Teaching American History

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New Jersey 2008 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Asbury Park School District, NJ
Project Name:Martin Luther King Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:John Bernyk
Funding:$477,970
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:13,239
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:American Institute for Historians and History Educators, Brown University, Rutgers University, Bill of Rights Institute, Civil War Society
Topics:Year 1 - Building of an English America; Year 2 - Empire vs. the Colonies; Year 3 - Agrarian South and Industrial North
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, field experiences

The Asbury Park School District has been designated as a New Jersey Enterprise Zone and a Medically Underserved Area. As with many underserved urban districts, the majority of district teachers have had one or fewer courses in American history as part of their undergraduate programs, and many have not received professional development in history for many years. There are also a high number of new, less experienced teachers in the district. To address these challenges, the project will provide a sustained, intensive professional development program that will improve teachers' content knowledge as well as provide resources in best teaching practices. All activities will focus on historical thinking skills. Each year, the Fellows will participate in two 2-day colloquia, a 5-day summer institute, and a field study. Teachers will connect the historical content learned with classroom teaching through the preparation of a content-based portfolio and journal consisting of photographs, videos, artifacts, and writings. The historical topics of early America will include common law and natural law, English antecedent documents, American Indian history, and African slavery. For the second year, teachers will study the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. In Year 3, planned topics are the antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Each year of the project includes a field experience related to the historical era studied, including trips to Waterloo Lenape Indian Village in New Jersey, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg.

Grantee Name:Buena Regional School District, NJ
Project Name:The Architects of American History Fellowship
Project Director:Walter Whitaker
Funding:$499,998
Number of Teachers Served:90
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:3,114
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Temple University, Brown University, Rutgers University, American Institute of Historians and History Educators, Bill of Rights Institute, Civil War Society, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Washington Crossing Foundation
Topics:Year 1 - Building of an English America; Year 2 - Empire vs. the Colonies; Year 3 - Agrarian South and Industrial North
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, field experiences

The three districts have a poverty rate of over 50% and a high percentage of students failing to pass state assessments in reading and mathematics. Also, 70% of district teachers did not major or minor in American history, 62% have not participated in professional development within the last 10 years, and 50% are not certified in social studies. To address these deficiencies, the project will provide a sustained, intensive professional development program that will improve teachers' content knowledge as well as provide resources in best teaching practices. All activities will focus on historical thinking skills. Each year, the Fellows will participate in two 2-day colloquia, a 5-day summer institute, and a field study. Teachers will connect the historical content learned with classroom teaching through the preparation of a content-based portfolio and journal consisting of photographs, videos, artifacts, and writings. The historical topics of early America will include common law and natural law, English antecedent documents, American Indian history, and African slavery. For the second year, teachers will study the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. In Year 3, planned topics are the antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Each year of the project includes a field experience related to the historical era studied, including trips to Waterloo Lenape Indian Village in New Jersey, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg.

Grantee Name:Delaware Valley Regional High School District, NJ
Project Name:James Madison Seminar on Teaching American History
Project Director:Thomas Crop
Funding:$496,431
Number of Teachers Served:45
Number of School Districts Served:8
Number of Students Served:18,340
Grade Levels:6-12
Partners:Princeton University, Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Association of Scholars, and Princeton String Quartet
Topics:Year 1 - The American Revolution and U.S. Constitution; Year 2 - The Secession Crisis and the Civil War; and Year 3 - 20th and 21st Century constitutional conflicts
Methods:Summer seminars, lectures, field experiences, pedagogical workshops

The district teachers served by the project generally have weak preparation in American history with few teachers having completed courses in early American history. In addition, the majority of district teachers have had little or no exposure to American constitutional history. To address this historical content gap, the project will frame the study of American history in the context of the Constitution, and the entire scope of American history will be examined in this light. In addition, teachers will meet each year with district-based personnel to incorporate the historical content covered in the project with the districts' curricula and to refine and implement high-quality teaching strategies in their respective classrooms. The first year of the project will include a study of colonial life and institutions, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitutional Convention. Year 2 will examine the tension between states' rights and national sovereignty, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision, among others. The final year will focus on constitutional interpretation and cultural change from the early 20th Century to the present. A special feature of this project is a study of American music during the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries.

