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Teaching American History: Tennessee's First Frontier

Teaching American History: Tennessee's First Frontiers being implemented by a consortium of school districts (Carter, Hawkins, Sullivan, and Washington Counties and Elizabethton City Schools) in northeastern Tennessee. It targets low-performing middle and high schools and those with high numbers of students performing below the proficient level on Tennessee achievement tests for American history. Professional development activities will include (1) intensive individual recruitment, counseling, and mentoring by a coach, who will assist teachers in developing their own professional development plans; (2) two 2-day in-service mini-institutes per year, emphasizing history content; (3) eight 2- to 3-hour after-school pedagogy workshops each year; and (4) a 3-day summer public history field experience and three 1-day Saturday sessions that relate local historic sites to major themes in U.S. history. Teachers' professional development plans may include activities such as book studies, development of curriculum and/or document-based assessments, examination of student work, and use of data to inform instruction. The project will serve at least 15 eighth grade and 15 high school teachers per year, and a total of 57 teachers will each participate for at least 90 hours over the life of the grant. Traditional American history content will be viewed through the prism of the changing definition of liberty and freedom. Teachers will be trained to make individual and collective struggles for freedom "come alive" by analyzing primary source documents, placing them in a historical context, and integrating technologies into their teaching practice. A program Web site will feature standards-based materials developed by participating teachers and by local historians and graduate students.

 
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