Teaching American History

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Oregon 2009 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Douglas Education Service District
Project Name:From Sea to Shining Sea: Revisiting Our American Ideals
Project Director:Julia Johnson
Funding:$999,996 over 3 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:80
Number of School Districts Served:23
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Bandon Historical Society Museum, Coos Historical and Maritime Museum, Douglas County Historical Society, Douglas County Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Elkton Community Education Center, Umpqua Discovery Center
Topics:Year 1: Project Development
Year 2 (elementary): Beginnings to 1607; Colonization, Settlement, Community; The Revolution and New Nation
Year 3 (middle school): The Revolution and the New Nation; Expansion and Reform; Crisis and the Union Year 3 (high school): The Development of Modern America; Modern America and the World Wars; Contemporary America

Located in western Oregon, the Douglas and South Coast Education Service Districts serve 23 rural school districts, 11 of which have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years. Sixty-nine percent of middle school students and 52 percent of high school students have scored below the state average on writing tests, and all 23 districts have documented shortages of teachers highly qualified to teach history. From Sea to Shining Sea will address these shortages by providing 100 hours of professional development and opportunities for teachers to earn credit toward a master’s degree. Activities will include a summer institute that incorporates field trips, two colloquia during the school year, two lesson observation/mentoring sessions with the project director, and small learning communities among participants. Also, participants will receive an allowance for purchasing primary objects and materials for their classrooms. Built into the program will be opportunities for teachers to improve their understanding of Oregon's Common Curriculum Goals and Content Standards, to modify and refine two lesson plans, and to share their knowledge with colleagues at their schools. Year 1 will be dedicated to project development, Year 2 will target 27 elementary teachers, and Year 3 will target 27 middle school and 26 high school teachers. From Sea to Shining Sea will explore the ideas and principals that have guided the course of state, regional, and national history and shaped the political scene. Instructional strategies will emphasize historical inquiry, research and analysis of primary documents, with content aligned to state standards. Standards-based lesson plans created during the program will be shared with all participants.

Grantee Name:High Desert Education Service District
Project Name:Path Through History
Project Director:Bill Rexford
Funding:$1,599,930 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:150
Number of School Districts Served:18
Grade Levels:4-12
Partners:Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, University of Oregon, eLearning Systems International
Topics:Year 1 (elementary): Beginnings to 1607; The Revolution and the New Nation (1763-1815)
Year 2 (middle): Expansion and Reform (1801-1861); Crisis of the Union: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
Year 3 (high): Modern America and the World Wars (1914-1945); Contemporary America (1945-present)
Year 4 (elementary and middle): All topics from Years 1 and 2
Year 5 (middle and high): All topics from Years 2 and 3
Methods:Workshops, online courses, book studies, lectures, field trips, summer sessions, classroom observations

The Path Through History (Path) districts occupy nearly 18,000 square miles in predominantly rural central Oregon, a region where many schools are isolated from cultural and historical resources and lack access to many professional development opportunities. Path will provide teachers in these districts with face-to-face and online professional development activities—workshops, lectures, field trips, Web courses and more—designed to bring historical resources to even the most remote locations. In some cases, teachers will travel to meeting sites; in others, project staff and teacher-leaders will make school visits for classroom observations and one-on-one coaching sessions. Each year, 30 teachers—preferably in school or grade-level teams—will be recruited from schools with the greatest needs. Five additional teachers who participated in a previous Teaching American History grant will be recruited to act as district teacher-leaders who can develop all teachers' skills and work with administrators to implement structural changes. Path will apply five historical inquiry themes developed in the previous grant—the American Dream, the Growth of Democracy, Cultural Conflict, Expansion of Borders, and Technology and Change. Each year's content will align with the grade level(s) of the year's participants. Instructional approaches will include constructivist theory, standards-based teaching and learning, formative assessment, differentiated instruction, use of primary and online resources, and employing critical thinking skills. In addition to skilled teachers who can support their colleagues, the project will produce a research study on the project's effects on teacher and student knowledge, a Web site that includes constructivist, rigorous, and standards-based lesson plans, and ongoing Professional Learning Communities.

Last Modified: 09/10/2009