Teaching American History

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Mississippi 2006 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Alcorn School District, MS
Project Name:THE PAST: Teaching History Educators Pedagogy, Academic Standards, and Technology
Project Director:Mike Wamsley
Number of Teachers Served:33
Number of School Districts Served:11
Number of Students Served:25,376
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:the National Association of Scholars, Mississippi State University, Anodyne PDS, the national military parks of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, Shiloh, and Vicksburg, and the Fort Sumter National Monument
Topics:year 1: Early America (elementary school level), year 2: the 19th century (middle school level), and year 3: the 1880s to the present (high school level)
Methods:summer colloquia, technology training, local history visits, curriculum development activities, and quarterly follow-up activities

Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation, and the target area that this project will serve is one of the poorest regions in the state. Fifty-seven percent of students live below the poverty line. Working with history subject specialists across the consortium, THE PAST's team has put together a list of approaches that will best improve history teaching practices in the region. Each aspect of the project was intentionally tailored to meet one of the unique needs of the region. The Summer Colloquium will strongly work to raise content knowledge in participating teachers. The local history program will send the teachers out of their area - and via digital cameras and multimedia equipment, they will bring historic places from the outside world back into their classrooms, thus helping to ameliorate the problems of cultural and social isolation. Teachers will demonstrate increased proficiency in history content, pedagogy, and the use of technology.

Grantee Name:Winona Public Schools, MS
Project Name:Project History in Schools (HIS)
Project Director:Marsha Cummings
Number of Teachers Served:32
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:900
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:the National Council for History Education and Mississippi Valley State University
Topics:the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II
Methods:colloquia, university-sponsored enrichment activities, group and individual instruction, mentoring, and documentation of best practices

The two partnering school districts are located in Montgomery County, Mississippi, which meets the U.S. Census definition of an economically distressed community. Project HIS will give teachers critical content knowledge and content-related teaching strategies to take into the classroom and instruct students in a manner that will raise student achievement. Project teachers will be trained to use a content-rich approach, with content-related teaching strategies, that augments increased content knowledge and appreciation of traditional American history as a separate subject within the core curriculum. The project expects that, by the end of the 2008-09 school year, 90% of 11th grade U.S. history students in consortium districts will exceed minimum expectations on the U.S. history exit test as prescribed by the Mississippi Department of Education.

Last Modified: 08/21/2006