Teaching American History

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Massachusetts 2005 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Beverly Public Schools, Beverly, MA
Project Name:Using Evidence, Scholarship, and Sources to Explore History
Project Director:Robert W. Dunn (978) 921-6132
Number of Teachers Served:270
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

In partnership with the Salem State College Department of History, the Essex National Heritage Commission, and the National Archives and Records Administration-Northeast Region, the LEA is inviting all Essex County middle and high school American history teachers to participate in a professional development program designed to enhance their understanding of and proficiency in teaching U.S. history. The four core content themes are American Political and Constitutional History, American Foreign Relations, American Social Reforms and Cultural Changes, and American Economic Life. Specific historical periods studied in this context include the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, World Wars I & II, and the Cold War. Content is presented via one-day monthly seminars during the school year, summer institutes, and a web-based resource center. Participants receive three hours of graduate credit and create curricular materials based on primary sources. All activities take place at historical sites. The project's timing coincides with the state's introduction of a new history test that students are required to pass in order to graduate.

Grantee Name:Fall River Public Schools, Fall River, MA
Project Name:Future History
Project Director:Susan S. Horvitz (508) 235-2645
Number of Teachers Served:195
Number of School Districts Served:15
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

Future History brings together 15 school districts and four agricultural, vocational, and technical high schools in southeastern Massachusetts with Bristol Community College and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth to provide a research-based professional development program in U.S history, focusing on the use of primary sources in the history classroom. Following two previous TAH grants, this program primarily serves new American history teachers to accelerate competence on the part of teachers and students. Activities include working with teacher-leaders on content-specific pedagogy, two-day workshops with historians, colloquia, and the use of high-value technology in the classroom to promote use of primary sources. About 65 classroom observations take place each year. The program's core theme, "Immigration and the American Identity," is reflected in content dealing with the founding of the nation, the Civil War, and entry into World War II. As a result of the 2002 TAH program, all American history teachers will have primary source booklets containing key documents, from the Declaration of Independence to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Grantee Name:Hampshire Educational Collaborative, Northampton, MA
Project Name:From Agrarian Colonies to World Leader: How American Institutions Endure Through Change
Project Director:Cecelia Buckley (413) 586-4900
Number of Teachers Served:80
Number of School Districts Served:14
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

A consortium of 15 western Massachusetts school districts is partnering with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Historic Northampton, the Springfield Armory, scholars from Cornell and Columbia Universities, Amherst College, and other higher education institutions to conduct a professional development program in American history. The curriculum, centering on social, political, and legal events, issues, and documents from 1776-1970, includes lectures, seminars, and examination of primary source documents. Also included are field trips to historic sites, summer content immersion, and interactive video conferencing. The project is targeted at 80 teachers in Grades 3-5 and 8-10. Participants have the option of receiving graduate credit. The project will develop a web-based reservoir of primary source materials, episodes, turning points, and case studies addressing principles of freedom and democracy. The content will center on three periods. Year 1 will explore the period of 1775-1870 and will include figures such as Washington, Monroe, and Jackson and documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Year 2 will cover 1870-1920 and will examine figures including Presidents McKinley and Wilson and events such as the Spanish American War and World War I. Year 3 will focus on 1920-1970 and will include study of Presidents Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, and Eisenhower and also important periods such as the Great Depression and the Cold War.

Grantee Name:Public Schools of Brookline, MA
Project Name:Pursuing Justice: The Founding Documents in American History
Project Director:Richard A. Young (617) 264-6418
Number of Teachers Served:150
Number of School Districts Served:34
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

Pursuing Justice is a comprehensive professional and curriculum development program for middle and secondary school teachers in the greater Boston area. In partnership with Teachers as Scholars and university historians, the LEA aims to deepen teacher understanding of U.S. history through examination of founding documents, training teachers to use analytical tools to teach American history as a separate subject and developing thoughtful and accessible history curricula. Activities include seven-day spring and summer institutes, a four-day school year workshop, a three-day summer curriculum workshop, creation of a project website, and a final conference for all TAH programs in New England. Through the lens of pursuing justice, participants study the following: Creation of the Founding Documents; Claims for Citizenship in the 19th Century; Individual Liberty vs. Social Justice in the Progressive Period; and Civil Rights after World War II. The outcome should be an understanding of the continuing significance of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Grantee Name:The Education Cooperative, Dedham, MA
Project Name:Walking in the Footsteps of Legends and Ordinary Folk: Boston as Backdrop and Battleground
Project Director:Elizabeth K. Baglio (617) 548-1224
Number of Teachers Served:155
Number of School Districts Served:15
Number of Students Served:10,000

In partnership with UMass Boston, the Freedom Trail Foundation, Old Sturbridge Village, the Old South Meeting House, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the cooperative of 15 member districts and nearby communities is offering a professional development program for library media specialists and all teachers of American history. Based on the state curriculum framework, most participants are third and fifth grade social studies teachers or eighth, ninth, and tenth grade U.S. history teachers. The program includes graduate credit courses (three-credit and one-credit courses), colloquia, and online courses. Content focuses on events in Boston leading up to and during the American Revolution. Participants explore primary sources related to the work of Paul Revere and contemporaries, learn about the past through legends and ordinary people, and study economic, social, and political life in rural New England in the early part of the century following the American Revolution.

Grantee Name:Westfield Public Schools, Westfield, MA
Project Name:American Promises
Project Director:Priscilla Miller (413) 572-8065
Number of Teachers Served:150-200
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

American Promises, which features annual seminar series, workshops, and individual teacher support, is partnering with the Westfield State College Center for Teacher Education and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association to offer professional history content training to K-12 teachers in two neighboring counties. Each year, content will include an examination of significant issues, episodes, and people from the colonial period into the 20th Century within the context of the nation's founding documents. The "Promises of the American Revolution" moves to "Testing the Promises" in the Civil War era, to "Claiming the Promises" in the 20th Century. A permanent, high quality website enables resource sharing and promotes sustainability of professional development in American history

Grantee Name:Worcester Public Schools, Worcester, MA
Project Name:Keepers of the Republic
Project Director:Joan M. Fitton (508) 799-3110
Number of Teachers Served:125
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:25,038

This professional development program for American history teachers seeks to examine Benjamin Franklin's response when questioned about the kind of government the Constitutional Convention had devised—"A republic, if you can keep it." The program explores "the Republic" through six graduate courses, 18 corresponding workshops, summer institutes, lectures, reading and research in partnership with Assumption College, the American Antiquarian Society, the John F. Kennedy Museum and Library, Old Sturbridge Village, and Worcester State College. Participants include teachers in Grades 5, 10, and 11. Content covers the following: Revolutionary and Early National America, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age through World War II, From the Cold War to the War on Terror; and the American Colossus.

Last Modified: 09/27/2005