Teaching American History

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California 2007 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Del Norte Unified School District, CA
Project Name:State of Jefferson Teaching American History Program
Project Director:Steven Godla
Number of Teachers Served:90
Number of School Districts Served:36
Number of Students Served:28,000
Grade Levels:5, 8, and 11
Partners:Humboldt State University, Sonoma State University, Del Norte Historical Society, Coos County Historical Society, Curry County Historical Society, Josephine County Historical Society, Siskiyou County Museum, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the White House Historical Association, and the Center for Civic Education
Topics:Pre-Columbian-Constitutional Era, Constitutional Era-Reconstruction/Gilded Age, Gilded Age-late 20th Century
Methods:Graduate courses, readings, study trips, lesson plans, workshops

This professional development project in American history serves five counties suffering from high chronic unemployment because of decline in the timber and fishing industries. There are no four-year colleges in the area, and most teachers have little to no training in American history and are geographically isolated. Each year, the project will provide a different cohort of 30 teachers with 140 hours of graduate-level courses, extensive readings and lesson plan development, and conduct, in Years 1 and 2, a seven-to-ten-day study trip to the Columbia River basin, and in Year 3, a two-week liberty and civil rights multi-state summer study trip. Content will include, among other topics: cooperation and conflict between Indian nations and settlers, colonial struggles, the American Revolution, Constitutional Convention, Federalist/anti-Federalists, western explorations, the Civil War and Reconstruction, imperialism, immigration, industrialism, the Great Depression, World War II, civil rights, and the Cold War.

Grantee Name:Fresno County Office of Education, CA
Project Name:The Meaning of Liberty
Project Director:To Be Announced
Number of Teachers Served:150
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:314,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:California State University-Fresno's History Project, the American Institute of Historians and History Educators, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Civil War Society, and the Fresno Historical Society, the American Institute for History Education
Topics:The empire vs. the colonies; the agrarian South and the industrializing North; liberal democracy vs. totalitarianism
Methods:Colloquia, field trips, summer institutes

The three school districts served by this project have a 67 percent student poverty rate and a large number of Latino, Hmong, and other Indochinese students, including many who are English language learners. The project will provide 11 days of training for 50 teachers per year, with half of each day devoted to learning American history, and the other half devoted to pedagogical training and using historical resources for planning lessons. In the first year, teacher "Fellows" will study the rift between the British Empire and its North American colonies by reading the work of philosophers and political leaders and studying the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. Year 2 Fellows will contrast the agrarian South with the developing market economy of the northern states during the 19th century. Topics will include slavery, major political leaders of the time, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the formation of the urban working class, immigration, and the United States' entrance onto the world stage. In the final year of the project, Fellows will contrast American societies with totalitarian regimes that the U.S. opposed in the 20th century. Fellows will study Progressivism, World War I, Wilsonian international liberalism, Russian and German socialism, Japanese imperialism, Italian facism, the Cold War, and the War on Terror.

Grantee Name:Hacienda La Puenta Unified School District, CA
Project Name:Extending Frontiers: Becoming Americans
Project Director:Judith Carlton
Number of Teachers Served:20
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:5, 8, and 11
Partners:California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
Topics:Year 1, Extending the European Frontier and Becoming Americans; Year 2, Extending the Western Frontier and Becoming Continental; Year 3, Extending American Influence and Becoming Global Citizens
Methods:Graduate courses, historic sites, seminars, summer institutes

This project provides opportunity for 20 history/social science teachers and pre-service teachers to engage in master's level coursework, experiential learning, and individual research focusing on the impact of three American history eras on shaping the American character. Participants will disseminate findings at regional and national conferences and through professional journals. As a capstone, teacher participants complete a master's thesis or project dealing with an aspect of America's founding, westward expansion, or emergence as a world power from the late 19th century to the present. Course content explores the impact of colonial settlement on American Indians, the Revolutionary period of 1776-1783, creation and ratification of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, geographic expansion of the country and growth of a diverse population, the Second Great Awakening, the anti-slavery movement as represented by William Lloyd Garrison's publication of The Liberator. An intensive 40-hour seminar on the 1776-1831 period precedes scholar-led travel to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Year 2 study explores the Civil War and Reconstruction, westward expansion, immigration, and reform movements, in addition to impacts on Europeans and American Indians. Similar 40-hour seminars examine the role of expanding industry and technology on social change. Throughout the project, participants meet quarterly to share best practices, discuss progress, and interact with scholars.

