Teaching American History

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Utah 2006 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Early College High School, UT
Project Name:Connections
Project Director:Stephen Zsiray
Number of Teachers Served:25 per year
Number of School Districts Served:52 charter schools
Number of Students Served:12,000
Grade Levels:4-5, 7-8, 11-12
Partners:Utah State University, Weber State University, 3Rs, Federal Court House, This is the Place Heritage Park, the Utah Education Network, the Utah Heritage Foundation, the Utah Historical Society, and the Utah State Office of Education-Social Science
Topics:year 1: Colonial, Revolutionary, and the Early Republic periods (including the Constitution), year 2: the Rise of the American Nation (1815-1900), and year 3: Modern America (1900-present)
Methods:seminar-style workshops, experiential learning field trips, virtual networks, mentoring, communities of practice, and media-based technology

The Utah Charter Schools Consortium includes 52 schools all across Utah and serves students of all ethnicities, from rural to inner-city communities. Its annual rate of student population growth is 7%. Many consortium students are at risk, while others are advanced learners; both groups have turned to charter schools for an education that accommodates their learning needs. Many of these schools have history teachers who serve as "one-person" social studies departments, and many are not considered highly qualified. Through the project, teachers across Utah will be connected in their efforts to better understand and teach American history. Their students will understand the connection of history throughout the past and present as well as curricula in other areas. Classrooms will be transformed into communities of active and engaged historians.

Grantee Name:Granite School District, UT
Project Name:Granite Teaching American History (G-TAH) Institute
Project Director:Mary Alice Rudelich
Number of Teachers Served:146
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:68,039
Grade Levels:4-5, 7-8, 11-12
Partners:the University of Utah, the 3Rs Project (the First Amendment Center), the Utah Historical Society, the Utah Law-Related Education Project/Center for Civic Education, and the Utah State Office of Education Social Science
Topics:year 1: the historic and philosophical foundations of American government and thought, the colonial period, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, year 2: the expansion of rights, the rise of political parties, and the protections of the Bill of Rights, and year 3: the role of the citizen in American democracy and U.S. history and foreign policy
Methods:academies, Saturday symposia, lectures, exhibits, trainings in lesson plan design, civic participation for students, and networking

GSD serves 68,039 students at 87 schools and is Utah's second largest school district. Unfortunately, 29 of the district's schools did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress. A large number (177) of 5th grade teachers have little or no coursework in American history and government, and of the 145 secondary-level history teachers, 52 are not highly qualified. The goals of the project are to increase subject knowledge, expand pedagogical technique, improve higher-order thinking skills, integrate historical inquiry/skills of historians, and engage in civic participation. Diverse training sessions that vary in intensity, duration, and frequency will give teachers the knowledge and understanding needed to confidently create and implement in-depth American history curriculum units of significant value to student learning. Trainings will be college-level quality, ensured by the utilization of expert instructors, embedded impacting pedagogical methods, integration of quality resources, and focus on up-to-date history research.

Grantee Name:Tooele County School District, UT
Project Name:Teaching American History Academy
Project Director:Bobbie Roberts
Number of Teachers Served:20
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:11,462
Grade Levels:4-5, 7-8, 11-12
Partners:Weber State University, the Salt Lake City Public Library, the Utah Federal District Court, This is the Place Heritage Park, the Utah State Archives, and the Law-Related Education Project/Center for Civic Education
Topics:year 1: Foundations, framework, and function of the U.S. government, year 2: We the People, and year 3: History in the making
Methods:symposia, workshops, mentoring, classroom observations, and field trips

As the population served by the school district continues to grow and diversify, it is escalating to near crisis. Influxes of new teachers (many new and inexperienced in teaching American history) and students (many new to the U.S.) lack awareness, interest, and understanding of how America came to be, what it means to be an American, and how all of this affects the history that is being made today and tomorrow. The Teaching American History Academy will connect teachers to valuable materials to support them as professional history educators, including memberships in professional history organizations. Participating teachers will be required to complete various assignments, such as a curriculum unit, research project, online reflections, study guides, and a portfolio. The project ultimately will create a community of historians comprised of teachers and students actively engaging in historic inquiry.

Last Modified: 12/18/2006