Teaching American History

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Massachusetts 2004 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee: Boston Public Schools, Boston, MA
Project Name: Turning Points: Examining the Course of Our Nation
Project Director: Judy Berkowitz (617) 635-7936
Funding: $1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served: 254
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

This project provides professional development to expand teachers' knowledge and instructional skills as a means of increasing student achievement and addresses gaps in students' exposure to the state-based curriculum, as well as literacy needs in history. Training strategies are designed to reach 124 teachers in grades 3 and 5 and 130 high school U.S. History teachers in grades 9, 10, and Advanced Placement classes. In collaboration with Boston University, the Boston History Collaborative, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and the Museum of Afro-American History, 10 content seminars will be offered per year (30 hours) spanning traditional American History from the age of exploration to the cotemporary era. Summer institutes of 30 each per summer will provide in-depth focus on one of the eras and topics covered in the seminars. Topics will form the nucleus of new curricula in grades 3, 5, 9, and 10. Seminars and coaching will be provided on interactive teaching techniques and literacy strategies. At the end of the project, all students in grades 3, 5, 9 and 10 will perform proficiently on District history assessments. The Education Alliance at Brown University will evaluate the program.

Grantee: Brockton Public Schools, Brockton, MA
Project Name: Teaching American History Through Discovery, Investigation and Participation
Project Director: Margaret Lowe (508) 531-2406
Funding: $796,770
Number of Teachers Served: 180
Number of School Districts Served: 6
Number of Students Served: No information available

Building on Plymouth's Teaching American History grant, six Massachusetts school districts, in partnership with Bridgewater State College, are focusing on rights and responsibilities in this professional development program for K-12 teachers. The project involves in-depth study of traditional American history through the lens of the U.S. Constitution, interactions with historians; workshop study of key primary documents; travel to national museums and archives; summer institute field studies; and incorporation of findings into lesson plans. It aims to give students and teachers a knowledge of what the Constitution reveals about the wider narrative of American history from 1600 to the present, and, in so doing, seeks to generate greater student appreciation of founding ideals and improved performance. The theme for year 1 is Founding Ideas and Documents: Origins of the U.S. Constitution. Year 2's theme is The Document Itself: Creation, Ratification and Impact of the U.S. Constitution. Year 3 addresses Interpretating the Centuries: The Lived Meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

Grantee: Fall River Public Schools, Fall River, MA
Project Name: History, Together: An Early-Grades Foundation for Traditional American History Education
Project Director: Susan S. Horvitz (508) 235-2637
Funding: $993,531
Number of Teachers Served: 108
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

The district is partnering with Bristol Community College and Brown University's Education Alliance to extend the Teaching American History Professional Development Project (a program that benefits high school teachers) in order to improve content knowledge and instructional skills for elementary school teachers in the Fall River area. For each of the grant's three years, at least 36 teachers (three from each of the region's 12 elementary schools) will attend a year-long, graduate level course whose syllabus will be determined by the American history learning standards for grades 3, 4, and 5. The course, entitled The American Experience: Land, People, and Change, will focus on Native peoples, historical landscape, and foundations of American government. Teachers will learn about cultural diffusion and innovation, political ideals and institutions, and patterns of social and political interaction. During the second semester, participants will meet with a facilitator to develop school-wide strategies for aligning curriculum with state standards and integrating them with literacy and mathematics standards already in place. Opportunities are provided for non-participants to develop such strategies.

Grantee: Fitchburg Public Schools, Fitchburg, MA
Project Name: The Story of America
Project Director: Teresa A. Thomas (978) 665-4587
Funding: $993,433
Number of Teachers Served: 70
Number of School Districts Served: 10
Number of Students Served: No information available

This professional development program for middle and high school American History teachers brings together 10 school districts with Fitchburg State College and Mount Wachusett Community College to strengthen teacher understanding of significant issues, episodes and turning points in U.S. history. During the course of the project, 6 graduate-level academic seminars cover the span from colonial times to the modern era, with the sixth seminar exploring the role of women in American history. Seminars address: American Revolution and Early Republic, Sectionalism, Civil War and Reconstruction, Westward Expansion; Industry; Immigration and the Progressive Era; World War II; and Cold War and the Modern Era. The program also includes readings, research, symposia, exploration of primary sources, field experiences, and integration of material into classroom activities. Participants receive a Certificate of Advance Study in American History on completion of 240 hours of focused study. The program concludes with a 2-day conference to disseminate information and work products and begin the process of replicating skills with non-participating teachers.