Grantee Name:Lakewood Public School District , NJ
Project Name:The Abigail Adams Historical Literacy Fellowship
Project Director:Gail White
Funding:$909,996
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:25,885
Grade Levels:K-8
Partners:American Institute for Historians and History Educators, Bill of Rights Institute, Civil War Society, National Constitution Center, Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, Cold War Museum, International Spy Museum
Topics:Year 1 - Building of an English America; Year 2 - Empire vs. the Colonies; Year 3 - Agrarian South and Industrial North
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, field experiences

The districts served by the consortium include high-poverty districts with large numbers of Title I schools. Recently, the districts have had a large influx of Hispanic families, which has greatly increased the districts' enrollment of English language learners. Additionally, 92% of district teachers do not hold a major or a minor in American history. To remedy this situation, the project will provide a sustained, intensive professional development program that will improve teachers' content knowledge as well as provide resources in best teaching practices. All activities will focus on historical thinking skills. Additionally, to serve the needs of the teachers' younger students, the project will include the explicit teaching of literacy skills to incorporate effective reading instruction into the American history content. Each year, the Fellows will participate in colloquia, a summer institute, and a field study. Teachers will connect the historical content learned with classroom teaching through the preparation of a content-based portfolio and journal. The historical topics of early America will include common law and natural law, English antecedent documents, American Indian history, and African slavery. For the second year, teachers will study the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. In Year 3, planned topics are the antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Each year of the project includes a field experience related to the historical era studied, including trips to Waterloo Lenape Indian Village in New Jersey, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg.

Grantee Name:Piscataway Township School District, NJ
Project Name:Mary Ludwig Hays MaCauley Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Judith Donahue
Funding:$879,897
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:6
Number of Students Served:24,620
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Seton Hall University, American Institute for Historians and History Educators, Brown University, Rutgers University, Bill of Rights Institute, Civil War Society, National Constitution Center, Mount Vernon, Cold War Museum, International Spy Museum
Topics:Year 1 - Building of an English America; Year 2 - Empire vs. the Colonies; Year 3 - Agrarian South and Industrial North
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, field experiences

The districts served by this project face educational as well as economic challenges, with five of the six districts classified as "In Need of Improvement" according to the No Child Left Behind Act and one of the districts classified as an Abbot Cistrict by the state. In addition, 23% of district teachers have neither a major nor a minor in American history, and 69% did not receive any professional development in history during the last academic year. To remedy this situation, the project will provide a sustained, intensive professional development program that will improve teachers' content knowledge as well as provide resources in best teaching practices. All activities will focus on historical thinking skills. Each year, the Fellows will participate in two 2-day colloquia, a 5-day summer institute, and a field study. Teachers will connect the historical content learned with classroom teaching through the preparation of a content-based portfolio and journal consisting of photographs, videos, artifacts, and writings. The historical topics of early America will include common law and natural law, English antecedent documents, American Indian history, and African slavery. For the second year, teachers will study the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. In Year 3, planned topics are the antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Each year of the project includes a field experience related to the historical era studied, including trips to Waterloo Lenape Indian Village in New Jersey, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg.

Grantee Name:Trenton School District, NJ
Project Name:Walt Whitman Historical Literacy Fellowship
Project Director:Rick Weiss
Funding:$999,762
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:33,326
Grade Levels:K-8
Partners:Temple University, American Institute for Historians and History Educators, Core Knowledge Foundation, Bill of Rights Institute, Civil War Society, National Constitution Center, Mount Vernon, Cold War Museum, International Spy Museum
Topics:Year 1 - Building of an English America; Year 2 - Empire vs. the Colonies; Year 3 - Agrarian South and Industrial North
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, field experiences

The partner school districts represent a consortium of three urban districts with high minority populations and a poverty rate of 65%. Both Trenton and Plainfield are state-designated Abbott Districts. In addition, the majority of district teachers have insufficient history content and pedagogical training and very little or no professional development in American history. To address these deficiencies, the project will provide a sustained, intensive professional development program that will improve teachers' content knowledge as well as provide resources in best teaching practices. All activities will focus on historical thinking skills. Additionally, to serve the needs of the teachers' younger students, the project will include the explicit teaching of literacy skills to incorporate effective reading instruction into the American history content. Each year, the Fellows will participate in colloquia, a summer institute, and a field study. Teachers will connect the historical content learned with classroom teaching through the preparation of a content-based portfolio and journal. The historical topics of early America will include common law and natural law, English antecedent documents, American Indian history, and African slavery. For the second year, teachers will study the French and Indian War, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. In Year 3, planned topics are the antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Each year of the project includes a field experience related to the historical era studied, including trips to Waterloo Lenape Indian Village in New Jersey, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg.



   
Last Modified: 08/14/2008