Teaching American History

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New York 2006 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:Albany-Schoharie-Schenectady-Saratoga BOCES, NY
Project Name:Upstate New York Teaching of American History Project
Project Director:Cheryl Marcella
Funding:$995,679
Number of Teachers Served:28
Number of School Districts Served:14
Number of Students Served:60,000
Grade Levels:7-8
Partners:Union College, the New York State Historical Society, Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission, and the Greater Capital Region Teacher Center
Topics: year 1: Revolution and Constitution; the development of the new republic; and Westward Expansion, year 2: Slavery, abolition, and emancipation; extension of suffrage and citizenship; and the Civil Rights Movement, and year 3: The rise of industrial America; the rise of urban America; and the growth of America as a world leader
Methods:after-school and Saturday workshops, three summer institutes, field trips, and consultation with historians

Six middle schools of the 14 project consortium districts have been identified as not having made Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years in the same subject and grade. Six of the 28 project lead teachers have been selected from these schools. These lead teachers will participate in project activities, assist in the writing of lesson plans and instructional units, and disseminate lessons learned to their fellow teachers. The centerpiece of the project is a set of three annual summer institutes held on the campus of Union College. For four weeks each summer, Lead Teachers will work with local and nationally recognized historians to explore in depth topics of traditional American history organized around themes taken from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, then translate them into lesson plans and units of instruction that will make American history come alive for 7th and 8th graders. The knowledge gained will be disseminated to other middle school teachers.

Grantee Name:Albion Central School District, NY
Project Name:History in Action
Project Director:Laura E. Rog
Funding:$891,610
Number of Teachers Served:75
Number of School Districts Served:13
Number of Students Served:41,000
Grade Levels:6-12
Partners:Buffalo State College the Documentary Heritage Program, the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, the New York State Service Learning Leadership Institutes, and Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services
Topics:Native Americans, African Americans, women, and immigrants, and the use of historical tools of inquiry, such as museums and oral history
Methods:full-day training sessions and workshops, a residential institute in Washington, D.C., and experiences in historical museums with oral histories and at historical sites

The project will develop a regional American history learning community in two rural counties. There is a large deficit in their American history offerings as compared to suburban schools, specifically in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Two schools in the target project area do not offer AP classes in history, while all of the schools in nearby suburban Rochester do. To remedy this situation, participating teachers will take part in eight full-day workshops, a four-day residential summer institute, and a two-day curriculum planning session. Half of the workshops will focus on content, and half will focus on historical tools of inquiry. The history content will focus on four groups in American history who have struggled for full rights and citizenship.

Grantee Name:Jamestown Public Schools, NY
Project Name:Teachers Discovering History as Historians
Project Director:Paul J. Benson
Funding:$997,710
Number of Teachers Served:300
Number of School Districts Served:68
Number of Students Served:44,598
Grade Levels:4-5, 7-8, 11-12
Partners:Southern Tier Social Studies Consortium, Corning and Jamestown Community Colleges, St. Bonaventure University, AccelerateU, Corning Museum of Glass, the Chautauqua Institution, the Robert H. Jackson Center, and the Fenton History Center
Topics:growth of government and impact of turning points; struggles for justice in the U.S.; and U.S. foreign policy and international relations
Methods:summer institutes, online courses, fall in-service days, conferences, and summer symposia

The region is a classic "rust-belt" area that suffers from a declining tax base and population, rural isolation, and state neglect. Over half of the districts have been designated by the state as high need. The goal of the project is to improve student achievement across all of the districts. Other goals include development of deeper knowledge of history among teachers; expanded range of teaching methods; and promotion of a model for professional development. The program will focus on relevant historical and primary source documents, court cases, legislation and eyewitness historical accounts. Extensive technology training will be provided to enhance hardware, software and electronic resources in the classroom. This program strengthens teacher's cognitive processes and teaching strategies to develop a staff able to engage disconnected students in history not as a litany of facts, but as an interconnected series of ideas relevant to the past, present, and future.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education, NY
Project Name:Content and Continuity: A Citywide Approach to American History
Project Director:Elise Abegg
Funding:$1,966,343
Number of Teachers Served:1,000
Number of School Districts Served:32
Number of Students Served:1,000,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Columbia University, Bank Street College of Education, the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Channel 13/WNET (PBS), Facing History and Ourselves, and the American Place Theatre
Topics:defining the American Dream, realizing the American Dream (the Constitution), and successes and challenges of the American Dream
Methods:forums, workshops, lectures, museum visits, and summer institutes

