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Knott County History Project

This eastern Kentucky district has no history teachers with an undergraduate major or graduate degree in history. On the 2008-09 state social studies test, 55 percent of elementary students scored proficient or above, while only 45 percent of middle school and 30 percent of high school students reached that level. Four full-day content seminars, a full-day research workshop, a regional field study and a week-long summer institute will give teachers opportunities to interact with university history scholars, curators and archivists from local and regional historic sites and museums, and with one another to build a learning community. Each year, a new cohort of 15 elementary, middle and high school teachers will prepare to extend the training to their nonparticipating colleagues. Teachers will learn to use local and regional resources to help students connect with traditional American history. The program will combine field studies and relevant presentations from history scholars with classroom-based primary source activities from expert partners. During seminars, teachers will work in small groups as an archivist leads an inquiry-based analysis of primary sources; a historian-led lecture/discussion will examine and compare the assigned reading to the documents. After lead teachers facilitate grade-based sessions on best practices for teaching the content, the whole group will discuss vertical articulation of the content and skills. The summer institute will be a graduate-level seminar with assigned readings and projects. Project results will be disseminated by (1) creating a professional development curriculum that can be used after the grant ends, (2) posting materials on the project Web site and (3) presenting at professional conferences.