Teaching American History

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New Jersey 2006 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:Bergen County Technical Schools, NJ
Project Name:Making Highly Qualified History Teachers: A Statewide American History Professional Development Model
Project Director:Christine Wallace
Funding:$1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served:500
Number of School Districts Served:133
Number of Students Served:420,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Bergen County Special Services School District Teacher Training Center, William Paterson University, the New Jersey and Bergen County Historical Societies, and the American Labor Museum/Botto House
Topics:(Grades K-8) Native Americans, colonization, the American Revolution, the formation of the new Republic, and slavery. (Grades 9-12) Industrialization, the Labor, Progressive, and Civil Rights Movements, women's suffrage, the World and Cold Wars, and the Depression
Methods:on-site and online professional development workshops, graduate-level courses, field trips, mentoring by expert teachers, development of online clearinghouse for curriculum and resources

At least 28.7% of the region's students are classified as needing special education and are, for the most part, being taught by American history teachers who are not highly qualified in the subject matter. This project is a fully inclusive program model that targets K-12 teachers in high-poverty urban districts, teachers in compartmentalized schools, and special educators in self-contained classrooms, resource rooms, and inclusion programs. The project is a state-approved Highly Qualified Teacher professional development model in the core subject area of traditional American and New Jersey History. The project addresses the diverse learning needs of teachers and "at-risk" students within this region by providing a sustained and ongoing professional development program that "interweaves" historical content and differentiated delivery methods. The content knowledge, skills, and curriculum outcomes of this program reinforces a vision of the highly qualified American history teacher that supports the delivery of traditional American history as a separate and vital subject area across all grade levels and student populations.

Grantee Name:Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District, NJ
Project Name:The James Madison Seminar on the Origins and Development of the American Constitution
Project Director:Bradford P. Wilson
Funding:$997,380
Number of Teachers Served:45
Number of School Districts Served:5
Number of Students Served:21,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Association of Scholars.
Topics:year 1: the American Revolution and development of the Constitution, year 2: the Secession Crisis and the Civil War, year 3: 20th and 21st century constitutional and cultural conflicts, the Civil Rights movement, and personal autonomy
Methods:summer seminar, school year professional development activities, museum visits, period musical performances, and online activities

The project's chief objective will be to deepen the knowledge of the districts' history teachers about three defining periods in the constitutional history of the United States from the time of the American Revolution to the present. In doing so, it will maintain a steady focus on the origins and evolution of America's fundamental political ideals, traditions, and constitutional institutions. Attention will be given to development of the pedagogical skills that will guide teachers and their students in the gathering, examination, and organization of historical data in the interests of making historical explanations. A website of historical materials, essays on basic issues and events in American history, lessons plans, and other teaching materials will be created for the project. The project has been designed with a view toward its replication by other programs and scholars both within and beyond the extended network of the James Madison Program.

Grantee Name:Fort Lee School District, NJ
Project Name:The General George Washington Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Daniel Ward
Funding:$952,305
Number of Teachers Served:50
Number of School Districts Served:76
Number of Students Served:50,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:the New Jersey Historical Society, Seton Hall University, the Civil War Institute, Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, the Cold War Museum, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the American Institute for History Education
Topics:year 1: the Empire versus the Colonies, year 2: the Agrarian South versus the Industrializing North, and year 3: Liberal Democracy versus Totalitarianism
Methods:colloquia, seminars, summer institutes, visits to historical sites, research, and web activities

The new wave of immigration has had a profound impact on consortium schools. In Fort Lee, over 45 languages are spoken, and 66% of students speak a language other than English at home. Although the county has a number of high achieving school districts, all of its American history programs suffer from a lack of specialists on the teaching staff. Many long time teachers have not had a class in American history for over 20 years. Participants in this program will research history, write historical narratives, create substantive lessons, and generate vivacious, web-based history activities from the New Jersey history standards. Educators will be able to write classroom-appropriate lessons, making salient connections with earlier historical precedents. They will infuse their lessons into a larger Weblessons program and augment the colloquia-based lessons they receive throughout the grant.