The largest and most complex in the nation, the New York City school system is one of the neediest. With over 1,500 schools, it serves a population of more than 1,000,000 students. An estimated 750,000 students are from low-income families, and 94,000 are immigrants who have arrived within the past three years. The primary goal of Content and Continuity is to increase the content knowledge of teachers of American history at all levels in order to create a cohesive K-12 approach to the teaching of American history. As such, we will examine the content through the lens of the American Dream. At each school level, teachers will work with historians and cultural partners to examine content and how that content relates to each grade level. In our recently centralized system, it is crucial that we address this K-12 continuum so that teachers and students are able to deepen their knowledge of the various traditional American history topics. A subgroup of teachers will be chosen to participate in a follow-up mini-series of four after-school sessions during which they will work with historians and colleagues at local archives and at local historical sites/institutions to differentiate and expand on the content for each grade level.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education Autonomous Zone Schools, NY
Project Name:Inventing the People: Autonomous Zone Schools Teaching American History Grant
Project Director:Avram Barlowe
Funding:$1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served:30-90
Number of School Districts Served:No Information Available
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:7-12
Partners:Queens College, the City University of New York, and George Mason University
Topics:year 1: Constituting the People-colonies, revolution and the Constitution, year 2: Redefining the People—the Civil War and Reconstruction, industrial America, and the U.S. in the world, and year 3: the American people at home and abroad—the Great Depression, the New Deal, civil rights, Vietnam, and Brown v. Board of Education
Methods:History/inquiry summer school, summer institutes, school year retreats, classroom support, and interactive web tools

Of the highly diverse urban schools served by this project, 28 are Title I schools, and six are under NCLB review. There are high levels of poverty and significant numbers of English language learners. The New York City teaching force loses about 44 percent of its entering teachers after only four years, creating severe problems of continuity and control, as well as curriculum application and adaptation. Whatever their past preparation, a survey found that American history teachers could not keep up in their field, and found it hard to identify as historians and history educators without knowing where to find professional discussions centered around history and history teaching. The project will end the isolation of lone American history teachers in small schools, integrate strategies with the latest American history content knowledge, and connect teachers and scholars around nationally supported lessons and tools.

Grantee Name:Community School District 15, NY
Project Name:District 15 Teaching American History Project
Project Director:Linda Harris
Funding:$1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served:175
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:2, 4-5, 7-12
Partners:the College of Mount St. Vincent, the Brooklyn and New York Historical Societies, the Brooklyn Museum, the Historic House Trust of New York City, and the Museum of the City of New York
Topics:change and continuity in American democracy; gathering and interactions of peoples, cultures, and ideas; economic and technological changes and their relations to society, ideas, and environment; and the changing role of America in the world
Methods:graduate-level coursework, museum studies, seminars, curriculum development activities, and field trips

Of the district's 46 schools, 10 have been identified for intervention as Title I Corrective Action Schools or Schools in Need of Improvement. Recent test results have indicated that only half of the questions in American history were answered correctly on standardized tests taken by the district's eighth grade students. In grades 2, 4, and 5, none of the district's American history teachers are qualified in history or social studies; 60 percent are qualified at the secondary school level. The project will address four goals: providing professional development that improves teacher knowledge of content and related teaching skills; raising student achievement in American history; promoting traditional American history as a separate academic subject; and creating collaborative partnerships that support American history instruction. The project's content will include the historical themes contained in the National Assessment of Educational Progress in U.S. history.