Grantee Name:Long Beach Unified School District, CA
Project Name:A Red, White, and Blueprint for History
Project Director:Linda Mehlbrech
Number of Teachers Served:100
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:9,000
Grade Levels:3-5
Partners:The History Channel, History Social Science Project at California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach City College, and California State University-Dominguez Hills
Topics:American Indian Nations, European Exploration, American Government, the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush, State and Federal Constitutions, Railroads, Japanese Internment Camps, Technology of Exploration, Atlantic Commerce, Treaties and Wars, The Trail of Tears, American Law, the American Revolution
Methods:Summer institutes, monthly seminars, graduate study, Disciplined Inquiry training model

The professional development program aims to prepare two cohorts of teachers who will change the way American history is taught in the district's high-risk schools. Recruited from schools cited for intervention, a cohort of 75 elementary grade teachers (25 each in Grades 3-5) will be prepared in content and pedagogy to improve student performance. A second cohort of 25 teachers who have completed three years of an earlier TAH initiative will earn master's degrees in U.S. history, making them "Cognitive Contractors" working to improve history teaching in their own schools and serving as mentors. To build a deeper understanding of traditional American history, the trained cohort will use a model that layers California history standards with themes and ideas from the Open Court Reading Series.

Grantee Name:Los Angeles County Office of Education, CA
Project Name:No Citizen Left Behind: Law and Society in Modern America (1890-2007)
Project Director:Michelle Herczog
Number of Teachers Served:75
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:9-12
Partners:National Center for History in the Schools, the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, and the Institute at Indian Hill
Topics:Immigration and assimilation, technology and entrepreneurship, education and achievement, the changing world of women, civil liberties and civil rights, rural and urban labor, and the changing American city
Methods:Symposia, field study

No Citizen Left Behind is designed to improve the teaching of 20th century American history to students largely under-served in conventional educational programs-students in juvenile hall, court, community schools, and continuation schools throughout the county. Because these students face major challenges of low literacy, limited personal/social support, learning disabilities, and limited English proficiency, teachers will learn to adapt curricular materials to encourage achievement. The project engages 25 teachers each year in seven-day symposia in Pasadena and seven days of field study in Chicago and Birmingham with a special focus on the rule of law, social justice, citizen rights and responsibilities, and the role of the ordinary citizen in shaping American society. Immigration content compares late 19th and early 20th century with post-1965 immigration. Court cases will reflect changing definitions of citizenship.

Grantee Name:Los Angeles Unified School District, CA
Project Name:America's Promise: The Fulfillment of Democratic Ideals
Project Director:Herrera Stewart
Number of Teachers Served:150
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:77,900
Grade Levels:5, 8, and 11
Partners:University of California at Los Angeles, History-Geography Project, The Huntington Library, the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Cultural Center
Topics:Year 1, Democratic Ideals and Our Milestone Documents; Year 2, The Search for Rights and Justice; Year 3, Democracy and Foreign Policy
Methods:Summer institutes, seminars, conferences, coaching

The Los Angeles Unified School District's Local District 7 is the highest need local district, with 14 of its 15 secondary schools in Program Improvement status. Since Local District 7 also struggles with high staff turnover, this project was structured to develop vital networks and the recruitment of on-going cohorts to help sustain involvement in the program and the schools. The overarching concept of this project is America's exploration of the meaning of democracy and freedom. Along with study of founding documents, course presentations will include the views of groups whose voices were less visible. Integrated with California standards, the content follows annual themes and includes examination of colonial society, the impact of the Enlightenment, the Constitution. the Federalist Papers, the Bill of Rights, John Marshall and the Supreme Court, lives of Black Americans, westward migration, Native Americans, the Civil War, immigration, reform movements, the Red Scare and attacks on civil liberties, the Civil Rights movement, and the Cold War, among others.

