A Story to Tell: Teaching America's Past for America's Future
The districts participating in this grant are located in east-central South Carolina. All five districts are in restructuring, with many schools that have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for five years. Also, 34 to 73 percent of the district’s students scored below basic on the state social studies test in 2007. To help history teachers gain content knowledge, A Story to Tell: Teaching America's Past for America's Future (Story) will offer online graduate-level courses on a traditional semester schedule and through intensive study in 2-week summer institutes. Participants will conduct online discussions about teaching history, attend mini-institutes on examining student work and assessment and, in Year 3, mentor nonparticipating teachers. One cohort of 50 teachers drawn from all school levels will complete the 5-year program. Each year half will take the online course and the other half will participate in the intensive summer institute. Story aims to develop teacher-historians through increasing participants' knowledge of significant events, principles, historical thinking, and special topics, and by encouraging the practices of collaboration, curriculum design, and reflection. The graduate-level courses will focus on the eras and topics of American history outlined in National Assessment of Educational Progress and the state's social studies curriculum framework. Other activities will focus on curriculum and instruction designed to build literacy skills and to engage both teachers and students in American history content. The project will result in a collection of teacher-created, technology-driven instructional units to be shared locally and nationally through the Story Web site, which will also offer teaching resources and links to a variety of primary documents.