Grantee Name:New York City Board of Education Districts 17, 18, and 22, NY
Project Name:Region 6 Secondary Schools Teacher as Historian Project
Project Director:Barbara Berg
Funding:$999,500
Number of Teachers Served:360
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:100,500
Grade Levels:9-12
Partners:Rutgers School of Law, Brooklyn College, the Library of America, the Brooklyn Museum, and Teaching Matters
Topics:the American Revolution, Native Americans, Westward Expansion, Reconstruction, the Civil War, World II, and the Civil Rights Movement
Methods:summer institutes, mentoring network, historical research workshops, and website

More than 80 % of secondary school students in the target districts score below the state passing rate on American history/social studies standardized measurements. The existing traditional American history curriculum is deficient, and teachers are not allocating enough time to teach the subject. This project will create a comprehensive, dynamic sustainable and replicable partnership that will improve student achievement in American history. Specifically, the project will prepare 15-20 Master Teachers who will be the core for improved traditional American history instruction in districts 17, 18 and 22 now and in the future; infuse invigorating high-quality, teacher-developed content into the existing curriculum; contribute nationally to best-practices; establish an ongoing infrastructure for high quality professional learning that can be used as a catalyst for research; create products that will support the dissemination of the project model, its philosophy and approaches; and engage teachers in a dialogue focused on sharing best practices in the teaching of traditional American history as a separate academic subject with noted historians from across the country through interactive video and Internet technologies.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education District 20, NY
Project Name:James Madison Seminar on TAH
Project Director:Bradford P. Wilson
Funding:$994,755
Number of Teachers Served:135
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:137,370
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:classical versus modern republicanism, the American Revolution, the Constitution, the Civil War and its aftermath, and civil rights, personal autonomy, and cultural conflict
Methods:summer seminars, professional development meetings, website, and museum visits

Data indicate that 50.8% of the districts' students are eligible for free lunch. Recent immigrants make up 9.9 % of the student population. Of the American history teachers in the districts, 40% have five or fewer years of experience, many are not certified to teach American history, and many of those who are certified did not major in history. During the period of the project, attention will be given to the development of pivotal ideas and institutions in American history, as well as pedagogical skills. The project will maintain a steady focus on the origins and evolution of America's fundamental political ideals, traditions, and constitutional institutions. The teacher participants will be asked to read a substantial amount of material, both of a narrative and documentary type. 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:New York City Department of Education District 21, NY
Project Name:Exploring the American Past: A Partnership to Improve Knowledge, Teaching, and Learning
Project Director:Simone McIntosh
Funding:$994,886
Number of Teachers Served:96, plus 24 assistant principals
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:13,000
Grade Levels:7, 8, and 11
Partners:the City University of New York, Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Television and Radio, and the Education Development Center
Topics:year 1: Democracy and Citizenship: the American Revolution, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the rise of Jim Crow, the Progressive Era, and the Civil Rights Movement, year 2: Becoming American: Jamestown, immigration trends, and the slave trade, and year 3: America and the world: Westward Expansion, the 1890s, and 20th Century wars
Methods:retreats with historians, summer institutes, and classroom visits

The middle and high schools that this program will serve are highly diverse urban schools, with 50% of students eligible to receive free lunch. Fifty-three percent of 8th graders in these schools failed the most recent New York State Intermediate Exam in U.S. history and government. An in-depth experience with traditional American history will spur their social and civic development, empower them as thinkers and doers in a democratic society, engage them in the community, and smooth transitions from middle to high school. Teachers and administrators who participate directly in this Project will undertake yearlong cycles of content training, collaborative planning of new instructional activities, and classroom testing and revision of those activities. The structure is designed not only to immerse teachers and supervisors in rigorous study of major events and themes with leading historians, but also to engage them in a sustained and collaborative process of implementation that will improve their students' literacy and their achievement in history.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education District 25, NY
Project Name:Region 3 Teacher as Historian Program
Project Director:Gus Hatzidimitriou
Funding:$999,975
Number of Teachers Served:45-60 master teachers, 150-300 classroom teachers
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:90,000
Grade Levels:5, 8, 10-11
Partners:the Library of America, St. John's University, Teaching Matters, Inc., Rutgers University, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Whitney Museum of American Art
Topics:elections, civil rights, the American Revolution, Native Americans, Westward Expansion, the Civil War, Reconstruction, George Washington, slavery, Abraham Lincoln, and the Cold War
Methods:summer institutes, mentoring, networking, independent research study, web activities, and an online art gallery

