Teaching American History

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Virginia 2003 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee: Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria, VA
Project Name: Creating a More Perfect Community: Improving the Teaching of Traditional American History in Alexandria, Virginia
Project Director: Judy McConville (703) 824-6680
Funding: $949,295
Number of Teachers Served: 75
Number of School Districts Served: No information available
Number of Students Served: 12,000

Partners for this project are the Department of History and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and the Office of Historic Alexandria. They organize intensive workshops that unite Alexandria's American history teachers with university and public historians to improve teachers' content knowledge. Teachers are drawn from high need classrooms, including elementary, middle school, high school, ESL, and special education. Each year professional development will be offered in: a one-week summer workshop, six full-day workshops during the school year, four history book discussions, work with master teachers, online discussions, and development of curriculum units. Four periods are covered-Early America, Civil War and Reconstruction, the Interwar Years (1914-1945), and Post-World War II.

Grantee: Augusta County Public Schools, Fishersville, VA
Project Name: Institute for Decisive Events in American History
Project Director: Kenneth W. Keller (540) 887-7066
Funding: $692,942
Number of Teachers Served: 120
Number of School Districts Served: 4
Number of Students Served: 16,571

This partnership to provide a comprehensive professional development program for middle and high school American History teachers brings four school districts together with Mary Baldwin College, George C. Marshall Museum and Library, Woodrow Wilson Birthplace Foundation, Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Monticello, Booker T. Washington Birthplace, and Yorktown Battlefield Park. Activities include two 6-week summer institutes per year focused on decisive events in American history, eight 2-day workshops per year reviewing practical applications, creation of a website including documentary readings and lesson plans, mentoring and networking with institutions of higher education and museums. Periods covered by the institutes include: Revolutionary Era, 1754-1783; Virginia Dynasty, 1800-1825; Civil War Era, 1850-1865; Reconstruction, 1865-1877; Struggle for Women's Rights, 1848-1992; Domestic Policy and Politics, 1954-1973.

Grantee: Chesterfield County Public Schools, Chesterfield, VA
Project Name: Teaching American History Project
Project Director: John T. Kneebone (804) 231-1774
Funding: $675,694
Number of Teachers Served: 120
Number of School Districts Served: No information available
Number of Students Served: No information available

Partnering with the Virginia Historical Society, Jamestown Island, Colonial Williamsburg, and the National Park Service, this project provides professional development for teachers of 6th, 7th, and 11th grade U.S. history. Each year's institute consists of a series of 2-day seminars during the school year and a 2-week summer institute. Content includes: Virginia history, expansion and reform, Civil War and Reconstruction, urbanization and industrialization, contradictions of reform, Depression and the New Deal, hot and cold wars, Civil Rights Movement, and post-Y2K.

Grantee: Fauquier County Public Schools, Warrenton, VA
Project Name: Peopling the American Past: Focusing on Key Individuals, Events, and Documents in U.S. History
Project Director: Eleanor Greene (540) 351-1018
Funding: $944,153
Number of Teachers Served: 75
Number of School Districts Served: 7
Number of Students Served: No information available

In partnership with the Department of History and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, these rural school districts offer American history teachers each year, a one-week summer workshop, five full-day workshops, four history book discussions, and classroom observations and peer mentoring as well as online discussion. The summer workshop develops tools for historical analysis; GMU historians cover four periods of U.S. history-Early America, Civil War and Reconstruction, the interwar years (1914-1945), and post-World War II. During the school year, the focus shifts to case studies of key people and events. The five workshops center on such topics as Frederick Douglass and slavery and Irish immigration. The four book groups-one for each era-draw from classic autobiographies and biographies of figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Grantee: Hampton City Schools, Hampton, VA
Project Name: Cultivating Connections: Embedding Vital Themes in American History
Project Director: Connie Abernathy (757) 727-2472
Funding: $919,944
Number of Teachers Served: 93
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

The project provides professional development for teachers of grades 6, 7, and 11 divided into groups that participate in a series of four study trips (Yorktown National Battlefield, Fredericksburg and Fredericksburg National Park, Virginia Historical Society Museum, and Hampton History Museum), a 3-day Writing History Academy, and a 5-day summer colloquium. The theme "Revolution and Change from the 18th Century to the 21st Century" uses four focal points of American history: the American Revolution, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement (1950-1970). National parks and state and local museums, along with two initiatives from the National Council of History Education provide content expertise. Partners include Christopher Newport University, the National Council of History Education, Virginia Historical Society, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Fredericksburg National Military Park, and Hampton History Museum.

