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Backyard History

Of the five school districts served by the Brown County Educational Service Center in southern Ohio, four have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for one or more years, and data from the Ohio Department of Education Report Card show that student performance in American history and other subject areas is in serious need of improvement. To bolster the knowledge and credentials of those teaching American history, Backyard History will offer a series of intensive 1-week institutes each summer and provide stipends that teachers may use to obtain graduate credits. The project also will host four 1-day seminars throughout the year at historic sites in Ohio. Each seminar will include a lecture or discussion led by a historian, analysis of primary source materials, presentations on teaching strategies, and modeling of best practices. Fifty teachers will be served by Backyard History, with 25 participating in summer institutes and 25 attending seminars each year. The program will connect local, state, and national history as it explores significant actions, events, issues, and turning points that have shaped the nation. Instructional strategies will focus on engaging lessons that develop students’ critical thinking and inquiry skills through interactions with primary documents and artifacts. Program and liaison Web sites will feature teacher-developed lesson plans, unit plans aligned to Ohio Academic Content Standards, and other resources.