Grantee Name:Freehold Regional High School District, NJ
Project Name:The James Madison Seminar on Teaching American History: the Origins and Development of the American Constitution
Project Director:Bradford P. Wilson
Funding:$997,380
Number of Teachers Served:45
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:6-12
Partners:Princeton University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Association of Scholars
Topics:year 1: the American Revolution and the constitutional period, year 2: the Secession Crisis: the American Civil War and its aftermath, and year 3: civil rights, personal autonomy, and cultural conflict
Methods:summer seminars, professional development meetings, a website, and museum visits

The New Jersey board of education recently amended policy so that the "complete cycle of U.S. history" will be presented during high school, not just historical events primarily occurring in the late 19th and 20th centuries. During the period of the project, attention will be given to the development of pedagogical skills that will guide teachers and students in gathering, examining, and organizing historical data in the interests of making historical explanations. A website of historical materials, essays on basic issues and events in American history, lessons plans, and other teaching materials will be created for the project.

Grantee Name:Berkeley Heights Public School District, NJ
Project Name:Governor Livingston Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Ronald J. Nash
Funding:$952,308
Number of Teachers Served:50
Number of School Districts Served:19
Number of Students Served:75,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Seton Hall University, the New Jersey Historical Society, the Civil War Institute, Gunston Hall, the Cold War Museum, Mount Vernon, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the American Institute for History Education
Topics:year 1: the Empire versus the Colonies, year 2: the Agrarian South versus the Industrializing North, and year 3: Liberal Democracy versus Totalitarianism
Methods:colloquia, field trips, CD-ROMs, summer institutes

Many New Jersey secondary student study American history under a teacher who never obtained a major or a minor in American history. A very high percentage of American history teachers in the state have not had a U.S. history survey course since their own high school career. This project seeks to remedy this situation by providing intensive content-based professional development for these teachers. This project will investigate traditional American history in a systematic, chronological, and thematic fashion, as part of the Binary Paideia approach to teaching history. In addition, it will publish a compilation of all of the Fellowship's events, materials, video's of the scholars' discussions, and notes, along with the Fellows' work, on 3 annual, interactive CD-ROMs and on a website, using experienced multimedia personnel with national credentials and award-winning portfolios.

Grantee Name:Manalapan-Englishtown Regional Schools, NJ
Project Name:The Molly Pitcher Fellowship
Project Director:Bruce Mitzak
Funding:$953,990
Number of Teachers Served:No Information Available
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:25,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Temple University, the American Institute for History Education, the New Jersey Historical Society, the New Jersey Park Service, Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, the Civil War Institute, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the Cold War Museum
Topics:year 1: the Empire versus the Colonies, year 2: the Agrarian South versus the Industrializing North, and year 3: Liberal Democracy versus Totalitarianism
Methods:colloquia, seminars, summer institutes, visits to historical sites, research, and web activities

While the consortium districts represent outstanding educational communities, they are deficient in the teaching of American history, especially at the elementary level. Those certified in social studies at the secondary level took few history courses in college. Of elementary school teachers, not one majored in the subject. Fellows participating in this project will be trained to train all history teachers within their districts and beyond, in much needed turnkey replication programs and to establish traditional American history curricula for all districts. Trainers will form core vertical-teams that will review their district's history curricula for gaps and overlaps. Consequently, students will be immersed in the contents of this program. The project will publish a compilation of all of the Fellowship's events, materials, videos of the scholars' discussions, and notes, along with the Fellows' work, on three annual, interactive CD-ROMs and on a website.

Grantee Name:Millville Public School District, NJ
Project Name:Millville P-47 Thunderbolts Liberty Fellowship Program
Project Director:Robert Trivellini
Funding:$472,673
Number of Teachers Served:35
Number of School Districts Served:5
Number of Students Served:8,050
Grade Levels:4-12
Partners:Temple University, the Civil War Institute, the Cold War Museum, Gunston Hall, the International Spy Museum, Mount Vernon, the Millville Army Air Field Museum, the New Jersey Historical Society, the New Jersey Park Service, and the American Institute for History Education
Topics:year 1: the Empire versus the Colonies, year 2: the Agrarian South versus the Industrializing North, and year 3: Liberal Democracy versus Totalitarianism
Methods: colloquia, field trips, summer institutes, discussions with scholars, the creation of unit lessons, mentoring, and peer coaching

