Teaching American History

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Texas 2004 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee: Arlington Independent School District, Arlington, TX
Project Name: Making Connections in American History
Project Director: Elsa Scott (817) 419-5400
Funding: $998,867
Number of Teachers Served: 300
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

The Arlington Independent School District serves a diverse group of more than 62,500 students. Of these, 54% of elementary students, 44% of junior high students, and 30% of high school students receive free or reduced-cost meals. The Making Connections in American History project will be a collaborative project with the University of Texas at Arlington to improve students' understanding of U.S. history. Every year,100 teachers will be offered a chance to attend a series of intensive, university-based American history seminars on "doing" history, as well as a series of Law-Related Education Institutes on our nation's founding documents. Teachers will improve their pedagogy by learning an inquiry-based, hands-on approach to teaching history. A cohort of 30 "History Alive!" coaches will assist with staff development, and serve as mentors for teachers on critical-needs campuses. Teacher training will follow the statewide approach to teaching American history. The 5th grade curriculum spans the period of exploration and colonization through Reconstruction. Eighth grade students take a state assessment aligned to curriculum objectives for U.S. history. In grade 11, students study American history from the second Industrial Revolution through the Cold War.

Grantee: Denton Independent School District, Denton, TX
Project Name: Teaching Military History
Project Director: Angela Lindstrom (940) 369-0161
Funding: $998,873
Number of Teachers Served: No information available
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

The Denton Independent School District will partner with University of North Texas to offer Teaching Military History, a faculty and student oriented program designed to improve the appeal and quality of American history instruction for at-risk students in grades 8 through 12. The 3-year program has three components: The first is geared toward students with a series of four two-week summer institutes, each of which will enroll 20 children and address a specific historical topic: Constitutional issues surrounding slavery and the Civil War; evolution of American diplomacy from the Spanish-American War to World War I; and others. The second component is geared toward teachers with creation of detailed lesson plans that adapt college-level military history courses for the high school classroom. In this project, teachers will work closely with UNT military history professors and 4 experienced high school teachers who serve as Master Teachers. The third feature of Teaching Military History will be the creation of two interactive websites. The first will be a password-protected site for the exclusive use of program participants (both faculty and students); the second Military History site will be available to all high school students and the general public.

Grantee: Education Service Center Region VI, Huntsville, TX
Project Name: Reviving the Tradition: Conceptualizing American History
Project Director: Bill T. Shuttlesworth (936) 435-8338
Funding: $828,968
Number of Teachers Served: 75
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

The centerpiece of this program, conducted in partnership with History Department faculty at Sam Houston State University and the George Bush Presidential Library, is 140 contact hours of intensive training through 3-week summer institutes; 2 in-service days; and mini-workshops and close monitoring of middle and high school American History teachers. Designed to sharpen instructional skills and improve content knowledge, the training sessions also intend to produce professional networks that will be sustained by two online resources: a Conceptualizing American History website and an American History Teachers listserv discussion group. Student outcomes will be analyzed to determine effects of professional development activities. Content addresses: The Reach of Government in American Life; Individual Rights in a Multicultural Society; Relationship of People to the Land; and America's Place in the World—covering events and issues from colonial times to the present.

Grantee: Education Service Center, Region 20, San Antonio, TX
Project Name: Gateways to the Past: An American History Collaborative
Project Director: Tori A. Austin (210) 370-5471
Funding: $1,312,670
Number of Teachers Served: 75
Number of School Districts Served: 50, 27 charter schools
Number of Students Served: 5,625

American history educators in grades 5, 8, and 11 from 7 district schools primarily serving disadvantaged populations will have the opportunity to explore U.S. history, historical resources, and effective pedagogical practices through intensive summer institutes and Saturday seminars amounting to 15 professional development sessions per year. Gateways to the Past brings teachers together with faculty and staff from Trinity University, University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, and the State Bar of Texas, Law-Related Education Department. Focusing on increased student engagement with America's heritage, the project uses student-centered, hands-on interaction with primary sources. Participants will research and design "history trunks," and content-rich lesson plans. The evaluation methodology matches the treatment group to control group teachers based on courses taught, years of experience, gender, race/ethnicity, while students are randomly assigned to control and treatment groups. Content topics include the Declaration of Independence; Constitution; Bill of Rights; Supreme Court cases; and Federalis and anti-Federalist writing, among other subjects.

