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Freedom and Rights

Freedom and Rights will serve a mainly rural area of western New York, targeting schools where as many as 58 percent of middle school students and 32 percent of high school students fall short of social studies standards. Many teachers need to expand their American history knowledge and build instructional skills. Annual activities will include two 3-day seminars that focus on key individuals; two 3-day colloquia that focus on social, economic, and political events/movements; and one 5-day summer institute that expands on previous studies and focuses on the rights and struggles of minority groups. Project leaders will recruit teachers from schools with the greatest needs and admit other teachers as space permits. All school levels will work together to reduce historical isolation. Participants will be encouraged, but not required, to attend as many events as possible; continuing education credits will be available to teachers who complete a certain number of hours and activities. As its name suggests, this project's theme expands on the founding principle of liberty and justice for all. It will engage teachers in the investigation of individual liberty and the protection of freedom throughout American history to help students understand current events and the country's historical development. Academic historians, museum specialists, and education experts will lead experiences that deliver content knowledge and research-based teaching strategies, exercises and lesson plans that integrate advanced knowledge. In addition, teachers will also learn about integrating technology into teaching and learning. Project leaders intend to make information about the project available to others who might wish to replicate the project.