Teaching American History

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Mississippi 2008 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Jackson Public School District
Project Name:Capturing America's Past by I investigating and Teaching Americans' Lives (CAPITAL)
Project Director:Cerissa Neal
Number of Teachers Served:30
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:32,000
Grade Levels:Grades 6-12
Partners:Jackson State University, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Fannie Lou Hamer Institute, Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Humanities Council, Millsaps College
Topics:Year 1: Turning Points: 1619-1763; Year 2: Turning Points: 1763-1815; Year 3: Turning Points: 1816-1913
Methods:Lectures, workshops, in-class support, and study travel

Jackson Public Schools (JPS) in Jackson, Mississippi, proposes a Teaching American History project, Capturing America's Past by Investigating and Teaching Americans' Lives (CAPITAL), to strengthen programs to teach traditional American history as a separate academic subject. CAPITAL will serve 30 teachers, all recruited from middle and high schools in need of improvement. CAPITAL activities and partnerships are designed to build local capacity. The initial needs assessment will identify the teachers who are most in need of professional development. Each activity and assessment will target the specific needs of these teachers. At the completion of the CAPITAL project, thirty master teachers will be prepared in every way to extend project activities to the rest of the American history teachers in the district. CAPITAL's overarching program goal is to raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of traditional American history. Historical topics covered will include the following: colonization, settlement, and the slave trade; the Revolutionary War, a new nation, and the War of 1812; expansion and reform, the Civil War, and reconstruction; World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II; civil rights, the feminist movement, and world conflict.

Grantee Name:Simpson County School District
Project Name:Elementary Southern Mississippi American History Teachers (eSMART)
Project Director:Diane King
Number of Teachers Served:30
Number of School Districts Served:28
Number of Students Served:97,549
Grade Levels:Grades 3-6
Partners:University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi Armed Forces Museum, The National D-Day Museum, Mississippi Department of Archives & History, Lauren Rogers Museum, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Goldring Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, Historic Natchez Foundation, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Topics:Year 1: Beginnings to 1607; Colonization, Settlement, & Communities (1607-1673); Year 2: The Revolution & the New Nation (1763-1815); Year 3: Expansion & Reform (1801-1861); [5] Civil War & Reconstruction (1850-1877)
Methods:Summer academies, book study circles, kickoff events

Simpson County School District and 27 other districts near the Gulf Coast in partnership with the Southern Regional Educational Service Agency comprise the South Central Mississippi Consortium for Educational Excellence and Development (SCMCEED). The consortium includes 13 schools "in Need of Improvement." Twenty-five of the 28 districts serve at least one school that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2006-2007. Districts that are members of SCMCEED face unique challenges when it comes to teacher professional development. They serve a very rural, very poor area of the country still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. No one district is large enough to mount a major professional development effort focused on American history, and the sheer size of the consortium makes a traditional partnership effort unworkable. The proposed project will overcome these challenges. A single cohort of 30 SCMCEED elementary teachers will participate in all eSMART activities (the treatment group). A second cohort of 15-20 teachers will participated in no project activities (the comparison group). The main three of objectives of the eSMART Project is to raise student achievement as measured by an assessment comprised of items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) online question bank, increase teachers' knowledge of American history as measured by an assessment of content knowledge made up of nationally validated test items, and increase teachers' use of the history teaching "best practices" as measured by peer-rating, portfolio assessments, and observations. Course content will include the following: Beginnings to 1607; colonization, settlement, and communities (1607-1673); the Revolution & the new nation (1763-1815); expansion and reform (1801-1861); the Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877); the development of modern America (1865 to 1920); modern America & the World Wars (1914-1945); and contemporary America (1945-present).

Last Modified: 08/14/2008