Grantee: Fort Worth Independent School District, Forth Worth, TX
Project Name: American EAGLE (Educators in American History Guiding Learners to Excellence)
Project Director: Catherine G. Dikes (817) 871-2432
Funding: $905,118
Number of Teachers Served: 90
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

The Fort Worth Independent School District has a high poverty rate, with more than 64% of its students eligible for reduced-price meals and 88 of 115 schools on Title I funding. This district will offer the American EAGLE professional development program in conjunction with Texas Christian University, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Amon Carter Museum, National Archives and Records Administration, and Legends of the Game Baseball Museum. Participating 5th, 8th, and 11th-grade teachers will be trained as historians by exploring and interpreting traditional American history through study, reflection, primary source research, and collaboration with historians. Each teacher will receive an estimated 112 hours of professional development through a hands-on apprenticeship approach that focuses on significant issues, episodes, and turning points in American history, according to nine historical periods: Colonization and Settlement; Revolution and the New Nation; Expansion and Reform; Civil War and Reconstruction; Development of the Industrial United States; Emergence of Modern America; Great Depression and World War II; Postwar United States; and Contemporary United States.

Grantee: Region 14 Education Service Center, Abilene, TX
Project Name: Growth of American Democracy with Ties to the Mexican American
Project Director: Dr. Claire A. McLennan (325) 675-8652
Funding: $1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served: No information available
Number of School Districts Served: 37
Number of Students Served: No information available

The Region 14 Education Service Center involves 37 school districts in rural west Texas, an area with a large number of poor students. The center will partner with McMurry University, Grace Museum, Buffalo Gap Historical Village, and Taylor County Historical Commission to provide a professional development program focusing on the Mexican American experience as a way to enhance the relevance of American history for the schools' large Mexican American population. Aimed at raising student achievement by improving the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of teachers in the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades, activities include summer institutes, two annual forums, numerous workshops, and in-class followup. Fifth grade teachers will study colonial history to the present: Creating, Defining, and Refining American Democracy; Technological Change in the Life of the American Democracy; and Sustaining the American Democracy. Eighth grade teachers will focus on the period between 1500 and 1877: Colonization and Settlement; Revolution and the New Nation; Expansion and Reform; and Civil War and Reconstruction. Eleventh grade teacher seminars will cover the 1877 to the present: The Development of the Industrial U.S.; The Emergence of Modern America; and Postwar United States. Workshops will augment content and techniques covered in the institutes, and include oral history, using the Internet, teaching reading/vocabulary, and connecting art and literature with history.

Grantee: San Antonio Independent School District, San Antonio, TX
Project Name: Destination Exemplary
Project Director: Amy Jo Baker (210) 354-3439
Funding: $999,999
Number of Teachers Served: 250
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

Destination Exemplary examines traditional American history content through the following sequence: The Quest for Liberty: The American Revolution and U.S. Constitution; The Quest of Equality with Cultures in Conflict: The Mexican War and Civil War; and The Quest for Opportunity: Industrialization, Urbanization, and Immigration. Professional development for teachers in grades 5, 8, and 11 includes colloquia for 36 mentor teachers, 16 Saturday seminars for 50 participants each, 5 training sessions for 200 teachers, and exemplary techniques of teaching U.S. History including integration of technology for 50 teachers. Supportive resources include field experiences to historic sites associated with the content and provision for sharing products and replicating the training. Major partners are the National Council for History Education and Trinity University. The district is also collaborating with Teachers Curriculum Institute, KLRN-TV, the Constitution Center, and the LBJ and George H.W. Bush Presidential Libraries. Intercultural Development Research Association will evaluate program effectiveness.

Grantee: San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District, San Marcos, TX
Project Name: Teaching American History: A K-16 Collaboration
Project Director: Sylvia Garza (512) 393-6715
Funding: $996,903
Number of Teachers Served: 30
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

This project—resulting from months of planning with the district's primary partner, Texas State University—provides in-depth training in American history content and pedagogy for elementary and secondary teachers in grades 5, 7, 8, and 11. The program aligns with benchmarks developed by representatives of the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and National Council for Social Studies, and uses History Alive! resources and training. Activities include week-long summer institutes at Texas State with culminating immersion experiences, monthly professional development days, and ongoing coaching. An interactive website devoted to the project facilitates ongoing communication between district teachers and the university's U.S. history and political science faculty, and will showcase participants' best lesson plans. Year 1 focuses on 1500-1763; year 2 on 1763-1877; year 3 on 1877-the present.

Last Modified: 06/08/2005