Grantee: Frontier Regional and Union 38 School District, South Deerfield, MA
Project Name: American Promises
Project Director: Barbara Mathews (413) 665-1155
Funding: $998,850
Number of Teachers Served: 150-200
Number of School Districts Served: 12
Number of Students Served: No information available

The LEA will partner with Franklin County Professional Development Collaborative, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, and Hampshire County school districts of Granby and Ware to provide a three-year professional development program in traditional American history for up to 80 K-12 teachers from primarily poor and rural school districts. Activities include a seminar series (8 per year) and workshops (40-60 per year); along with individualized teaching support. The history content will be organized around the fundamental premises expressed in the United States' founding documents. Each year, the program will examine significant issues, episodes, and people from the Colonial period into the 20th century in the context of America's founding ideals: (1) The Promises of the American Revolution: Colonies to Nations; (2) Testing the Promises: The Civil War, Industrialization, and Immigration; and (3) Claiming the Promises: Two World Wars, More Immigration, A New Deal and Civil Rights. It is hoped that this program's model of professional development, which will include the creation of instructional resources, will have the potential for widespread application.

Grantee: Newton Public Schools, Newtonville, MA
Project Name: The World in America: America in the World
Project Director: Susan E. Linn (617) 559-9038
Funding: $981,028
Number of Teachers Served: 150
Number of School Districts Served: 4
Number of Students Served: No information available

Teachers in grades 5, 8, 10, and 11 participate in content-based, week-long summer institutes, 3-day school-year seminars, book discussion groups, study tours, and conferences in a professional development program aimed at improving U.S. history content knowledge and instruction, encouraging history teacher collaboration within and across schools, and meeting needs identified by teachers and the 2002 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History. The project is supported by a newsletter, website, and quarterly meetings of an Advisory Board composed of all partner representatives. World in America: America in the World Collaborative includes 4 districts, Primary Source, Suffolk University, Boston Public Library, and Adams National Historical Park in Quincy. Year 1 focuses on Colonial America; Year 2 on 19th Century America; and Year 3 on The 20th Century.

Grantee: Shore Educational Collaborative, Chelsea, MA
Project Name: Project LOCAL: Learning Our Community's American Lore
Project Director: Calvin L. Carpenter (781) 393-9016
Funding: $914,089
Number of Teachers Served:69
Number of School Districts Served: 5
Number of Students Served: 4,800

In partnership with Tufts University, the communities of Everett, Medford, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop will provide American History teachers with a series of day-long intensive professional development workshops using a train-the-trainer model to incorporate local history into the teaching of traditional American History. Initial workshops provide access to experts in American history, sites of historical significance, primary resource materials, and teaching strategies that foster higher thinking order skills. Subsequently, site leaders will provide a series of workshops within their respective communities, supported by historical societies and historic sites. Tufts University will host a website containing a library of teaching strategies, discussions, and models as a lasting resource. Project LOCAL will directly involve 75% of grades K-12 U.S. history teachers in each district over the grant period. Lectures by historians address the 17th, 18th, early 19th, late 19th, early and late 20th centuries, incorporating discussion of most significant primary sources of each period.

Grantee: Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MA
Project Name: Teachers as Historians
Project Director: Rosemary Kalloch (413)787-7074
Funding: $994,819
Number of Teachers Served: 50
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

This partnership brings together the Springfield Public Schools with five colleges, the Springfield Library and Museums, History Institute at the University of Massachusetts and the Springfield Armory National Historic Site. The district serves a population that is 48% Latino, 28% African-American, 21% white, and 2% Asian; 77% live in households below the federal poverty level, and 11% are enrolled in English language learner programs. Taught by college faculty, the professional development program provides teachers from all grade levels with content knowledge in U.S. history through summer institutes and 10 academic year seminars, and classroom instructional strategies through coaches and use of student achievement data. Topics—emphasizing critical events and individuals—include the U.S. Constitution, Civil War, immigration, Declaration of Independence, and primary documents on the abolitionist movement, Reconstruction, and Civil Rights movement of the 20th century.

Grantee: Weymouth Public Schools, Weymouth, MA
Project Name: Lest We Forget: The Teaching of American History
Project Director: Jane E. Killinger (781) 335-1460
Funding: $900,421
Number of Teachers Served: 164
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

Aimed at reviving appreciation for U.S. history, this professional development program offered by the district and primary partners, University of Massachusetts-Boston and Adams National Historical Park, calls for in-depth instruction in American history content and content pedagogy for 122 K-4 grade teachers, 12 5th grade teachers, and 30 teachers in grades 7-12. The project promotes historical thinking benchmarks, and includes 46 modules taught by University professors on events, issues and people significant to American history. Four week-long summer institutes address the John and Abigail Adams' family legacy. Curriculum institutes, study groups, and coaching focus on improving the quality of history instruction. The content is grounded in traditional American history: New England Colonies; Rebellion and Independence; English Roots; Search for a New Government, Federalist Papers, Constitution, Bill of Rights, The New Republic; de Tocqueville; Women's Suffrage in the Jacksonian Era; Slavery and Abolition; Civil War; Reconstruction; Jim Crow and the New South; Industrialization; Chinese Immigration and Exclusion; Imperialism and World Power; Progressive Era; World Wars I and II; New Deal; Cold War; and the Civil Rights Movement.

Last Modified: 06/08/2005