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The Meaning of Freedom: Ohio and the Nation

Teachers in Stark County schools often have limited American history knowledge—and limited resources available to improve their knowledge. Each year of The Meaning of Freedom will begin with a 1-week summer institute that includes scholar-led seminars and a 3-day visit to the National Constitution Center as well as nearby historic sites. During the school year, teachers will attend four theme-related seminars and visit two Ohio historic sites; in addition, mentor teachers will meet regularly with participants. In Year 1, intensive training will be provided to four teachers to prepare them as mentor teachers, and these teachers will support project staff to train an additional 30 teachers each remaining year of the project. The project theme looks at how the meaning of freedom—as first articulated in the founding documents of the state and nation—has been central to the struggles and achievements that have been key turning points in American history. The content outlined in the topic strands will be developed to align with state standards and to connect Ohio's people, places, documents and events to those significant to the nation's history; it will be delivered through a blend of in-person and proven online strategies. Applying a backward design process, teachers will learn to use and create inquiry-based lesson plans that integrate 21st century skills and technologies. When complete, the lessons and other project materials, such as seminar content and primary source documents, will be mounted on a Web site and made available to all teachers who want effective and engaging history resources.