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Fort Wayne Freedom Studies

Fort Wayne Community Schools—Indiana's second largest district—serves more than 31,000 students in high-need, low-performing, mostly urban schools; in 2008-2009, 45 of the 49 schools failed to achieved adequate yearly progress, and all 49 are listed in improvement status. Each year, an average of 35 teachers will attend two 3-day workshops taught by a team of academic/pedagogy specialists and museum educators from the Smithsonian Institution; a credit-bearing, weeklong summer institute taught by professors from interdisciplinary American history programs at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; and local field study excursions to historic sites, such as General Anthony Wayne's Old Fort, that exemplify national content themes and that ground broad concepts in local resources. Teachers from each participating school will attend peer-education Freedom Forums every two months to engage in content/pedagogy discourse and share best practices. The themes will emphasize individual freedom and civil liberties as the foundations on which American democracy, government and culture have been built. The principal strategy is that in-depth content knowledge will help the project teachers nurture respectful, tolerant and informed young citizens, who will become the future leaders of our nation. The project will produce a Web portal for archiving project resources and primary source materials.