Teaching American History

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Virginia 2005 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Fairfax County Schools, Fairfax, VA
Project Name:Understanding the Blessings of Liberty
Project Director:Alice Reilly (703) 846-8627
Number of Teachers Served:300
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

This professional development initiative in traditional American history and "Constitutional Connections" includes regular classroom, special education, and ESOL teachers in a culturally diverse school system. Based on a survey of 900 teachers, the project features a component for primary teachers in Grades 1-to-3 and another for teachers in Grades 4, 6, 7, and 11. Partnering in the week-long summer institutes and four follow-up seminars are the National Council on History Education, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, the Gilder-Lehman Institute of American History, George Mason University, and Northern Virginia Community College. By working directly with historians using primary sources at museums, libraries, and historic sites, participants are expected to increase their application of History's Habits of the Mind, generate student interest in learning, and create new instructional materials. Content covers Founding the Nation, Westward Expansion, Civil War and Reconstruction, Urbanization, the Cold War, and Civil Rights. All these events will be studied as connections to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the pursuit of freedom and liberty.

Grantee Name:Hampton City Schools, Hampton, VA
Project Name:Shaping the Constitution: People and Documents
Project Director:Connie Abernathy (757) 727-2105
Number of Teachers Served:160
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

Hampton City Schools is partnering with the Bill of Rights Institute, the National Council of History Education, the Virginia Historical Society Museum, the First Freedom Foundation, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the John Marshall House, the Hampton History Museum, the Center for the Constitution, and Old Dominion University to provide professional development opportunities to social studies and American history teachers. Participants include 32 high school, 53 middle school, and 75 elementary teachers divided into vertical teams. Each team will participate in colloquia, seminars, reading circles, and study trips at historic sites, with the aim of deepening understanding of U.S. history and integrating content into creative classroom presentations. Themes of study include the Founding Era, Reconstruction, and Civil Rights. The use of primary sources will be stressed to build appreciation for historic artifacts and documents. Lesson plans will be posted on the school division website, and participants will earn stipends and in-service credit.

Grantee Name:Loudoun County Public Schools, Leesburg, VA
Project Name:Foundations of U.S. History: Virginia History as American History
Project Director:Eleanor Greene (703) 993-1721
Number of Teachers Served:150
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:44,000

Aimed at remedying teachers' lack of preparation in basic content and themes in Virginia and U.S. history, the program offers two interrelated approaches each year serving different needs of county teachers. Cohort A—open to all grades but especially encouraging teacher participants in Grade 4—involves an intensive two-week summer institute and seven school-year workshops, including lectures by prominent historians. Cohort B—open to teachers in all Grades, ESL and Special Education--includes a 2-day summer workshop and five school-year workshops. Film workshops and keynote lectures are also open to non-cohort American history teachers. Content areas of the summer institutes include Native American life in the Chesapeake, George Washington's legacy, the American Revolution and founding documents, Slavery, the antebellum period, and the Civil War. Post-Civil War topics include Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, Industrialization and Modernization, Post-World War II America, and Civil Rights. Partnering with Loudoun County is George Mason University's Department of History and Center for History and New Media.

Grantee Name:Northampton County Public Schools, Machipongo, VA
Project Name:Beyond History
Project Director:Richard J. Bowmaster (757) 678-5151
Number of Teachers Served:25
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

The Beyond History project was created by Virginia's Northampton County Schools in partnership with Old Dominion University, the Virginia Historical Society, and the historical societies of the Eastern Shore and Cape Charles. Fourth to seventh grade teachers participating in the project will increase their knowledge of American history, develop research-based instructional strategies for classroom use, and create an innovative curriculum, such as a reading course that teaches students about history while increasing their reading skills. Educators will attend an annual month-long summer seminar and four separate workshops during the academic year. They also will have the use of historical briefs developed by the partners for incorporation into lesson plans. Several historical themes will be covered during the three-year grant period. These include the local history of the Eastern Shore, the antebellum and Jim Crow periods of American history, and the U.S. and the world in the 20th century.

Grantee Name:Roanoke City Public Schools, Roanoke, VA
Project Name:Perspectives, Identity, Legacy: Democracy in American History Education
Project Director:Andrew T. Mink (434) 924-7834
Number of Teachers Served:36
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

The Perspectives, Identity, and Legacy professional development program is for history teachers in Grades 4 to 7 and 11 in four urban, rural and suburban public school systems. Partnering with the schools to provide content knowledge and learning strategies are major research centers such as the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar, Smithfield Plantation, the Salem Museum and Historical Society, the History Museum and Historical Society of Western Virginia, the Roanoke Higher Education Center, and WDBJ-7 television. Activities include a graduate-level summer seminar, five monthly seminars, media research, field study, and evening workshops. Topic strands examine Early America, Expansion, Reform, Civil War and Reconstruction, the Emergence of Modern America and World Conflict, the U.S. since WWII, the Impact of Geography and Economics, and the Civics and Roots of American Democracy. Teachers will interact with each of these time periods by accessing rare digital resources and primary source documents.

Grantee Name:Stafford County Public Schools, Stafford, VA
Project Name:People and Moments in Time
Project Director:Agnes C. Dunn (540) 658-6674
Number of Teachers Served:162
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

This joint project partners Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Caroline County public schools with the University of Mary Washington, the Virginia Historical Society, the Organization of American Historians, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institute, the George Washington's Fredericksburg Foundation, the U.S. Park Service, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, and the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia in a U.S. history professional development program targeting teachers in Grades K-5. Participant "Fellows" follow a course including a three-hour graduate course, collaboration among teams of scholars, training on use of primary documents, substantive content and curriculum interaction with other teachers, and opportunities to forge professional networks with historians. The project focuses on the words and deeds of key historical figures and seminal events in the history of the United States from exploration to the present. Topics cover the colonial era, expansion and reform, the Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization, World War II, and America as a world leader.

Grantee Name:Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach, VA
Project Name:WHO (Where History Occurs)
Project Director:Georgeanne C. Hribar (757) 263-1020
Number of Teachers Served:150
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available

WHO is devoted to the improvement of student achievement by providing professional development to secondary level teachers of American history in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools, the second largest school division in the state. Annual cohorts of 25 middle and high school teachers will take part in a History Forum program in partnership with the University of Virginia's Center for Digital History and Center for Liberal Arts, or an online History Scholar program in partnership with Norfolk State University. History Scholars will design content modules and document-based learning activities in accordance with a customized course, The History Debates: Issues, People, and Perspectives that Shaped America. Participants in both programs interact with historians, train in historical thinking, visit historic sites, and meet historical content objectives. Summer institutes for the History Forum cohorts cover the Cold War, Prelude to the Civil War, and Civil Rights. Possible site visits include the Museum of the Confederacy, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Tredegar Iron Works. Forty-two of the History Scholars culminate the program with a weeklong Civil Rights bus tour.

Last Modified: 09/27/2005