Grantee Name:Northern Humboldt Union High School District, CA
Project Name:The History of American Diplomacy and International Relations from 1700 to 2000
Project Director:Jack Bareilles
Number of Teachers Served:65
Number of School Districts Served:30
Number of Students Served:19,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Office of the Historian of the U.S. State Department, and Humboldt State University
Topics:Colonial America in the Atlantic World, The Seven Years War and American Colonies, the American Revolution to the War of 1812, From the First Seminole War to the Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny and the Mexican American War, Slavery, Abolitionism and Foreign Relations during the Civil War
Methods:Workshops, summer institutes, regional and national history conferences, readings, seminars

Diplomacy and foreign relations play crucial roles in American history, but few history teachers have any academic background in American diplomatic affairs. This project provides a cohort of 35 teachers with 90 hours of graduate-level U.S. history instruction, and up to 30 pre-service teachers with other professional development activities, for a total of 300 instruction hours. Focusing on the relationships between unfolding events in the U.S. and America's foreign relations, teachers will study economic threads that fueled expansion, such as the Grant-Sumner debate over the proposed annexation of Santo Domingo and the Alaska Scandal; moves to becoming a world power reflected in the Spanish American war through the Open Door policy; and compare the founding of the League of Nations with the founding of the United Nations. Other content deals with Theodore Roosevelt, Taft and Latin America, Cold War diplomacy toward the USSR; the role of oil; environmental policy; the Cold War in Korea, Vietnam, and China; American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Grantee Name:Placer County Office of Education, CA
Project Name:Focus on American History: Working Collaboratively to Increase Student Achievement
Project Director:Roni Jones
Number of Teachers Served:No Information Available
Number of School Districts Served:13
Number of Students Served:63,742
Grade Levels:5, 8, and 11
Partners:California State University-Sacramento, Placer County Museums, and Sierra College
Topics:Freedom Visions; Democratic Frameworks; Americans and Their Dreams
Methods:Summer institutes, field studies, content colloquia, lesson study teams, book clubs

This project will bring selected teachers together to participate in a variety of activities centered upon three specific themes in American history. In the first year, teachers will read Eric Foner's The Story of American Freedom and examine the various ways in which freedom has been defined over the course of American history. This will equip them to help students understand, how religious freedom meant something different to John Winthrop and the New England Puritans than it did to Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers, and how the "Four Freedoms" of the New Deal generation evolved to the conservative freedom of the Reagan Revolution. The second year's theme, "Democratic Frameworks," will address the dynamic nature of democracy in America through examination of the republican frameworks of the American Revolution, the forging of the Constitution, Jacksonian democracy and its limits, the constitutional impact of the Civil War, the protracted struggle for women's rights, the role of government in American economic life, the Civil Rights movement, and ensuing issues regarding minority rights and majority rule. In the third year, "Americans and Their Dreams" will introduce specific documents and speeches considered integral in shaping America, including William Bradford's "City on a Hill," major presidential addresses, César Chávez's "Sí Se Puede," and other important works.

Grantee Name:Borrego Springs Unified School District, CA
Project Name:Frontier Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Consuela Smith
Number of Teachers Served:90
Number of School Districts Served:11
Number of Students Served:37,591
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:University of San Diego, San Diego Historical Society, American Institute of Historians and History Educators, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Civil War Society, and the American Institute for History Education
Topics:Year 1, The Empire vs. the Colonies; Year 2, The Agrarian South and Industrializing North; Year 3, Liberal Democracy vs. Totalitarianism
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, distance learning, mentoring

The Frontier Liberty Fellowship has formed a consortium of 11 school districts in five states and the Virgin Islands to increase teacher knowledge of and student achievement in American history. Many of the districts are rural and isolated-in remote Louisiana parishes, farming country in Oklahoma and Mississippi, the California Sierras, and the Texas panhandle. Teacher Fellows selected for the project will attend 11 days of intensive colloquia and summer institutes exploring history content and teaching strategies and conducting historical research for the unit lessons they must create. Fellows will study the roots of American tradition including antecedent English documents and colonial charters, the American Revolution and its leaders, the Declaration of Independence and natural law tradition, the Federalist Papers and anti-federalist thought, the Bill of Rights, and constitutional leaders. Slavery, agrarian culture, the market economy of the North, the Civil War and Reconstruction will be other topics, along with Progressivism, World Wars I and II, up to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

Last Modified: 10/23/2007