Teaching American History

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Illinois 2007 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Chicago Public Schools, District #299, IL
Project Name:American History Matters Collaborative
Project Director:Jacquelin McCord
Number of Teachers Served:40
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:6,000
Grade Levels:9-12
Partners:Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Metro History Education Center, Newberry Library, and nine resource partners from history-related museums, libraries, and archives
Topics:Founding of the Nation to the Civil War; Post Civil War to World War I, World War I to the Great Depression; Cold War to Present Day
Methods:Three-day spring initiation, summer institutes, seminars, mentoring

The project will address the challenge of under-prepared teachers and low-performing students in American history through a professional development program weaving together U.S. history content, historical practice, and effective strategies for planning and delivering content. Teachers will learn how to design exciting history curricula, develop rigorous assessments, and use strategies that support student progress. Organized in four historical periods, the content covers founding documents, the making of citizenship in the new Nation, citizenship on the frontier, citizens of the Gilded Age, and the emergence of the modern Citizen, among others.

Grantee Name:Indian Prairie Community Unit School District #204
Project Name:Sharing the Past, Shaping the Future
Project Director:Donna Karen Sack
Number of Teachers Served:60
Number of School Districts Served:5
Number of Students Served:83,469
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:North Central College and the Naperville Heritage Society, Naper Settlement
Topics:Year 1, The Civil War Era; Year 2, World War I: Frontlines and the Home front; Year 3, the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Richard J. Daley
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, field study, history resource fair

Designed to promote the professional development of American history teachers in grade 5-12, the project will give priority placement to teachers of Grades 5, 8, and 10. Each year is thematically linked to the Illinois Learning Standards and Goals for History. The interwoven project components are available to all teachers of U.S. history in participating districts. The first year explores topics through the views of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Livermore; topics include transportation, westward expansion, slavery, Civil War frontlines and home fronts, Civil War Amendments, and Reconstruction. Year 2 is viewed through Jane Addams and Ida B. Wells, including content on World War I, the Great Migration, immigration, and women's suffrage. Year 3 content examines civil rights, Vietnam, environmentalism, and suburbanization.

Grantee Name:St. Clair County Educational Cooperative Board, IL
Project Name:Impact of America's Wars on Democracy, Social Reform and American Identity
Project Director:Susan Sarfaty
Number of Teachers Served:35
Number of School Districts Served:27
Number of Students Served:44,312
Grade Levels:6-12
Partners:McKendree College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Truman Presidential Libraries, the Gettysburg Foundation
Topics:The American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Indian wars, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the war on terror
Methods:Workshops, seminars, study tours, summer institutes

This project meets a need in a school district serving one of the poorest populations in the nation, East St. Louis. Only a handful of teachers in the district has a major in history, with some teachers having as few as three semester hours of American history. Through the project, the agency seeks to become a major provider of history education as well as increase the percentage of students in AP classes. Participants will explore important historical questions about America's virtues and imperfections through an examination of its wars. Teachers will study how the American Revolution, Civil War, and World War II affected social policies, and explore competing messages inherent in America's "forgotten" wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, World War I, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Content also covers the Cold War and civil rights. Finally, teachers will focus on the tensions between liberty and security represented in the war and conflicts in the Middle East and current War on Terror.

Grantee Name:Urbana School District #116, IL
Project Name:American History Teachers Collaborative
Project Director:Donald D. Owen
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:5
Number of Students Served:29,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Early American Museum, the Champaign County Historical Archives, the Macon County Historical Society and Museum, Illinois State Archives, Chicago History Museum, and National Archives and Records Administration-Great Lakes Region
Topics:Colonial conflicts with Britain; the Revolutionary War; the Constitutional Convention; Manifest Destiny; Aerican Indians; Civil rights and liberties on the frontier; Reform Movements of the 19th Century; The Gilded Age; World War I World War II, the Cold War
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, discussion groups, experiential learning trip, coaching, website, conferences

To improve teachers' content knowledge of and student achievement in American history and to disseminate best practices in teaching U.S. history, the Collaborative will annually train 60 teachers selected schools in rural areas, small towns, and cities across central Illinois. Elementary teachers will receive special support through lesson study and mentoring in order to translate abstract history themes to the youngest students. Twenty teachers per year may apply for museum fellowships supported by the grant. All teachers will receive more than 250 hours of professional development over the course of three years. In addition to cultural institution partners, the Collaborative will work with professors from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Bradley University, and the Organization of American Historians, as well as historians from the Center for Civic Education's "We the People" program.

Last Modified: 10/23/2007