Teaching American History

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Kentucky 2006 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Bourbon County Public Schools, KY
Project Name:Traveling the Trails of Freedom Network
Project Director:Tom Mills
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:5,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Georgetown College, the National Council for History Education, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Hopewell Museum
Topics:year 1: Colonization and the Road to Revolution, year 2: the American Revolution and the Creation of a Nation, and year 3: Early Years of the Nation and the Road to Civil War
Methods:summer institutes, history immersion institutes, outreach seminars, and a peer mentoring and observation program

The state uses the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System to hold schools accountable for student progress. Students are assessed in grades 5, 8, and 11 in social studies. CATS scores of students in 2005 who scored below "proficient" in social studies were 34 % (5th grade), 61.07 % (8th grade), and 67.01 % (11th grade). Project objectives include increased teacher knowledge in traditional American history, and improved student interest, knowledge, and achievement in American history. To achieve this, each year a group of 40 teachers will participate in a series of three two-day history immersion institutes during the school year along with a two-day outreach seminar, a three-day Summer Institute sponsored by NCHE, and a peer mentoring and observation program. The project will provide sustained intensive professional development consisting of lectures and guided readings by expert historians, immersion in Bourbon County's extensive collections of rare original manuscripts and materials, and guided field experiences.

Grantee Name:Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, KY
Project Name:We Hold These Truths: The Struggle for Freedom from Revolution to Reconstruction
Project Director:Elizabeth C. Storey
Number of Teachers Served:20
Number of School Districts Served:17
Number of Students Served:7,000
Grade Levels:8
Partners:Western Kentucky University, the Kentucky Library and Museum, the Kentucky Humanities Council, and History Alive!
Topics:year 1: the American Revolution, year 2: Forging the New Nation, and year 3: the Civil War
Methods:summer institutes, field trips, mentoring, digital storytelling, conferences, and literary learning communities

Although they live in the land of Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, and Henry Clay, 54% of the 8th grade students in the target areas fail to meet Kentucky state standards in traditional American history. The Cooperative's American history teachers often work in isolated areas that preclude collaboration with their peers. None of the target schools have offered professional development in American history at the local level for five years, and 35% of teachers have had no American history professional development at all during that time. In this project, 20 teachers will work in four teams, likely determined by geographic proximity, and will come together as a whole for Summer Institutes, travel to sites of historical significance, follow-up days, work sessions, development of units of study, and more. Each summer, our 20 teachers will meet at Western Kentucky University for a 10-day American history Summer Institute. The 10 days will include six days of content immersion and hands-on teaching/learning activities integrated with a four-day excursion to a historically significant site.

Grantee Name:Jefferson County Public Schools, KY
Project Name:America in Transition: Challenges and Achievements
Project Director:Laura Clifford
Number of Teachers Served:100
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:95,000
Grade Levels:8, 11
Partners:the University of Louisville, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Filson Historical Society, and the Frazier Historical Arms and the Conrad-Caldwell House Museums
Topics:year 1: the New Industrial and Urban Order, 1877-1900, year 2: Progressivism at High Tide, 1900-1929, and year 3: America's New Deal and World War II
Methods:summer institutes; field study programs in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.; book club and visiting scholar seminars; eGroup online community; and other scholarly seminars

The goals of the project are to build a network of American history teachers committed to professional growth; increase teacher knowledge of traditional American history and improve teaching practices; and improve the level of student achievement on the Kentucky Core Content Test and on the Advanced Placement American history exam.

Grantee Name:Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, KY
Project Name:Project USA: Understanding the Study of American History
Project Director:Michael Franken
Number of Teachers Served:39
Number of School Districts Served:6
Number of Students Served:2,008
Grade Levels:5, 8
Partners: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Teachers' Curriculum Institute, the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Association of Teachers of History, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Frazier Historical Arms Museum, and the Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Topics:Colonial America, colonization and the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, colonial and constitutional history, American heroes, Westward Expansion, slavery, and the Civil War
Methods:workshops, summer institutes, field experience and scholarship opportunities, study groups, battlefield tours, and living history reenactments

The goal of Project USA is to raise student achievement by improving the quality of instruction in traditional American history through professional development experiences, frequent and ongoing follow-up to support implementation, and key partnerships, which enhance teacher knowledge of history, content and improve classroom instruction. The project will take place in six rural school districts characterized by high rates of poverty. Participating schools report low student achievement in U.S. history; 69% of the schools fall below the state mean. The project will serve to improve content delivery strategies in American history to motivate and engage students and to raise levels of academic achievement. High turnover of teachers is also an aspect in poor student response; mentoring activities and creation of networks will help to alleviate this factor.

Grantee Name:Owen County Public Schools, KY
Project Name:Exploring America's Greatness, Leaders, and Events (EAGLE)
Project Director:Michael Franken
Number of Teachers Served:43
Number of School Districts Served:9
Number of Students Served:3,047
Grade Levels:9-12
Partners:The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Teachers' Curriculum Institute, the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Association of Teachers of History, the Kentucky Humanities Council, the Kentucky Council on Economic Education, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative
Topics:reconstruction, the Gilded Age, immigration, expansionism, the Spanish-American War, industrialization, the Progressive Movement, 20th Century wars, the Great Depression, the 1920's, and civil rights
Methods:institutes, workshops, coaching, mentoring, networking/study groups, and field trips

Many of the participating schools report low student achievement in U.S. history on standardized state tests. There is a high turnover rate among teachers of American history in the area, and the small number of American history teachers in these rural districts discourages collegial networks. The goal of Project EAGLE is to raise student achievement by improving the quality of instruction in traditional American history through high-level professional development experiences, frequent ongoing follow-up to support implementation, and key partnerships that enhance teacher knowledge of history content and improve classroom instruction. The project will also develop a supportive network of American history teachers.

Last Modified: 12/28/2006