Teaching American History

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Massachusetts 2007 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School, MA
Project Name:Citizenship, Property, Identity, and Representation: The Historical Journey of Southern New England's Native Peoples
Project Director:John Daly
Number of Teachers Served:25-30
Number of School Districts Served:10
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:Assumption College, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Wampanoag Indigenous Studies Program at Plimoth Plantation
Topics:Contact through establishment of the Republic; the late 18th century to mid-20th century; mid-20th century to the present
Methods:Summer institutes, seminars, workshops, mentoring

This project provides elementary, middle, high school, and AP teachers of American history with an 80-hour per year course of professional development institutes and seminars on the interrelationships of Native and non-Native peoples of southern New England over the course of four centuries. All teacher participants must commit to the three-year program, and take a comprehensive entrance exam that is the basis for exit data learning measurements. Content will center on themes of citizenship, property, identity, and representation, and will be examined from the perspective of Native American and European cultures, as well as through the lens of sovereignty and ethnic/racial identity. The legal and judicial reemergence of Native American tribal identities in New England in the 20th century will be examined as a paradigm for legal, judicial, and constitutional processes that bring together all of the historical themes. Workshops and components of the summer institutes presented by Plimoth Plantation's Indigenous Studies Program will focus on historical content related to religion, government and laws, education, land/property, and identity in the context of the three chronological periods under study.

Grantee Name:Beverly Public Schools, MA
Project Name:Connecting ESSEX LINCs (Connecting Elementary Teachers, Sources and Scholarship to Explore Local History in a National Context)
Project Director:Brad Austin
Number of Teachers Served:75
Number of School Districts Served:24
Number of Students Served:95,000
Grade Levels:K-5
Partners:Salem State College, the Essex National Heritage Commission, and the National Archives and Records Administration-Northeast Region
Topics:Local history in national context; Governing in New England and the U.S.; Working in New England and the U.S.; and Populating New England and the U.S.
Methods:Seminars, summer institutes, web-based resource center, historic sites, graduate credit

ESSEX LINCs aims to have a long-term impact on Essex County and Massachusetts by inviting all county elementary teachers to participate in building their knowledge and ability to teach American history from "first contact" to the Civil War-the chronological spread of Massachusetts' elementary framework. Originally settled by Algonquian people, Salem's founding in 1626 made Essex County the site of the first European settlement. Its rich history and local institutions, reflecting national economic trends in the antebellum period, will be incorporated into and enhance the project curriculum-"local history in a national context." The content includes organizational philosophies of Native Americans, external and internal governments in colonial times, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, diverse cultural origins and factors prompting immigration, folktales, the Boston Tea Party, Revolutionary leaders, and leaders in science and technology, the arts, business, education, and politics, tax-supported facilities and services.

Grantee Name:Cape Cod Collaborative, MA
Project Name:A More Perfect Union: The Origins and Development of the U.S. Constitution
Project Director:Peter Gibbon
Number of Teachers Served:135
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:National Association of Scholars, Adams National Historical Park, Plimouth Plantation, Lowell National Historical Park
Topics:The American Revolution, the Constitution, the secession crisis, the Civil War, constitutional and cultural conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries
Methods:Lectures, historical site trips, summer seminars

The project brings together the Plymouth and Norton School Districts in a professional development consortium aimed at enhancing the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of 45 American History teachers in each of the three project years. The purpose of the program is to increase teachers' knowledge of three critical periods in American history through a sequence of activities enabling teachers to incorporate new subject matter into existing classes; incorporate historical habits of mind into the world view of students; and reflect on the role of individuals such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton on constitutional history and public policy. Subject matter is organized chronologically, with special emphasis on political crises in American history, namely the nation's founding, the house divided in the Civil War and reconstruction periods, and the late 20th Century in which issues of personal liberation, private and public morality, and cultural conflict have dominated political discussion and shaped future institutions.

Grantee Name:Fitchburg Public Schools, MA
Project Name:Pathways to American History
Project Director:Laura Baker
Number of Teachers Served:70
Number of School Districts Served:10
Number of Students Served:29,270
Grade Levels:5, 7, and 10
Partners:Fitchburg State College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Fitchburg Historical Society, Organization of American Historians
Topics:America in the Atlantic World (1450-1787); American Democracy (1787-1876); Remaking America (1877-1941); A Century of Civil Rights (1865-current); Immigration and American Identity (1880-1950); and American Century: U.S. Foreign Policy (1898-current)
Methods:Graduate-level seminars, conferences, lectureship series, workshops

Teachers participating in this professional development program will increase their content knowledge of U.S. history; increase their ability to locate, evaluate and interpret primary and secondary sources; and incorporate content into classroom curricula that promotes critical thinking and student learning. By integrating the American Historical Association's benchmarks for American history teachers, the program seeks to transform participants into "historical thinkers." Seminars focus on the interactions of Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans in the Atlantic world, covering slavery, colonial society, Enlightenment thought, and the impact of the Seven Years' War. They will consider the chartering of the Virginia Company in 1606 through Articles of Confederation, and the Massachusetts Constitution. Later periods will be explored in similar detail, concluding with an examination of Richard Nixon's China policy, the Iran hostage crisis, Berlin Wall collapse, and efforts to stem nuclear proliferation and conflict in the Middle East.

