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Fundamentals of American History

The eight charter schools participating in this grant are in the Bronx, New York. Nearly 100 percent of their students are ethnic minorities, and program activities will reflect a multicultural perspective. Each year, the professional development program will include eight 3-hour sessions during the school year, 6 hours of classroom modeling, four 5-hour summer sessions, and a variety of Web-based activities. Because elementary and middle school teachers are least likely to have formal history preparation, they will be the target audience for grant activities. Each year a new group of teachers will enter the project. Beginning in Year 2, 10 teachers from the previous year will stay on for two additional years and some of these will evolve into trainers. The underlying theme of collaboration and learning community is designed to build a network that the participating schools can use to sustain the project's impact. Fundamentals of American History will focus on early American history (1600s-1860s) to meet needs identified by teachers. Content spiraling will ensure that vital subject areas are revisited each year as new teachers enter the program. Instructional strategies will include building history skill sets, reviewing student work and conducting ongoing assessment, using peer support and self-reflection (both face-to-face and online), conducting historical research, and employing multimedia and Web-based activities. The project will produce a cadre of well-prepared history teachers who can support their colleagues and strengthen American history teaching and learning.