Teaching American History

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Missouri 2009 Grant Abstract
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Grantee Name:Board of Education of the City of St. Louis
Project Name:Let Freedom Ring: Participating in American History through Primary Documents
Project Director:Olivia White
Funding:$1,360,570 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:120
Number of School Districts Served:1
Grade Levels:4-5
Partners:Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis Mercantile Library, University of Missouri-St. Louis, National Archives-Central Plains Region, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, St. Louis Public Library, Washington University, Williams College, St. Louis University, Holy Cross College
Topics:Freedom and the Early 19th Century American Judicial System, Freedom and the Civil War, Freedom and Literacy, Freedom and Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, and Freedom and the U.S. Constitution
Methods:Seminar series, summer institute, field experiences, lesson design and implementation

The city of St. Louis constitutes the core of a large metropolitan area, and its schools serve a high-needs population. Students in St. Louis Public Schools have scored considerably below averages on Missouri’s state achievement test, and the state has designated the district as being in need of improvement. To reform and revitalize the St. Louis Public Schools American history program at the elementary school level, Let Freedom Ring will provide two years of professional development to each fourth and fifth grade teachers in the district’s 40 elementary schools. For each teacher, the first year of involvement will include a 35-hour seminar series, a 3-day summer institute on the tools of social science inquiry, and a 3-day field experience. In their second year, teachers will receive on-site assistance and support from historians as they design and implement at least three high-quality standards-based instructional units. Four cohorts will be trained, with 30 teachers in each cohort. Teachers and, ultimately, their students, will become more knowledgeable about critical events, documents, timelines and relationships in our nation’s history and will experience history in a personal way as they interact with primary source documents. Instructional strategies will focus on inquiry methods that require hands-on examination of primary documents, critical analysis, case study, discussion and research. Let Freedom Ring will provide a model for enhancing American history programming at the elementary level, and a program implementation guide will be made available to other districts wishing to adopt or adapt the St. Louis model.

Grantee Name:Miller R-II School District
Project Name:Preserving America’s Midwestern Heritage Fellowship
Project Director:Carole Crumbliss
Funding:$1,667,312 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:40-70
Number of School Districts Served:14
Grade Levels:3-12
Partners:Missouri Southern State University, Bill of Rights Institute, Southwest Center for Educational Excellence, SuccessLink, American Institute for History Education, National Constitution Center of Philadelphia
Topics:Year 1: Native Americans and Contested Ground (pre-Columbian-1763)
Year 2: From Revolution to an Expanding Nation (1763-1848)
Year 3: Antebellum Reform, Civil War, and Reconstruction (1830-1877)
Year 4: Development of Modern America (1865-1920)
Year 5: Modern America (1914-1978)
Methods:Summer travel institutes, colloquia, seminars, Talking History Webinars,lesson development sessions, real-time lesson observations and reviews, turnkey training

Led by the Miller R-II School District, a consortium of 14 rural Missouri school districts in need of improvement will address teachers' underpreparation in history education by implementing the Preserving America's Midwestern Heritage Fellowship. The fellowship program will offer 40 to 70 teachers of history in Grades 3-12 two professional development tracks. Those who choose Track 1 will attend at least six 3-hour content seminars that include content and instructional skills training in inquiry; they may also opt to attend a 5-day summer travel institute. Those in Track 2 will attend a 2-day fall colloquium, a 2-day spring colloquium, four and a half days of research and review, and a 5-day summer travel institute. Teachers in both tracks will attend Talking History Webinars, prepare standards-based units, lessons, and/or other lesson materials, and receive classroom coaching that employs the thereNow IRIS telepresence coaching system. Five participants will become lead teachers and provide turnkey trainings for history teachers across the consortium. Each year, fellows will research and study the political, economic, legal, social and ideological contrasts found throughout American history. They will learn to use the Binary Paideia paradigm, the American Institute for History Education Signature Strategies, and the CICERO “digital toolbox” of resources to implement grade-appropriate, inquiry-based teaching in their classrooms. Fellows will create historical narratives and interactive lessons that will be shared on the fellowship Web site. In addition, they will create “traveling trunks” that will be available for check-out to teachers across the consortium.

Last Modified: 09/10/2009