Grantee Name:Gateway Regional School District, MA
Project Name:American Promises
Project Director:Priscilla Miller
Number of Teachers Served:125-175
Number of School Districts Served:6
Number of Students Served:25,422
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Westfield State College Center for Teacher Education and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
Topics:The American Revolution; the Constitution; Slavery in a Transatlantic Context; Causes of the Civil War; Slavery vs. States' Rights; World War II; and The Civil Rights Movement
Methods:Seminar series, workshops, History to Go programs, distance learning, immersion weekend

Located in the southern Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts, the Gateway Consortium will offer professional development in traditional American history to 70 elementary and secondary teachers who have not previously participated in a TAH program. In response to needs identified by the districts, "American Promises" will provide content and instructional training on significant issues, episodes, and people from colonial times to the 20th century in the context of deals expressed in America's founding documents. Within three broad topics, subject matter will deal with: the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, rift between the colonies and British Empire, Federalist Papers and anti-federalist writings, local heroes, antebellum periods, Civil War, Reconstruction, Emancipation Proclamation, individuals such as Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and John Brown, Progressive Era, World Wars I and II, the New Deal, Civil Rights, reform movements, populism, industrialization, the Warren Court. Letters, diaries, artifacts, and municipal records are among the primary sources that will intensify understanding of the content. Eight seminars by acclaimed scholars will be held each year-four during the school year and four in the summer.

Grantee Name:Hudson Public Schools, MA
Project Name:Windows into America's Past: Continuity and Change in American History
Project Director:Gail Isabelle Webb
Number of Teachers Served:150
Number of School Districts Served:9
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:American Antiquarian Society, the National Archives-Northeast Region, University of Massachusetts Boston's Education Department, National Council for History Education, Primary Source, Tsongas Industrial History Center, and Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Topics:The First Amendment; Northern Slavery and the Slave Trade; Turning Points in American Foreign Policy; Expansion of Civil Rights in the South; The Role of Government in the American Economy; The Evolution of the Relationship between Labor and Management
Methods:Summer institutes, seminars, lectures, community speakers, coaching, history summit

Nine small school districts serving 13 towns in central Massachusetts form the Assabet Valley Collaborative in which some districts enroll up to 30 percent of their students as new immigrants. This project aims to develop a collegial culture among participants that extends into communities through materials and events emphasizing the importance of learning history. "Windows" will serve at least 50 classroom teachers annually from a pool of more than 225 U.S. history instructors. Since Hudson High School is designated a "First Amendment School," the district includes study of the First Amendment throughout its curriculum.

Grantee Name:New Bedford Public Schools, MA
Project Name:Writing History
Project Director:Andrew Hoffman
Number of Teachers Served:250
Number of School Districts Served:18
Number of Students Served:30,000
Grade Levels:3-5 and 8-12
Partners:Bristol Community College and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
Topics:Pre-colonial and colonial America to the present through the lens of "work and home"
Methods:Seminars, lectures, workshops

This project will serve over 100 teachers per year, half elementary and half secondary. Of the approximately 250 teachers who will participate, 100 will take introductory and advanced seminars (qualifying them for a graduate credit), and a subset of these will attend workshops for compiling guidebooks for other teachers across the state. The project will focus on training teachers to improve their students' writing skills, and will explore American history through the lens of "work and home." This theme provides a framework for integrating economics and technology into the narrative of the American experience. Elementary school teachers will address the following topics related to pre-colonial and colonial America: European contact with the New World; American Indians; settlement; sources of labor; gendered spheres and women's work; maritime labor; and the American Revolution. Secondary school teachers will study the labor in pre-industrial America, slavery and varieties of servitude, industrialization, the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on labor; immigrant labor; class struggle, mechanization of work, labor and the New Deal, and globalization.

