Teaching American History

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Pennsylvania 2006 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Greencastle-Antrim School District, PA
Project Name:Continuity and Change: America in the 20th Century
Project Director:Michael J. Meier
Number of Teachers Served:123
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:22,000
Grade Levels:9-12
Partners:the National Council for History Education, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Allison-Antrim and Waynesboro Museums
Topics:year 1: Reordering American Life: Progressivism to the New Deal-Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt (1900-1940), year 2: America in the World: WWII, the Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam (1941-1995), and year 3: Postwar America: Civil Rights, the Sixties, and the Rise of Conservatism (1945-1995)
Methods:colloquia, information on annotated primary sources and storytelling skills, "History in a Box" resource kits, traveling panel exhibitions, workshops, summer seminars, and book discussions

The project will address the need for teachers trained in American history, a lack of access to historians for content enrichment and a lack of ongoing collaboration among teachers of American history. Its ultimate goal is to improve student academic achievement through improvements in teacher content knowledge of traditional American history. Building on the concluding Teaching American History project that examined 18th and 19th century American history, this project will assist the Consortium's 123 secondary history instructors in becoming scholar-teachers with a three-year, in-depth examination of how American ideology and other key elements of American life from the 18th and 19th centuries were carried into the 20th century world. Through this content-rich professional development project, teachers will gain the historical knowledge and resources necessary to reinvigorate their classroom instruction and subsequently impact students' understanding of important questions, themes and narratives of traditional American history.

Grantee Name:Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit, PA
Project Name:Teaching American History through the Pennsylvania Story
Project Director:JoAnn Bova
Number of Teachers Served:111
Number of School Districts Served:17
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:3-8
Partners:Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, the Erie County Historical Society, Fort LeBoeuf Museum, and the Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial
Topics:year 1: Pennsylvania Story: Building a Commonwealth, year 2: Surviving a Catastrophe: Pennsylvania and the Civil War, and year 3: America's Melting Pot: Politics, Labor, and Urbanization
Methods:three-credit coursework, summer institutes, colloquia, web activities, visits to historical sites, and research activities

In the participating school districts, 79% of 4th grade and 74% of 8th grade students scored below proficiency on the state American history test. Only 2% of both groups reached advanced proficiency on the test. Participants—a portion of whom will be pre-service teachers—will become familiar with historical methodology (including analyzing primary and secondary source data) and examining key events in state history. The ultimate goal is to increase student achievement through reading and analysis of historical documents, and to demonstrate mastery through writing and debate.

Grantee Name:Reading School District, PA
Project Name:William Penn Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:JuliAnne Kline
Number of Teachers Served:50
Number of School Districts Served:18
Number of Students Served:25,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Temple University, the American Institute for History Education, the Civil War Institute, the Cold War Museum, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Gunston Hall, the International Spy Museum, and Mount Vernon
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

With high levels of student poverty and a 15% rate of limited English proficient students, the state has assigned the Reading School District a "district improvement" status. Students district-wide have not made AYP in reading and mathematics. The William Penn Liberty Fellowship will deepen the Fellows' comprehension of traditional American history, through the use of primary sources, the study of historical events, issues, personalities, turning points, and interpretations of events by coeval contemporaries, along with the study of modern historiographies. The Fellowship will investigate traditional American history in a systematic, chronological, and thematic fashion, as part of the Binary Paideia approach to teaching history.

Last Modified: 08/18/2006