More than 50% of secondary school students in the participating districts score below the state passing rate on American history/social studies standardized measurements, and only 40% of 10th and 11th graders met or exceeded state standards in history. This project will create a comprehensive, dynamic, sustainable, and replicable partnership that will improve student achievement in American history. Specifically, the project will prepare 15-20 master teachers who will be the core for improved traditional American history instruction in the two participating districts now and in the future; infuse invigorating high-quality, teacher-developed content into the existing curriculum; contribute nationally to best practices; establish an ongoing infrastructure for high quality professional learning that can be used as a catalyst for research; create products that will support the dissemination of the project model, its philosophy and approaches; and engage teachers in a dialogue focused on sharing best practices in the teaching of traditional American history as a separate academic subject with noted historians from across the country through interactive video and Internet technologies.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education District 27, NY
Project Name:America Across the Ages
Project Director:Jacob M. Gutnicki
Funding:$999,957
Number of Teachers Served:105
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:990,957
Grade Levels:5, 7-8, 11
Partners:City College of New York, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the American Institute for History Education, WLIW Channel 13, United Streaming, New York Learns, Think Quest NYC, and C-SPAN in the Classroom
Topics:the American Revolution, the War of 1812, Madison, Monroe, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Industrial Revolution, westward migration, the Gold Rush, the origins of democracy, the development of the legal system, the Constitution
Methods:summer institutes, workshops, web activities, and field trips

Community School District 27 is the largest geographical school district in the New York City Department of Education. The overall level of poverty in this area qualifies 73 percent of the students for free/reduced lunch. Results of the district's social studies exams indicate a need for a focus on American history instruction. With 43.8% dropping out of school or not taking the American history Regents exam—which is required of all students to graduate—it is critical that reforms take place in teaching American History. The project will impact directly on the quality of instruction in the classroom as teachers work with students in creation of projects. This will be accomplished by offering teachers summer institutes and workshops throughout the year in which they will learn how to develop American history units of study. Teacher will also participate in field trips and take graduate courses leading to New York State certification in history.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education Region II, NY
Project Name:Telling America's Story: Traditional American History through a Local Lens
Project Director:Philip D. Panaritis
Funding:$998,189
Number of Teachers Served:75
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:60,000
Grade Levels:4, 7-8, 11
Partners:the Bartow-Pell Mansion, the Van Cortlandt House, the South Street Seaport Museum, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Lehman College, the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Society, and the Bronx African-American History Project
Topics:Liberty and diversity in New Netherlands/New York; the first capital and the framing of the Constitution; Empire State democratization in the Ages of Jefferson and Jackson; New York and the Civil War; the conflict over liberties in industrializing New York; the Progressive in Era New York; New York between the wars; New York in World War II; and the Big Apple today
Methods:institute, history lectures, mini-sessions, study groups, museum visits, newsletters, and website

The overwhelming majority of Region II students face serious obstacles to academic success. Lagging skills development in literacy make is difficult for the region's lowest performing students to comprehend adequately critical issues and events in American history. In addition, inadequate pre-service teacher preparation is a major factor in poor American history performance. The 63 targeted low-performing schools have larger percentages of poorly prepared teachers, high teacher turnover, and student populations with a wider range of needs than other schools in the region. The content focus of the project will be on learning the nation's history through the "local lens" of New York City history. The decision to focus on New York City is based on the concept that local history, with its immediacy for participants and their students, will be a powerful mediator for understanding American History concepts, knowledge, and skills. The project will provide teachers with in-depth content knowledge in all periods of American History and greatly expand the instructional strategies they can use, focusing on primary and web-mediated sources.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education Region 4, NY
Project Name:Learning History Together: the Content, Documents, and Artifacts of United States History for the Elementary Grades
Project Director:John-Paul Bianchi
Funding:$999,998
Number of Teachers Served:80-90
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:K-6
Partners:Queens College and the New York and Brooklyn historical Societies
Topics:year 1: Change (Native Americans, exploration and discovery, early European settlements, and U.S. history content in non-fiction materials), year 2: Nationalism (the colonial period in New York, the American Revolution, creating a new nation, and creating a democratic citizenry.), and year 3: Identity (Westward Expansion, industrialization, immigration then and now, and New York City-its place in U.S. history).
Methods:content knowledge sessions, staff development retreats, summer institutes, teacher observations and visits, interactions with historians, small group work, and conferences

