Connecting to the Past
Connecting to the Past will provide services to history teachers within the Tri-County Educational Service Center area in northeastern Ohio, which includes three districts in need of improvement and four other districts with at least one school classified as being at risk. For two years, fewer than half of the districts within the multidistrict consortium have met requisite state standards in social studies. To address teachers’ needs, each year-long program of professional development will consist of five content seminars that include technology training, two historic site visits, and a 5-day residential summer institute at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Three lead teachers will mentor participants, who will have access to camcorders and software they can use to create Web pages, documentaries, or other multimedia presentations related to historical site visits. Participants will also receive a supplemental materials allowance, stipends, and support for lesson development. A new cohort of 24 teachers will join the program each year. Connecting to the Past will help teachers create learning environments in which youth can develop a perspective on the nation’s past, relate it to the present and connect it to their futures. Instructional strategies will emphasize primary sources and will include a special focus on teaching with technology to reach a new generation with stories about the past. Lasting benefits will include a program Web site and a cadre of teachers who can provide professional development and mentoring for their colleagues.