Grantee Name:New Salem/Wendell Union School District, MA
Project Name:American Promises
Project Director:Barbara A. Mathews
Number of Teachers Served:150-200
Number of School Districts Served:14
Number of Students Served:21,000
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association and the Franklin County Professional Development Collaborative
Topics:Origins of American Constitutionalism; Jacksonian America; Antebellum Reform and the Sectional Crisis; the American West; World War II; George Washington; Exploring Tocqueville's America; The Underground Railroad; Lewis and Clark among the Indians; the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights; the Federalist Papers/anti-federalist writings; the Civil War and Reconstruction; Indian Removal; Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation; the Progressive era; reform movements; populism, Warren Court decisions
Methods:Seminars, summer institutes, mentoring, workshops, field study trips

The American history content of this professional development initiative is organized around the concept of American Promises. Three related themes will guide study of issues, episodes, and people: promises of the American Revolution, covering the colonial era to the young republic; testing the promises in the Civil War era and 19th century; and claiming the promises in the 20th century, covering two world wars, the New Deal, and the Civil Rights Movement. Participants in the "American Promises" professional development project will primarily come from school districts in the largely rural and poor northern Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts. Understanding fundamental premises expressed in founding documents, the move from rebellion to revolution, and how those premises were tested during the early national and antebellum periods through the present day will be critical issues for study, discussions, research, networking, and lesson planning. Guided explorations will be offered four times each year at local sites such as the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage and Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center.

Grantee Name:Town of Andover, MA
Project Name:Leadership in America: Dilemmas and Opportunities
Project Director:Henrietta Wagner
Number of Teachers Served:100
Number of School Districts Served:7
Number of Students Served:20,085
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:University of Massachusetts Lowell, National Park Service/Adams and John F. Kennedy National Historic Sites /Lowell National and Minuteman Historic Parks/Tsongas Industrial History Center, Facing History and Ourselves, Merrimack College, Lawrence History Center, Andover Historical Society
Topics:Three Worlds Meet, Colonization and Settlement, Revolution and the New Nation, Expansion and Reform, Civil War and Reconstruction, Development of the Industrial U.S., Emergence of Modern America, World War II, Post-War and Contemporary U.S.
Methods:Summer institutes, seminars, annual conferences, and book study group, mentoring

The project will address the need to strengthen teachers' knowledge of significant leaders and formative events in American history through the study of critical primary sources and instruction by master historians. It aims to help teachers achieve the "historical thinking standards" of the National Center for History in the Schools, and build local capacity to teach traditional American History through intensive instruction on historical events, turning points, individuals, deeds, and documents. Seminar subject matter ranges from 1865 to the present, including such topics as Conflicts and Foreign Policy, the Information Age and Globalization of the American Economy, Antebellum America, Science, Social Ideas and the Arts, Gilded Age, Beginnings of the Great Migration, Women's Suffrage, Immigration, Citizenship, and Civil Rights, Communists, Cold War, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

Grantee Name:Worcester Public Schools, MA
Project Name:Preserving Our Democracy
Project Director:Joan Fitton
Number of Teachers Served:750
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:3, 5, 10, and 11
Partners:Assumption College, the American Antiquarian Society, Old Sturbridge Village, Worcester State College
Topics:Encounters of different peoples; Revolutionary America; the First Republic; the West; the second American Revolution, 1845-1876; capital, labor, and technology; the American empire; immigration, reform movements; World War I and II; the reinvention of the republic; exclusive and inclusive American identities
Methods:Seminars, lectures, summer institutes, coaching, workshops

This professional development project serving a high-need urban school district, in which 8,700 students speak a language other than English, examines U.S. history in light of Crevecoeur's question, "What then, is the American, this new man?" Annually, some 250 teachers of U.S. history, including teachers of special education and English language learners, will study U.S. history content in terms of such themes as mechanization, scientific management, unionism, and the roles of local, state, and federal governments, while developing a context into which the Massachusetts state "frameworks" can also be incorporated.

Grantee Name:Weymouth Public Schools, MA
Project Name:Lest We Forget II
Project Director:John DeCoste
Number of Teachers Served:280
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:20,500
Grade Levels:3-5 and 9-12
Partners:University of Massachusetts-Boston History Department, John Adams National Park, Massachusetts Archives and Commonwealth Museum, Plimoth Plantation, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Tsongas Industrial Center, Corliss Tours, and Learners Online
Topics:American West, women in American society, education, the Cold War, Native Americans, urban growth, unions, reform movements, the Depression and World War II, industrialization, immigration, Civil War, urban politics
Methods:Summer institutes, conference, graduate courses, workshops, coaching

The Lest We Forget II professional development in American history project is focused on 280 teachers in Grades 3-5 and 9-12, but will impact 1,295 K-12 teachers in the four districts. The curriculum involves over 200 hours of college courses, week-long summer institutes, a three-day conference, immersion experiences at museums and sites, full-day workshops, and Internet-based services to teach content and promote historical thinking benchmarks. The University of Massachusetts-Boston will provide short and year-long courses each grant year.

Last Modified: 10/23/2007