A recent survey revealed that Region 4's elementary teachers are poorly prepared to teach American history. Most did not major in history, nor do they have the pedagogical preparation to teach historical inquiry in which students are encouraged to structure questions and interpret difference sources of information. In 2004, 40% of Region 4's 5th grade students failed the statewide social studies exam, with less than 12% performing at a proficient level. The project would provide Region 4's teachers with the content and the ability to deliver the content in an age-appropriate manner. Implementation of the project will be through ongoing staff development in both content and pedagogical practices and the development and field-testing of units of study. There will be four content knowledge sessions each year in which the participants will explore four topics in American history directly related to the content of the curriculum required in the elementary grades by the New York State Department of Education.

Grantee Name:Sullivan County Board of Education, NY
Project Name:Frontiers of American History
Project Director:George Will
Funding:$999,986
Number of Teachers Served:127
Number of School Districts Served:10
Number of Students Served:21,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:the Smithsonian Institution, the National Council for History Education, Cornell University, and the New York State Education Department
Topics:year 1: A New Nation, year 2: Westward Expansion, and year 3: A Global Nation
Methods:seminars, colloquia, field excursions, summer institutes, Internet-based research, the use of master teachers, and peer discussion groups

The New York State Department of Education has identified a number of consortium schools as Schools in Need of Improvement, Schools in Corrective Action, or Schools Requiring Academic Progress. Countywide, more than 30% of high school students are failing to achieve Regents Diploma standards in American history and 57% of middle school students are failing to achieve proficiency standards in American history assessments. During the first year of Frontiers, the project director will align elementary school American history standards curriculum with content standards. During years two and three, the director will align middle school content and high school instruction and content to the age-appropriate standards and grade level expectations defined by the State Department of Education. As a result, teachers will enter classrooms with research-based teaching techniques that will spark student interest in American history and lead to improved academic achievement.

Grantee Name:Yonkers Public Schools, NY
Project Name:Project Preamble
Project Director:Fern Eisgrub
Funding:$925,764
Number of Teachers Served:70
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:7-8, 11-12
Partners:Manhattan College, History Alive!, the New York Historical Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Yonkers Historical Society, WNET/Channel 13, and the Museum of Television and Radio
Topics:year 1: the Constitutional Era, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Age of Industrialization, the New Deal era, and the post-Civil Rights Movement, year 2: the judicial system, civil rights, Amendment 14, and the expanding role of the President, and year 3: Amendments 15 and 19, the Electoral College, the election process, turning point elections, and voting rights
Methods:summer institutes, seminars, and field trips

Over the life of the project, five distinct American periods—the Constitutional Era, Civil War and Reconstruction, the Age of Industrialization, the New Deal Era, and the Post-Civil Rights Movement—will be examined in light of immigration patterns, elections and voting rights, amendments to the Constitution, the judicial system, and the President's expanding role. The project will increase teacher knowledge and improve the quality of instruction by providing 70 American history teachers each project year, including special and bilingual education and library-media teachers of grades 7, 8, 11, and 12 at the district's middle and high schools, with intensive, systematic professional development. Eleven of the thirteen enduring Constitutional issues will be addressed through an in-depth study of the Preamble of the Constitution: national power, federalism, the judiciary, civil liberties, rights of the accused, equality, the rights of women, rights of ethnic and racial groups, presidential powers in wartime and foreign affairs, separation of powers, and avenues of representation.


 
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Last Modified: 01/03/2007