Thirty-five educators teach history in the target schools but most do not have formal training or qualifications in the study and teaching of American history. Their students live in a region that suffers from extreme poverty and high unemployment. Six schools in the county have been ranked Category One (schools in need of improvement) and three are Category Two (schools that require close monitoring). The program will allow the consortium to design traditional, though innovative, American history curricula and lesson-units that will provide students with a substantive historical continuum, not a series of disconnected events, interspersed throughout a Social Studies curriculum. The districts will be able to develop American history curricula and teach it as a separate subject. Fellows enrolled in the project will be trained to train all history teachers within their districts and beyond in turnkey replication programs that will establish traditional American history curricula for all districts.

Grantee Name:Moorestown Township Public Schools, NJ
Project Name:The Alice Paul Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Geeta Heble
Funding:$952,308
Number of Teachers Served:50
Number of School Districts Served:10
Number of Students Served:30,951
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Temple University, the American Institute for History Education, the New Jersey Historical Society, the New Jersey Park Service, Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Civil War Institute, the Cold War Museum, and the International Spy Museum
Topics:year 1: the Empire versus the Colonies, year 2: the Agrarian South and the Industrializing North, and year 3: Liberal Democracy versus Totalitarianism
Methods:colloquia, field trips, mentoring, and summer institutes

At present, New Jersey does not assess its students in social studies. As a result, many school districts have taken monies budgeted for social studies and have used them to support language arts and mathematics, which are assessed by the state. In New Jersey, all high school teachers in social studies departments are certified to teach American history even if it is not one's area of specialization in college. Middle school and elementary school teachers have an even more limited education in the subject. Participating teachers will research and study the major political, economic, and ideological contrasts found in each of the centuries of American history, as they then create innovative classroom lessons. In addition, the teachers will investigate specific events, primary documents, personalities, turning points in American history, contemporary interpretations, and later historiographies pertaining to each period of study.

Grantee Name:Somerville Public School District, NJ
Project Name:James Madison Seminar on Teaching American History: the Origins and Development of the American Constitution
Project Director:Bradford P. Wilson
Funding:$997,380
Number of Teachers Served:45
Number of School Districts Served:9
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Princeton University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Association of Scholars
Topics:the American Revolution and the Constitutional era, the American Civil War and its aftermath, and civil rights, personal autonomy, and cultural conflict
Methods:summer seminars, professional development meetings, field trips, museum visits, period music concerts, website

In 2005, the New Jersey State Board of Education changed the two-year high school history curriculum to include "the complete cycle of American history," not just the Progressive Era to the present, as had been the practice. This project will prepare teachers to better understand, and to more effectively teach, the origins and early development of the new nation. Attention will be given to the development of pedagogical skills that will guide teachers and their students in the gathering, examination, and organization of historical data in the interests of making historical explanations. The project includes a two-week summer residential seminar hosted by the James Madison Program on the campus of Princeton University and four half-days of professional development activities during the academic year.

Grantee Name:Toms River Regional Schools, NJ
Project Name:James Madison Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Michael B. O'Connell
Funding:$952,307
Number of Teachers Served:50
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:20,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Temple University, the American Institute for History Education, the New Jersey Historical Society, the New Jersey Park Service, Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Civil War Institute, the Cold War Museum, the International Spy Museum
Topics:year 1: the Empire versus the Colonies, year 2: the Agrarian South and the Industrializing North, and year 3: Liberal Democracy versus Totalitarianism
Methods:colloquia, field trips, and summer institutes

This project will help to improve results in American history high school final exams, as far too many students achieve in the 60th percentile. At the same time, increased rigor in the district's American history courses is a goal, and the district would like to see increased enrollment in Advanced Placement American history programs. Elementary school and special education teachers will benefit strongly from participation. The teacher/fellows will be trained to train all history teachers within their districts and beyond, in much needed turnkey replication programs and to establish traditional American History curricula for all districts. The program will allow the district to design traditional, though innovative, American History curricula and lesson-units that will provide students with a substantive historical continuum, not a series of disconnected events, interspersed throughout a social studies curriculum. Fellows will research and study the major political, economic, and ideological contrasts found in each of the centuries of American history, as they then create innovative classroom lessons.


 
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Last Modified: 12/28/2006