Grantee: Montgomery County Public Schools, Christiansburg, VA
Project Name: Montgomery County (VA) Schools' Teaching American History Program
Project Director: Melissa Matusevich (540) 381-6537
Funding: $571,705
Number of Teachers Served: 40
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: 9,100

The project's professional development events and activities for K-12 teachers are: monthly seminars during the school year, summer academies, mentoring, peer observation and team teaching, trips to the Virginia historical Society, and involvement in the American History Database System. Content includes the American Revolution, American Indians, abolition, suffrage, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Great Depression, civil rights, the Constitution, World War II, the Cold War, national government, and state and local government. Partners are Virginia Tech's Department of History and Education, Radford University's Department of History, and the Virginia Historical Society.

Grantee: Portsmouth City Public Schools, Portsmouth, VA
Project Name: Growing American History Teacher Scholars
Project Director: Daniel Lewis (757) 822-2556
Funding: $975,418
Number of Teachers Served: 73
Number of School Districts Served: 2
Number of Students Served: No information available

In partnership with Tidewater Community College and Norfolk City Public Schools, the LEA will create a corps of American History teacher scholars from grades 4-7 and 9-11 in the Portsmouth and Norfolk school districts, with one teacher selected from each elementary, middle, and high school in the two systems-together serving an urban population of 53,000. The program includes annual 5-day summer academies on U.S. history content, two annual 2-day workshops on community resources, site visits, mentoring, and lecture series in fall and spring terms. Content differing for grade-level teachers, covers Age of Revolutions, African-American Experience in Hampton Roads and Virginia, World Wars I and II, The Cold War, Vietnam Conflict, naval and tribal and regional history. Sustainability is addressed through continuing in-service sessions and by using new teacher-scholars as mentors and coaches for other teachers.

Grantee: Rockbridge County Public Schools, Lexington City, VA
Project Name: Yes, Virginia, History is Elementary
Project Director: Alice M. Waddell (540) 463-7386
Funding: $574,126
Number of Teachers Served: 70-108
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: 3,633

"Yes, Virginia, History is Elementary" partners a rural division in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with George C. Marshall Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and James Madison University to improve all elementary teachers' content knowledge of American History, increase student achievement, develop lead teachers in grades 4 and 5 for sustainability, and create a transferable model program. Neighboring school divisions-Lexington and Buena Vista-participate as space permits. Strategies include content workshops, weekend seminars, intensive summer field study, site visits, research projects, and creation of lead teachers to mentor colleagues and plan further staff development. Six teachers per year attend annual conferences of the National Council for Social Studies and Organization of American Historians. Guest speakers will address Lewis and Clark Expedition, World War I, and terrorism. Topics covered in grades 4 and 5 include Native Americans, Colonial America, Virginia in the American Revolution, westward expansion, Civil War and Reconstruction, 20th Century, industrialism, abolitionist and suffrage movements, and provisions of 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Grantee: Russell County Schools, Lebanon, VA
Project Name: The Master Teacher Project
Project Director: Tom Robinson (276) 889-6500
Funding: $654,079
Number of Teachers Served: 25
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

In conjunction with Emory and Henry College, the Neff Center for Teachers, and the Center for Teaching Excellence of the University of Virginia's College at Wise, this project offers a Master of Arts degree in education for American history for teachers of grades 3-11. The curriculum includes historiography and methodology, and research and writing, in addition to courses that cover European ideas involved in American development, Colonial and Revolutionary America, the Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization and economic development, the World Wars, and African and Latin American history.

Grantee: Stafford County Public Schools, Stafford, VA
Project Name: Connections to the Past
Project Director: Agnes Dunn (540) 658-6674
Funding: $999,456
Number of Teachers Served: 150
Number of School Districts Served: 3
Number of Students Served: 15,218

This project partners teachers in grades 4, 5, 6, and 11 with a coalition composed of Mary Washington College, Virginia Historical Society, Colonial Williamsburg, the National Park Service, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and local museums and historic sites. Year 1 addresses issues and themes that span 1492-1860; year 2 on 1860-1920, and year 3 on 1920 to the present, with each school year focusing on a period of America's development-Becoming Americans; Coming of Age; and America as a World Leader. Project elements include creation of a cadre of American History Fellows, museum and historic site lectures, summer institutes, an online forum for research and collaboration, ongoing assessment, primary resource training, field study and a mentor program. Between 1990 and 2000, target districts-Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, and Fredericksburg City Schools-experienced a more than 50% growth rate of increasingly diverse students with significant gaps in American history knowledge. The program is expected to have an impact on 450 teachers.


 
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Last Modified: 02/15/2008