Teaching American History

Current Section
 Office of Innovation and Improvement Home
Georgia 2006 Grant Abstracts
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Richmond County Board of Education, GA
Project Name:Witnessing History: Experiencing the Past to Understand the Future
Project Director:Lounelle Beecher
Number of Teachers Served:62
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:2,700
Grade Levels:4, 5, 8-12
Partners:Augusta State University, the Georgia Archives, the South Carolina Archives and History Center, Fort Sumter National Monument, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Topics:year 1: 1700- 1840, year 2: 1840-1913, and year 3: 1914-2005
Methods:development of 372 standards-based online American history lessons, field trips, summer institutes, history days, and virtual learning meetings

In Richmond County, 69% of students are economically disadvantaged, and nearly one-third of schools in the district did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In partnering Jefferson County, 80% of students are economically disadvantaged, and no schools achieved AYP. Both counties have high rates of dropouts and low American history test scores. This project provides authentic professional learning that is deeply embedded in real-world settings and based upon an existing successful program. The 62 participants (one from each elementary, middle, and high school) will earn a special endorsement in the teaching of American history as a single subject at the end of this three-year program. They will also earn all professional learning units required for teaching certificate renewal.

Grantee Name:Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, GA
Project Name:Made in America: Courage, Imagination, Determination
Project Director:Candy Lowe
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:33,816
Grade Levels:K-3, 9-12
Partners:the Georgia Historical Society and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Topics:year 1: Colonization, year 2: Western Expansion, and year 3: Industrial America
Methods:reading scholarly texts, interaction with historians, travel to historic sites, coaching, "History in a Box," traveling panel exhibits, and online technology

With over half of its schools designated as Title I, schools in the Savannah-Chatham school system consistently rank below the state average in social studies on state criterion-referenced tests and below the national average on norm-referenced tests. Only four of 30 elementary schools and one of six high schools ranked in the top quartile of schools on the 2005 Georgia Criterion Reference Test. The project will ensure that teachers will have the knowledge to improve the current state of student achievement in history. Reading scholarly historical texts of major events, periods, and ideas in American history, engaging in evocative interactions with professional historians, traveling to historic sites, and learning from a history content coach will provide participating teachers with a strong foundation of knowledge of the nation's history. This newly acquired knowledge will enable district teachers to deliver better instruction in American history content to learners at pivotal moments in their educational careers.

Last Modified: 08/18/2006