Teaching American History

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Kentucky 2008 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Central Kentucky Educational Cooperative
Project Name:Changing How Experiential Education changes Teachers of American History (CHEETAH)
Project Director:John Beardsley
Number of Teachers Served:500
Number of School Districts Served:23
Number of Students Served:131,000
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:Georgetown College, National Council for History Education, Colonial Williamsburg, Teachers Curriculum Institute, Learners Online, Kentucky History Museum
Topics:Year 1: Colonization and the Road to Revolution (1607-1775); Year 2, The American Revolution and the Creation of a Nation (1776-1790); Year 3, Early Years of the Nation and the Road to Civil War (1791-1860)
Methods:Lectures, workshops

Central Kentucky Educational Cooperative, located in central Kentucky, will partner with Georgetown College, the National Council for History Education, Colonial Williamsburg, the Teachers Curriculum Institute, and the Kentucky History Museum to provide five year- long historical encounter sessions for 50 K-12 teachers of American history. Members of the faculty from Georgetown College will supplement the lectures of professional historians and renowned local and area historians from the partner organizations. Each year a cohort of 50 teachers will participate in a series of six history immersion institutes during the school year, along with an eight-day teacher institute, a three-day summer institute sponsored by NCHE, and a peer mentoring and observation program. CHEETAH will provide sustained intensive professional development consisting of lectures and guided readings by expert historians, immersion in the Kentucky History Museum's extensive collections of rare original manuscripts and materials, and guided field experiences at some of the most significant of Central Kentucky's outstanding historical sites. Each month's content-rich presentations and discussions will culminate in collaborative work in grade-level teams to integrate content and teaching strategies, with the ultimate goal of improving students' understanding of American History and performance on Kentucky's state assessment. The historical content be covered includes, but is not limited to, the following: Jamestown, the Mayflower, Plymouth and the colonial period, the Boston Tea Party, the Revolution, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, Lewis and Clark, and the War of 1812.

Grantee Name:Green River Regional Educational Cooperative
Project Name:Constitutional Investigators in Action (CIA)
Project Director:Elizabeth Storey
Number of Teachers Served:25
Number of School Districts Served:33
Number of Students Served:4,000
Grade Levels:Grade 5
Partners:Western Kentucky University, Colonial Williamsburg, Teachers Curriculum Institute, Bill of Rights Institute, National Constitution Center
Topics:Year 1: Roots of the Constitution: Colonial America and the American Revolution; Year 2: Creating the Constitution: Building a New Nation; Year 3: The Constitution Challenged and Preserved: Antebellum America to the Civil War
Methods:Learning communities, mentoring, study trips, summer institutes

CIA: Constitutional Investigators in Action will work with 25 fifth grade teachers to increase content knowledge and expertise in delivering history content. Teachers will participate in this inquiry-based project and agree to implement new content, strategies, and teacher-developed products. According to the needs assessment, the top five content needs are the following: the basic principles of democracy found in significant U.S. historical documents; using primary and secondary sources to describe significant events and interpret perspectives; describing significant events and explaining cause/effect relationships; identifying historical documents, selected readings, and speeches, and explaining significance; and describing the purpose of the U.S. government as defined in the Preamble. The project content aligns with state standards for assessments. In particular, CIA will address the deficiencies of district students regarding the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas related to American history. Course content will explore the following: the Declaration of Independence, Jamestown, the Revolution, the Constitutional Convention, the Age of Jackson, the abolition movement, and the Civil War, among others.

Grantee Name:Jefferson County Public Schools, KY
Project Name:Founding the American Nation
Project Director:William Daniel
Number of Teachers Served:90
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:98,537
Grade Levels:Grades 5, 8
Partners:National Constitution Center, University of Louisville
Topics:Year 1: North American Colonies in the Greater Atlantic World; Year 2: Struggle for Independence; Year 3: Building a New Government
Methods:Summer institutes, field studies, seminars, book clubs

Jefferson County Public Schools, the twenty-eighth largest urban school district in the nation, has 75 schools identified as in Need of Improvement under Title 1, and 33 schools have been identified as not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Consequently, 54 schools scored below the state average on the history/social studies portion of the Kentucky Core Content Test in 2007. Founding the American Nation is designed to improve academic achievement in district students by strengthening teachers' knowledge and understanding of traditional American history. Emphasis is placed on analyzing and understanding primary source materials, and program participants will develop an understanding of the ways in which our founding documents have shaped the nation. Strategies for addressing the objectives of the project include the formation of a district-wide American History Alliance for fifth and eighth grade teachers, summer institutes, historical field studies, visiting scholars' seminars, book club seminars, staff development that supports content transition, provision of corresponding educational materials, and classroom support. The content of this program examines early American history in depth and focuses on historical conditions and significant events that led to the founding of the American nation and the early evolution of American political democracy.

Grantee Name:Powell County Board of Education
Project Name:Democratic Visions: American History from Civil War to Civil Rights
Project Director:Rebecca Hanley
Number of Teachers Served:90
Number of School Districts Served:11
Number of Students Served:20,680
Grade Levels:Grades 4-12
Partners:Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Heritage Council, University of Kentucky, Berea College
Topics:Year 1: Colonial America; Year 2: American Revolution and the New Nation; Year 3: Civil War and Reconstruction
Methods:Seminars, summer institutes, virtual book discussion

The low performance of students in the Powell County region on statewide history assessments coincides with a lack of in-depth American history content preparation among the region's social studies teachers. To deepen our teachers' preparation in American history, and particularly to connect local and regional history to national narratives, the Powell County Board of Education has developed a unique partnership that pools the resources of the Kentucky Historical Society, the University of Kentucky, Berea College, and the Kentucky Heritage Council, for the benefit of ten school districts in Eastern Kentucky. Thirty history and social studies teachers in Grades 4-12 selected for the program will be drawn from those ten counties. Each year, teachers will participate in two two-day seminars, a summer institute, and a virtual book discussion on the year's themes. Activities will be supplemented by ongoing discussion using Blackboard web technology, a project website, and in-classroom visits and assistance by two master teachers. The purpose of the collaboration is to develop a model to provide ongoing, intensive professional development in American history content and instructional techniques and to build a regionally based community of scholars to improve the teaching and learning of American history. The historical content will cover the full scope of American history from early Native American culture to the end of the 19th Century.

Last Modified: 08/14/2008