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Teaching American History: Algiers Charter Schools Association Teacher Professional Development

This project will concentrate on a combination of public schools and the public charter schools that were established in the wake of two events in 2005: the Louisiana Board of Education's takeover and restructuring of New Orleans Public Schools and Hurricane Katrina. Although student achievement has approved dramatically since 2005, data still indicate high failure rates on fourth, eighth, and eleventh grade social studies tests. Each year of the project, teachers will participate in 10 colloquia that focus on the key issues, people, ideas and events in American history; a weeklong summer field-research workshop hosted by the Historic New Orleans Collection; and five staff development workshops in which scholars engage teachers on background information, current approaches and possible lessons. The project will recruit 50 new teachers each year. All 50 will participate in the colloquia and staff development workshops, while 20 will attend the summer workshop. The topics will explore the changes and continuity in American democracy, including ideas, institutions and controversies. The teachers will study the most up-to-date research, visit presidential libraries and other archives, and become familiar with American history Web sites and other technology resources. The teachers will have opportunities to study with Loyola University historians and distinguished visiting professors, receive stipends, and obtain continuing learning units. They will create traveling exhibits and History in a Box kits on various topics, featuring introductions, timelines, primary documents, teaching strategies, posters for classroom display, interactive CD-ROMs and DVDs.