing State Park, San Juan National Historic Site, Saugus Ironworks National Historic Site, George Washington Birthplace, Historic Jamestowne-Colonial National Historic Park to address American history gaps in student achievement and history instructional skills. While 60 teachers will participate in 4-week summer "threads" programs earning 3 graduate credits, 600 will indirectly benefit through companion workshops. Core curricular threads include: meeting of different cultures, economic and social relations, conflicts, opportunities, and colony to democracy. A project website will link with historic sites, National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places, and Department of Education.

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Last Modified: 02/14/2008